Saturday Night Classics: “How Can I Be Sure?”

 

This song by the Young Rascals got to number 4 on the charts in August 1967. It was written by Felix Cavaliere and Eddie Brigati, and sung by Brigati, based on a girl Cavaliere dated and had been engaged to marry (more after the link).

The song is also one of the few (only?) songs in the rock era written as a waltz.  Until I read some background on it, I always thought they used an accordion, but apparently the cabaret-sounding instrument is a concertina. Cavaliere once said the Rascals were only brave enough to do the song because the Beatles had recently done “Michelle” and “Yesterday.”

He was quite familiar with the Beatles, having toured Europe with them in 1963 as a member of Joey Dee and the Starliters. Cavaliere also wrote “Groovin'” and “A Girl Like You” with his girlfriend in mind. They eventually ended the relationship because she was still in high school, and he was 24. (“What the hell am I doing? I’m going out with a kid.”)

The last time I saw Cavaliere he was doing TV infomercials for Time/Life “Music of the ’60s” or something similar.

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There are 11 comments.

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  1. EDISONPARKS Member
    EDISONPARKS
    @user_54742

    The Young Rascals  “Groovin”  and “Beautiful Morning” are simply two great timeless songs.   I occasionally hear “Groovin” on the R&B Stations like Sirius Soul Town … they’re calling it blue-eyed soul these days.

    The Young Rascals were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall in 1997.

     

    • #1
  2. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    The pride of Garfield NJ

    • #2
  3. Michael S. Malone Contributor
    Michael S. Malone
    @MichaelSMalone

    For this old rock critic, this is one of my favorite songs ever.  When we think of the Rascals’ music, it’s with Felix Cavaliere’s voice, but Eddie Brigati kills this one . . . and in waltz time to boot.

    Add:  Smokey Robinson should have done a cover.  He’s got the voice and the cry/alibi couplet is so him.

    • #3
  4. I. M. Fine Coolidge
    I. M. Fine
    @IMFine

    Michael S. Malone (View Comment):

    For this old rock critic, this is one of my favorite songs ever. When we think of the Rascals’ music, it’s with Felix Cavaliere’s voice, but Eddie Brigati kills this one . . . and in waltz time to boot.

    Add: Smokey Robinson should have done a cover. He’s got the voice and the cry/alibi couplet is so him.

    I agree completely. Eddie Brigati is the one who stole my teenage heart. I used to play “I Believe” over and over again. I also fondly remember “Baby Let’s Wait” and “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Our My Heart Anymore” from the same album. The Rascals defined a certain chapter in my distant adolescence. 

    • #4
  5. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I had forgotten how much I liked these guys. Thanks for the memories.

    • #5
  6. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Good one!

    Love these guys.

    This was the highest charting tune by them sung by Eddie Brigati.    Brigati, Felix Caviliere, and Gene Cornish got.early paydays as the Starlighters backing Joey Dee ( but after Dee’s Peppermint Twist hit).

    • #6
  7. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Well, I guess since he finally recognized that dating a 16 year old is wrong that he has some redeemable qualities.  But he’s a perv by modern standards and he doesn’t get a pass.

    • #7
  8. Franz Drumlin Member
    Franz Drumlin
    @FranzDrumlin

    I’ve always thought of this song as a great Broadway melody not featured in an actual musical. It’s almost catchy enough to build an entire show around.

    • #8
  9. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Well, I guess since he finally recognized that dating a 16 year old is wrong that he has some redeemable qualities. But he’s a perv by modern standards and he doesn’t get a pass.

    ????

    • #9
  10. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    And you can actually understand the lyrics when they sing them! 

    • #10
  11. OldPhil Coolidge
    OldPhil
    @OldPhil

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Well, I guess since he finally recognized that dating a 16 year old is wrong that he has some redeemable qualities. But he’s a perv by modern standards and he doesn’t get a pass.

    ????

    LOL

    • #11
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