Cool Jerk” is a song written by Donald Storball and originally performed by The Capitols. Released in 1966, it reached No. 2 on the American Rhythm & Blues Singles chart, No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 9 on the Canadian Singles Chart. The backing track for this song was actually recorded (secretly) by the Motown house band The Funk Brothers.
Per one of the Funk Brothers, the song was originally to be called “Pimp Jerk.” This was taken from watching neighborhood pimps, who would dance in the clubs, but were too “cool” to do the jerk like regular folks. The producer was afraid that a song with the word pimp in the title would be banned or not receive much positive attention, and had the title changed to its current form.
The Go-Go’s, The Outsiders, Todd Rundgren, Big Trouble, Human Sexual Response, The La De Das, The Creation, The Tremeloes, and The Coasters have covered the song. Todd Rundgren did his version in an odd time signature (7/4), giving an obviously jerky feel to the song. The Go-Go’s covered the song for their 1982 album Vacation and later re-recorded it for their 1990 album Greatest. A demo that pre-dates their Vacation recording was released on their 1994 compilation Return to the Valley of The Go-Go’s.
In the feature film Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Frank McCallister (Gerry Bamman) sings “Cool Jerk” in the shower. A version of the song with different lyrics (“Do the Cool Whip”) is used in Cool Whip commercials. A recording of “Cool Jerk” by Ricardo Ray is featured in the feature film Donnie Brasco (1997). The song features in the film Standing in the Shadows of Motown, performed by the Funk Brothers with lead vocals by Bootsy Collins. The song is heard briefly in the animated feature, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Despite this reason, it is listed in some variations of the film’s soundtrack.
One thought on “Cool Jerk – The Capitols”
Love this song! Thanks for bringing it to mind. Cheers
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