This sweet love song is inextricably tied to Fireball Jungle, a bottom-of-the-bill ozoner about gangsters and stock-car racers that had a role in it for a rock and roll band, which was billed as "The Mercy Group." Said group was headed by Jack Sigler, Jr., and they cut this track, written by Sigler, for producer Gil Cabot's Sundi label. Jamie/Guyden picked up the single for national distribution, though they did not assign it to one of their own labels. (The B-side was an instrumental called "Fire Ball," written by lead guitarist Ronnie Caudill.) Great weirdness took place as "Love" went up the charts: Sigler was facing the possibility of being drafted, and he and Cabot apparently discussed the possibility of having a touring version of the group supporting the song, just in case. Sundi issued an LP called "The Mercy & Love (Can Make You Happy)," which included the hit plus various bits of studio detritus, at about the same time Sigler, undrafted, and Mercy were signing to Warner Bros., where the first order of business was to cut a soundalike version (issued on Warner Bros. 7291) and a full-fledged album (Warner Bros. WS 1799), inevitably titled Love Can Make You Happy, with no parentheses. The album yielded up one more chart item, a remake of "Forever," the Buddy Killen tune previously covered by the Little Dippers and by Pete Drake's talking steel guitar; as Warner Bros. 7297, it limped to #79 in Billboard, and that was the end of that except for some litigation between Jamie/Guyden and Cabot, eventually resolved in Cabot's favor.
Where can I get this on CD?
The trick here is distinguishing between the original Sundi track and the Warner Bros. remake; only the latter shows up at iTunes. (While it lasts, this YouTube-d version will help: it's the Sundi version.) A Dick Bartley compilation for Rhino in the early 1990s One-Hit Wonders of the '60s, Vol. 2, RS 70996 has the genuine article.
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Copyright © 2009 by Charles G. Hill
Chart information from Billboard is copyrighted by Billboard Publications, Inc.