While the “A” side was the hit, the flip has the obvious hook: “I Can’t See Nobody.” The hook and its corresponding title have bothered grammarians since its release. Which begs the question, “When did double negatives become verboten in English?”
In many languages, double negatives connote a strong negative – not a negation of the negative completely. In the lingua franca of the hoi polloi, we use double negatives in the same sense. When communicating danger to our children, we often us “no, NO!” as an emphatic warning. What do we tell children when they do something wrong, they did a “no no.” It isn’t just a “no,” but rather it is a “no no.”
Grammar aside, it’s a haunting song. There ain’t nobody who does it better – no, none.