First recorded by The Sensational Epics (1968).
Hit versions by The Tams (US #61/R&B #26 1968 |UK #32 1970), Sonia (UK #22 1991 |MOR #13 1992).
Also recorded by Booker T. & the MGs (1968), The Gentle Touch (1968).
From the wiki: “‘Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy’, co-written by Ray Robert Whitley and J.R. Cobb (‘Spooky‘, ‘Do It or Die’), was first recorded by The Sensational Epics in 1968.
“The Sensational Epics were formed in 1963 as a five-piece group based in Columbia, South Carolina, at first playing primarily for high school and college fraternity & sorority functions, performing what became now known as Carolina ‘Beach Music’. The group’s first national release on Cameo was ‘I’ve Been Hurt’. In 1968, the group recorded “Be Young …”, produced by co-writer Whitley for Warner Bros. Records, with no apparent chart success.
“The Tams formed in 1960, in Atlanta, Georgia, and took their name from the Tam o’shanter hats they wore on stage. The group first reached the Billboard Top-40 in 1962 with the Joe South-composed ‘Untie Me’, and hit the Top-10 in 1964 with ‘What Kind of Fool (Do You Think I Am)’. ‘Be Young …’, released in 1968 and produced by Joe South (‘Games People Play’, ‘Rose Garden‘, ‘Hush‘), was their only other charted hit, modestly peaking at #61 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #26 on the R&B chart.
“The Tams scored their only UK hit with ‘Be Young …’ when released there in 1970 and where it still enjoys popularity among fans of Northern Soul. (Noddy Holder, lead singer with 70s British Glam rock band Slade, claimed in a newspaper interview that his band was playing the song live long before its Northern Soul success.)
“Sonia’s 1991 cover version was produced by Nigel Wright for her second studio album, Sonia. Released as the album’s second single, it peaked at #22 on the UK Singles chart. In 1992, the track was released as the lead single off the album when released in the USA, with a different single mix than in the UK. It peaked at #13 on the adult contemporary (MOR) chart.”
Booker T. & The MGs, “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” (1968):
The Gentle Touch, “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” (1968):
The Tams, “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” (1968):
Sonia, “Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy” (1992):