The song “Elusive Butterfly” was written and performed by Bob Lind in 1965. Singer-songwriter Bob Lind, who was part of the sixties folk music scene, penned this unusual romantic ballad. In the song the narrator tells of his search for romance, which he finds as elusive as a butterfly. Lind was signed to a deal by prolific jazz producer Richard Bock and his label World Pacific Records. “Elusive Butterfly” was originally released in December 1965 as the B-Side of Bob Lind’s debut single “Cheryl’s Goin’ Home.” When Florida radio station WQAM flipped the record, the response to “Elusive Butterfly” was strong enough to get World Pacific Records to promote it as the new A-side.
“Elusive Butterfly” hit the charts in the spring of 1966, and it reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart. In Australia, “Elusive Butterfly” went to #2 and stayed there for three weeks in July 1966. This gave jazz label World Pacific Records its one and only pop hit.
“Elusive Butterfly” features a string arrangement that provides an absolutely gorgeous counter-melody. The arranger was Jack Nitzsche, a major contributor to Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound.” Nitzsche is also known for his work on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones, as well as writing scores for One Flew Over The Cukoo’s Nest, The Exorcist, and Officer And A Gentleman, among others.
Over the years, many artists have covered “Elusive Butterfly. Some of the cover versions were as follows: Petula Clark (1966), Cher (1966), Billy Walker (1966), Lou Christie (1966), Johnny Mathis (1966), Bobby Vee (1966), Glen Campbell (1968), Gary Lewis and The Playboys (1968), Aretha Franklin (1969), The Lettermen (1969), The Four Tops (1970), Dolly Parton (1984), Jane Olivor (2001) and Livingston Taylor (2006).