One of the most confusing song titles of all time…or an early sighting of some positive-thinking psychology in the pop charts? Who knows…
I’ve never understood how you can simultaneously be having both a good time and a bad time.
It’s somehow even more confusing when you listen to the song. “Even The Bad Times Are Good” starts off sounding like The Tremeloes are at some raucous, drunken party having the time of their lives. That seems like an odd place to be telling the world that you’re having a bad time.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to plenty of raucous parties where I didn’t enjoy myself in the slightest. But I’ve never led the community singing on those occasions…if that’s what you’re up to, I think it’s probably unlikely that you’re having as bad a time as you’re claiming.
So, “Even The Bad Times Are Good” has always confused me, both as a concept and as a performance…
We’ll get to the song itself in a moment, but it’s worth a quick diversion into the surprisingly pivotal role The Tremeloes played in pop music history.
Back in the early 1960s the band, then called “Brian Poole and the Tremeloes” (Brian Poole left the band a couple of years later and they renamed themselves just “The Tremeloes”) went for an audition at Decca Records, one of the UK’s biggest record labels at the time.
The group they were up against was the Beatles and Decca decided to sign Brian Poole and the Tremeloes and pass on the Beatles.
The Beatles did OK for themselves in the end…and without being turned down by Decca, they might never have gone to EMI where they were paired with EMI staff producer, George Martin, who would go on to shape and mould the sound that made the Beatles the biggest group in the world to this day. (George Martin’s influence on the band was so great that he was later dubbed “the fifth beatle”.)
Maybe, for the Beatles, the day they were turned down by Decca felt like a bad day at the time, but it became a good day in the end because they were picked up by EMI instead and went on to conquer the world.
Whilst The Tremeloes, both with and without Brian Poole, went on to enjoy a perfectly respectable pop career, creating major hits like “Twist And Shout”, “Do You Love Me”, “Here Comes My Baby” and “Silence Is Golden”, I think we can all agree that in the end the Beatles got the best out of Decca Records’ decision in the end.
Which in a funny sort of way demonstrates the point “Even The Bad Times Are Good” was trying to make. Stuff happens in your live — some of it unpleasant. But those times pass. Good things happen too…and in the end, if you live a good life, the good times will outweigh the bad ones.
In fairness to The Tremeloes, they make another important point too. You see, they aren’t suggesting that bad times in themselves are good. What they’re saying is that even when things are bad, if you’ve got someone special in your life, sometimes just a hug from them helps you see the world in a more positive light.
“Even The Bad Times Are Good” was written by Peter Callander and Mitch Murray. Here’s how they put it…
Even the bad times are good
Soon as I get to you baby
You just gotta hold me
And even the bad times are good
Ah…now I get it. It’s not that the bad times are in themselves good. It’s that a hug or a kiss from someone who cares about you can make all the difference…and even then bad times come along, your troubles melt away when you hold this special person close.
That’s a sentiment I can definitely get behind…yes, I know I’m an old romantic at heart, but it’s true. Having someone you care about, and who cares about you, can cure any ill, lift any mood and eliminate any distress in your life.
As The Tremeloes put it…
When the day seems to drag along
And all that I do is working out wrong
Still I find that I never cry
As long as I know that you’re standing by
Then all I’ve gotta do
Is run to you
I hope you’ve got someone in your life that makes you feel like that. Not everybody does, but if you do it makes all the difference.
And if you don’t, you can always listen to The Tremeloes and imagine what it must feel like instead. Sometimes that’s nearly as good as having that person next to you.
With apologies for the bizarre intro that sounds like it was recorded at a lively after-hours party in a backstreet pub somewhere, here’s The Tremeloes with the full story from their 1967 UK Top Five, and US Top 40, hit…”Even The Bad Times Are Good”…
PS — just before we get to the video, if you enjoyed this article, please give it a “clap”…or even more than one if you’re feeling kind. You can also follow me on Medium (here) or Twitter (here) to get new articles as soon as they’re published. And why not check out my book “No Words, No Song”, where I write about more great songs like this one, available in the Kindle Bookstore (here).