Top 10 Songs By The Main Ingredient

The Main Ingredient Songs

Our top 10 songs from the Main Ingredient list presents the music of an American group renowned for its influence and success in the soul, funk, and R&B music scene. The Main Ingredient was incepted in 1964, starting out as the Poets. Before settling for the moniker The Main Ingredient, the group also used the name the Insiders. The Main Ingredient had their shot of glory in the ‘70s after releasing multiple hit songs, some of which made it to the Billboard Hot 100.

“Everybody Plays the Fool” was the group’s signature song from the group’s 1972 fourth LP, Bitter Sweet. The Main Ingredient battled for stardom in the R&B scene against other reputable artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, The Temptations, Bob Montgomery, Betty Wright, and Donna Summer. With more than ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100, The Main Ingredient proves to have been quite a significant act back in the ‘70s.

The Main Ingredient’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough

While the group was incepted in 1964, its first notable single release was the 1965 hit “I’m Stuck on You.” Other songs that followed include the 1966 hit “Chapel Bells Are Calling” and the 1967 singles “I’m Better Off Without You” and “If You Had a Heart.” The Main Ingredient started making major steps in the music scene in 1968, starting with the change of its moniker from the Insiders to The Main Ingredient.

In 1969, the group released two notable singles, “Brotherly Love” and “I Was Born to Lose You.” Eventually, The Main Ingredient broke into popularity after several of its songs started charting high on the Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart (now Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs). “You’ve Been My Inspiration” marked the group’s first song to rise to the top thirty on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart (now Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs).

The song would later rise to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number sixty-four. Other songs that helped elevate The Main Ingredient’s status on the music scene include “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love),” “I’m So Proud,” and “Black Seeds Keep on Growing.” Unfortunately, the group lost its lead singer Don McPherson in 1971.

Don McPherson would later be replaced by the singer Cuba Gooding Sr. Cuba perfectly suited the group’s lead vocalist role, helping the group progress to the next stage of its musical pursuits. Within a year of joining The Main Ingredient, Cuba led the group in releasing its signature song, “Everybody Plays the Fool.”

“Everybody Plays the Fool” saw The Main Ingredient nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best R&B Song category in 1973. However, the song lost to “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone,” a cover hit by The Temptations. “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” was initially released by The Undisputed Truth but became a reputable number-one track on the Billboard Hot 100 after a rendition by The Temptations. “Everybody Plays the Fool” catapulted The Main Ingredient to stardom, rising to the third spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Main Ingredient’s Album Releases over the Years

The Main Ingredient released its debut album L.T.D. in 1970. L.T.D. might not have been a commercially successful and popular LP, but it still made it to the Billboard 200. The album peaked at the final spot on the chart. “You’ve Been My Inspiration” and “Magic Shoes” are some of the best The Main Ingredient songs from the LP.

The Main Ingredient released yet another album, Tasteful Soul, in 1970. Tasteful Soul performed even better than L.T.D. peaking at number one hundred and forty-six. The album also managed to rise to the twenty-sixth spot on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. Tasteful Soul is home to some of the best The Main Ingredient songs, including “I’m So Proud,” “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love),” and a re-recorded version of “I’m Better Off Without You.”

In 1971, The Main Ingredient released its third LP, Black SeedsBlack Seeds marked Don McPherson’s final LP before his death. The album rose to number thirty-five on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. Black Seeds also peaked at number one hundred and seventy-six on the Billboard 200. This was thirty positions lower than Tasteful Soul’s performance on the same chart. “Black Seeds Keep on Growing” is one of the best The Main Ingredient songs from the 1971 LP.

The Main Ingredient welcomed singer Cuba Gooding Sr. to take up the lead vocals role. Cuba was featured for the first time in the group’s fourth LP, Bitter SweetBitter Sweet outperformed all LPs that came before it, managing the top 10 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. On the Billboard 200, Bitter Sweet rose to number seventy-nine. The album featured The Main Ingredient’s signature song “Everybody Plays the Fool” and the Billboard Hot 100 charting single “You’ve Got to Take It (If You Want It).

In 1973, The Main Ingredient hit the studio to release its fifth LP, AfrodisiacAfrodisiac is a ten-track LP featuring songs penned (or co-penned) by the legendary R&B and soul star Stevie Wonder. Some of the top cover hits featured on the LP include “You Can Call Me Rover,” “Girl Blue,” “Superwoman,” and “Work to Do.” Afrodisiac managed the sixteenth spot on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. The LP also peaked at number one hundred and thirty-two on the Billboard 200.

The Main Ingredient released its sixth LP, Euphrates River, in 1974. Euphrates River is, to date, The Main Ingredient’s highest-charting LP on the Billboard 200, peaking at position fifty-two. The album also managed to rise to the eighth spot on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely,” “Happiness if Just Around the Bend,” and “California My Way” are some of the best The Main Ingredient songs from the LP.

In 1975, The Main Ingredient released its seventh LP, Rolling Down a Mountainside. The album is the group’s most successful release on the Billboard R&B Albums chart, peaking at the third spot. On the Billboard 200, Rolling Down a Mountainside peaked at number ninety. “Rolling Down a Mountainside” is one of the musical gems from the LP, peaking at number ninety-two on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Main Ingredient returned with its eighth LP, Shame on the World still, in 1975. Shame on the World also made it to the Billboard R&B Albums chart, peaking at number twenty-seven. On the Billboard 200, Shame on the World managed to rise to position one hundred and fifty-eight. The album title track to the LP is the most popular hit from the LP. “Shame on the World” peaked at the twentieth spot on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.

In 1977, The Main Ingredient issued its ninth studio album, Music Maximus. The album failed to make it to the Billboard R&B Albums chart. However, it rose to a peak position of number one hundred and seventy-seven on the Billboard 200. “Instant Love” is the best The Main Ingredient song from Music Maximus, peaking at number ninety-six on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.

After Music Maximus, lead singer Cuba Gooding Sr. left The Main Ingredient. He went on to start his solo music career, releasing songs under Motown Records. Later in 1980, Cuba connected once more with The Main Ingredient members releasing the LP Ready for Love. The album peaked at number sixty-nine on the Billboard Hot 100, missing the Billboard 200 by six positions. Ready for Love featured the reputable single “Think Positive,” which rose to the sixty-ninth spot on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.

Once more, Cuba teamed up with the other The Main Ingredient members to release the LP I Only Have Eyes for YouI Only Have Eyes for You was the last album released through RCA Records by The Main Ingredient. The album performed poorly, never making it on the charts. “Evening of Love” is the best The Main Ingredient song from the LP.

The Main Ingredient released the single “Do Me Right” in 1986. “Do Me Right” peaked at number seventy-five on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. Eventually, The Main Ingredient signed a recording deal with Polydor Records, once home to Eric Clapton, ABBA, Ellie Goulding, Ringo Starr, The Bee Gees, and The Who. The group issued a new LP, I Just Wanna Love You, in 1989 through Polydor Records. I Just Wanna Love You peaked at number fifty-nine on the Billboard R&B Album chart. Some of the best The Main Ingredient songs from the LP include “Nothing’s Too Good for My Baby” and “I Just Wanna Love You.”

After a break of over a decade without releasing music, The Main Ingredient returned with the 2001 LP Pure Magic, released under Magnatar Records. Pure Magic is the last album issued by The Main Ingredient. Unfortunately, the album failed to chart, diminishing the group’s hopes of rekindling its fire in the soul and R&B music scene. “Will You Marry Me” and “We Got Us” are some of the best The Main Ingredient songs from the LP.

The Main Ingredient’s Accolades and Legacy

The Main Ingredient doesn’t have much to show in their accolades cabinet. However, The Main Ingredient’s impactful career hasn’t gone down the drain despite the group’s diminishing fame after the ‘70s. The Main Ingredient’s biggest milestone was its 1972 signature hit “Everybody Plays the Fool.”

“Everybody Plays the Fool” saw the group receive its first and only Grammy Award nomination in the Best R&B Song category. The song lost to The Temptation’s cover of The Undisputed Truth’s 1972 single “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone.” Nevertheless, “Everybody Plays the Fool” remains one of the best R&B songs from the early ‘70s.

The Main Ingredient also takes pride in having all its first nine LPs chart on the Billboard 200. With eleven songs making it to the Billboard Hot 100, The Main Ingredient proves to be one of the R&B genre-defining groups of the ‘70s. Here are the ten best The Main Ingredient songs that you might wish to add to your R&B playlist.

#10 – I Just Wanna Love You

Ushering us to the top 10 songs from The Main Ingredient is the charming hit “I Just Wanna Love You.” The song is the album title track to The Main Ingredient’s 1989 LP, I Just Wanna Love You. By the time The Main Ingredient was releasing this album, much of its glory was already lost. The group was even without Luther Simmons, only leaving Tony Silvester and Cuba Gooding Sr.

Amidst the bad timing of its career, The Main Ingredient was able to pull out one of its best songs of all time, “I Just Wanna Love You.” The song managed to peak at the fifteenth spot on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.

#9 – You Can Call Me Rover

Afrodisiac is renowned for featuring several hits with a touch of Stevie Wonder’s songwriting elegance. However, not all songs on the LP were penned/co-penned by the R&B singer. Our eighth pick is the magnificent hit “You Can Call Me Rover.” The song was penned by Mel Kent, Ken Williams, and a former member of The Cadillacs, J. R. Bailey.

“You Can Call Me Rover” is a three-minute song that brings out the best in Cuba’s vocals. The song was a success peaking at number thirty-four on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. “Girl Blue” is the other The Main Ingredient song from Afrodisiac to have made it to the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart, peaking at number fifty-one.

#8 – Rolling Down A Mountainside

In March 1973, legendary soul musician Isaac Hayes released the song “Rolling Down the Mountainside.” The song was penned by Leon Ware and Bob Hilliard. Two months after Isaac Hayes had released “Rolling Down the Mountainside,” Third Creation released a rendition of the song.

Later in 1975, The Main Ingredient released a cover to this song. The song was featured on The Main Ingredient’s seventh LP of the same name. “Rolling Down a Mountainside” version by The Main Ingredient surpassed the previous two versions, rising to position ninety-two on the Billboard Hot 100. This was The Main Ingredient’s last song to rise to the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

#7 – You’ve Been My Inspiration

“You’ve Been My Inspiration” is among the most popular and successful singles by The Main Ingredient. The song ushered The Main Ingredient into success in the R&B scene after making it to the top thirty of the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. This was The Main Ingredient’s first song also to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song managed the twenty-five spot on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart, peaking at number sixty-four on the Billboard Hot 100. “You’ve Been My Inspiration” was later featured on The Main Ingredient’s debut LP L.T.D. The song was sampled in Black Milk’s “Popular Demand.”

#6 – Happiness is Just Around the Bend

Hammond organ jazz rock and roll artist Brian Auger might not have had quite a successful solo career. However, he was able to cut out several reputable releases, including the hit “Happiness is Just Around the Bend.” The Main Ingredient later covered the song issuing it in the 1974 LP Euphrates River.

“Happiness is Just Around the Bend” is a cherry cover hit that helped cement Euphrates River as the best album by The Main Ingredient. Besides being the group’s highest-charting LP, Euphrates River saw “Happiness is Just Around the Bend” and two other songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100. “Happiness is Just Around the Bend” peaked at number thirty-five on the Billboard Hot 100.

#5 – Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)

Number five on our top 10 The Main Ingredient songs list is the alluring hit “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love).” “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)” is an original release by The Main Ingredient, penned by Luther Simmons, Donald McPherson, and Tony Silvester. The song was featured on the group’s sophomore LP, Tasteful Soul, issued in 1970.

This love ballad was the fourth song by The Main Ingredient to make it to the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number fifty-two. “Spinning Around (I Must Be Falling in Love)” also managed to rise to the seventh spot on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.

#4 – You’ve Got to Take It (If You Want It)

“You’ve Got to Take It (If You Want It)” is one of the best The Main Ingredient songs from the early ‘70s. The song is featured on The Main Ingredient’s second most successful LP on the Billboard 200, Bitter SweetBitter Sweet is also home to the ensemble’s signature hit, “Everybody Plays the Fool.”

“You’ve Got to Take It (If You Want It)” first conquered the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart, peaking at the eighteen position. The song also managed to rise to the forty-sixth spot on the Billboard Hot 100.

#3 – I’m So Proud

Our number three song on the ten best The Main Ingredient songs is the hit “I’m So Proud.” Initially, “I’m So Proud” was released by the soul and R&B group The Impressions on the 1964 LP, The Never Ending Impressions. The Main Ingredient later covered the song featuring it on the sophomore LP, Tasteful Soul.

“I’m So Proud” by The Main Ingredient went to peak at the thirteenth spot on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. On the Billboard Hot 100, “I’m So Proud” managed the forty-ninth spot.

#2- Just Don’t Want to be Lonely

“Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” is the second-best The Main Ingredient song of all time. The song was initially recorded in 1973 by the late soul and R&B star Ronald Dyson and issued on the LP One Man Band. Ronald’s version of the song peaked at number twenty-nine on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart.

Later in 1974, The Main Ingredient covered the song bringing it to international fame. The Main Ingredient’s version was featured on the LP Euphrates River. The group’s rendition of the song peaked at number seven on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart, peaking at number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. Other artists who covered the song include Marcia Griffiths, Blue Magic, and Freddie McGregor. The Main Ingredient’s cover song was Gold certified in the US.

#1- Everybody Plays the Fool

Number one on our top 10 The Main Ingredient songs list is the stunning hit “Everybody Plays the Fool.” The song was penned by J. R. Bailey, Ken Williams, and Rudy Clark. “Everybody Plays the Fool” is the best The Main Ingredient song from the 1972 LP, Bitter Sweet.

This Gold-certified hit peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. It also managed the third spot on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the group’s highest-charting hit of all time. “Everybody Plays the Fool” was nominated for the Best R&B Song accolade in the 1973 Grammy Awards ceremony. However, the song lost to “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” by The Temptations.

Other songs nominated for the award included “Back Stabbers” by The O’Jays, “Me and Mrs. Jones” by Billy Paul, and “Freddie’s Dead” by Curtis Mayfield. “Everybody Plays the Fool” eventually became the signature song of The Main Ingredient. The song was covered by the “Tell It Like It Is” R&B star Aaron Neville in 1991.

Feature Photo: RCA Records, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Top 10 Songs By The Main Ingredient article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022

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