Published on June 27, 2016
“Love Potion No. 9” is a song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was originally performed by The Clovers, who took it to #23 on the US charts that year. On the R&B chart, The Clovers version also peaked at #23.
The song describes a man seeking help to find love, so he talks to a Gypsy who determines, by means of palmistry, that he needs “love potion number 9”. The potion, an aphrodisiac, causes him to fall in love with everything he sees, kissing whatever is in front of him, eventually kissing a policeman on the street-corner, who breaks his bottle of love potion.
In one recorded version of the ending of the song, The Clovers used the alternative lyrics:
“I had so much fun that I’m going back again,
I wonder what’ll happen with Love Potion Number Ten?”
That version was used for the sound track to the film “American Graffitti” (1973)
The “kissing a cop” lyric led to the song being banned by some radio stations. The lyrics also have the narrator describe himself as being “a flop with chicks since 1956”; later recordings of the song have often changed the year to suit the year of recording or the age of the performer. A notable exception is the Australian alternative rock band Tlot Tlot’s recording, which leaves the year in the song as 1956. It also uses the alternative Love Potion No. 10 lyrics.