Wherein I provide a tune and a couple of alternatives to show how other artists approach it.
“I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself” was written in 1961 or ’62 by the towering team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. It was originally recorded by a “lost-to-musical-history” guy named Tommy Hunt. But the first hit version of this song was recorded by big-haired Brit songmeister, Dusty Springfield. (More a hit in the UK than in the States I think though we otherwise loved Dusty.)
Bacharach and David initially gained fame and success by writing songs for Dionne Warwick in this time period. And in fact, Warwick did a version of this song a few years later which is terrific. But in these posts, I typically like to use either the original or the first big hit version (assuming there was one.) Released in 1964, this was Dusty’s third UK hit:
In 2003, the White Stripes released their acclaimed album Elephant which included their even more desperate-sounding slash-and-burn version of the tune. Apparently, it was Meg’s idea to record it and Jack took it and ran to the dark end of the street with it. I guarantee you the great majority of people think Jack wrote this:
Ok, so now how about a powerhouse chugging version of this tune from Cissy Houston that brings it all together? Wikipedia: After a successful career singing backup (with Sweet Inspirations) for such artists as Dionne Warwick, Elvis Presley, and Aretha Franklin, Houston embarked on a solo career, winning two Grammy Awards for her work. Houston is the mother of singer Whitney Houston, aunt of singers Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, and a cousin of opera singer Leontyne Price.
I should also note that the Sweet Inspirations sang back-up on Dusty Springfield’s classic Dusty in Memphis album (including “Son of a Preacher Man”) and Jimi Hendrix’ (!) “Burning of the Midnight Lamp” from Electric Ladyland. Oh, and Van Morrison’s “Brown-Eyed Girl.”
Here’s Cissy. Now we know where Whitney got her pipes: