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"Poor Side of Town"
Single by Johnny Rivers
from the album Changes
B-side"A Man Can Cry" (non-LP track)
ReleasedAugust 1966 [1]
Genre Baroque pop, orchestral pop
Length3:48 (album)
3:03 (single)
Label Imperial 66205
Producer(s)Lou Adler
Johnny Rivers singles chronology
" (I Washed My Hands in) Muddy Water"
"Poor Side of Town"
" Baby I Need Your Loving"

"Poor Side of Town" is a song by Johnny Rivers that reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and the RPM Canadian Chart in November 1966. [2] The song marked a turning point in Rivers' career that saw him move away from his earlier rock and roll style toward pop ballads.


Johnny Rivers would recall of "Poor Side of Town": "I don’t know what inspired it…It was not from any personal experience, because I was living in Beverly Hills." Although he'd describe it as "an easy song to write", [3] Rivers would say the song: "took…about five months to write…I kept writing little bits and pieces of it." [4] With the parent album of "Poor Side of Town": Changes, Rivers shifted from southern rock to an orchestral pop sound with a string-&-brass arrangement by Marty Paich who had orchestrated the recent Top 5 hits by the Mamas & the Papas, the LA Phil musicians who had played on the Mamas & Papas tracks also playing on Changes. [4]

The single edit of "Poor Side of Town" reduces the coda of the album track, which following the repeated lyric line: "Oh with you by my side" continues, finishing up the verse, and following the repeated guitar riff, repeats the sung introduction of the scatting, before the song fades out.

Cover versions



  1. ^ Rivers, Johnny. "Poor Side Of Town". Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  2. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - November 21, 1966" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Rocker Johnny Rivers on His Hits, 'Secret' Appearance on Letterman". Forbes.
  4. ^ a b Morning Call 13 November 2015 "Johnny Rivers Music Has Taken Him Slow Dancin' Through the Decades" by John Moser pp. Go1, Go2
  5. ^ Beverly Bremers, I'll Make You Music Retrieved August 13, 2016.

External links