Mandala first came out with it, at least in terms of the first time I heard it:
Their version completely tears apart the place. Domenic Troiano chunk guitar, with horns following suit.
The J. Geils Band further popularized the song:
Perfect funk song. Never fades.
So timeless that a fairly obscure band, The Road, can end up with a half-decent version:
The Road ending up inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame, in 1997.
And then Roy Kenner and the late Domenic Troiano come back for another version of the song in 1996 (with background vocals by George Olliver, the original Mandala singer, whom Kenner replaced, in time for “Love-Itis”). The occasion was the induction of Domenic Troiano into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame:
All I know is that when Margo Davidson was living with me, I suggested that the Wells-Davidson Band do a version of “Love-Itis”, to which they readily agreed. Keep hoping for a blended version, adopting the arrangements of Mandala and J. Geils Band, incorporating the Magic Dick harp break.
Postscript, November 21, 2011: I recall reading an interview with Peter Wolf, where he mentioned that he was dyslexic. Regrettably, this challenge was undiagnosed during the course of his primary and secondary school education; he dropped out of high school. The quote that I remember from the interview was “I couldn’t read, but I sure could dance.” In the 1980 clip, in particular, it shows.
Postscript, November 28, 2011: Discovered that The Sonics do a nice version of “Love-Itis”, Mandala-style:
Postscript, December 3, 2011: Found a clip of Harvey Scales doing a nice live version of his own song. Still has it, as of 2009, close to fifty years after he started singing professionally. The guitarist who is seated is, I believe, Rudy Jacobs, who was initially credited as the co-writer of the song. Later pressings give the co-writing credit to Albert Vance.
Postscript, December 3, 2011: I’m beginning to wonder about the origins of the Mandala arrangement of the song. Their version came out in 1968. It sounds a lot like the version by the Sonics, which was recorded in 1967 but, according to some sources, not released at that time. So instead of the Sonics doing a Mandala version of the song, it is the reverse?
Postscript, December 10, 2011: I wrote to the contact e-mail at Peter Wolf’s website. Here is the exchange (response reproduced with permission):
Date: 2011-11-28 1:38:00
Bruce La Rochelle at sent the following message:
I suggest that you consider reworking “Love-Itis”, starting with the J. Geils guitar and cowbell intro, then breaking into the Mandala version, and then coming back to the Magic Dick harp break. The timeless nature of the song is evidenced by a version by The Sonics. I wrote a bit about it here:
On another note, I hope that you are still doing some of the material from Up To No Good in concert. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to get up to Canada that much, it seems–I’m writing to you from Ottawa, Canada.
All best wishes.
Subject: Re: MSG FROM PETERWOLF.COM
Date: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 12:49 AM
Bruce, Pete appreciates your post, and he saw Mandala play in the late sixties, with The Rascals, The Who, Cream and Mitch Ryder all on the same bill. He used to see Harvey Scales when he played in Boston’s Combat Zone. Thanks again!
Postscript, August 1, 2014:
Found a fairly good cover by The Mumblers, indicated to be from around 2007, with superb harp:
Also found that The Sonics’ version of Love-Itis seems to have disappeared from YouTube. Still accessible here.