Writers: Berry Gordy Jr., Brenda Holloway, Patrice Holloway, and Frank Wilson
Producer: James William Guercio
Recorded: October 1968 at Columbia Studios, New York City
Released: February 1969
Dick Halligan–keyboards, flute
|Album:||Blood, Sweat & Tears (Columbia, 1968)|
Originally composed by Motown founder Berry Gordy, Jr., singer Brenda Holloway, and others, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” was a hit for Holloway, reaching Number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1967.
As the first single from Blood, Sweat & Tears‘s second album, it reached Number Two on the same chart and earned a gold record.
The song’s commercial success was a relief for the band, which had suffered an acrimonious schism during the summer of 1968 that led to the departure of frontman Al Kooper and two other founding members.
Drummer Bobby Colomby remembered that the one-two punch of “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and its successor, “Spinning Wheel,” meant that “all of a sudden we were the band du jour, as big as any band could be.”
BS&T’s first choice to replace Kooper was singer-songwriter Laura Nyro, girlfriend of bassist Jim Fielder. She auditioned with the group but opted against joining at the advice of her manager, David Geffen. The band also reached out to Stevie Wonder and Stephen Stills before hiring David Clayton-Thomas, a Canadian singer and songwriter who guitarist Steve Katz had met at Steve Paul’s Scene in New York City.
Of Clayton-Thomas, Colomby remembers, “Steve and I were at this club. We weren’t paying attention to the stage, but we were sitting right under this large speaker. We heard this unbelievable voice coming out of it, like Ray Charles or Bobby “Blue” Bland. When I looked at the stage, it seemed as if the singer was lip-synching, because he did not look like what I was hearing.”
BS&T started making its second album with producer James William Guercio, but while those sessions yielded “Spinning Wheel” and “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” Guercio wasn’t around when the album wrapped. “He left before the thing was really done,” says Colomby. “He lost interest. He hated David. He hated Steve. It was like, ‘These guys are prima donnas. I can’t stand it. I gotta get outta here.” The group finished the album on its own.
Buoyed by its hit singles, Blood, Sweat & Tears spent seven weeks at Number One on the Billboard 200 and was certified triple platinum.
Blood, Sweat & Tears was also the first album ever to house three gold singles–“Spinning Wheel,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy,” and Billie Holiday‘s “And When I Die.”
BS&T celebrated the album’s success by appearing at the first Woodstock festival in 1969.