♫ I Hear A Symphony ♫

I seem to be in Motown mode at the moment, don’t I?  This one came to me tonight when I kept hearing music that wasn’t there.  It’s funny that I cannot hear what is there, and do hear that which isn’t.  At any rate …

This is yet another written by the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who wrote five consecutive #1 hits for The Supremes, starting with Where Did Our Love Go.  Says Lamont Dozier …

“I used to go to the movies and I would see that the main stars had their own theme songs. When they appeared on the screen, you would hear this melody behind them – they had their own little melody each time they appeared in the movie. So the lyrics, ‘Whenever you are near, I hear a symphony,’ it was about this guy. Whenever he came around, in her mind she got this feeling and she heard this melody. He brought out the music in her.”  

You won’t hear a full symphony orchestra in this song, but there is a prominent string section, arranged by Paul Riser, that implies it. Otherwise, the instrumentation is more typical, with a saxophone section and piano (played by Funk Brother Earl Van Dyke). The song evokes classical music in its structure though, building throughout to a kind of crescendo.

Now this I didn’t know … Brian Holland had an affair with Diana Ross in the early ’60s.  In the book The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success and Betrayal, he revealed that the song never got to him until the ’80s, when he was driving one day and the song came on the radio … 

“I hadn’t had any emotional reaction to it before that. It took 25 years for it to sink in how good that song is. Things were happening in our lives by then, Eddie’s and mine, that began to creep into the songs. Those songs were supposed to be about simple things. And at the beginning, they were. It was ‘baby this, baby that.’ But when I hear something like ‘Symphony,’ man, there ain’t nothing simple about it.”

This song peaked at #1 in the U.S., #17 in Canada, and #39 in the UK.

I Hear A Symphony
The Supremes

You’ve given me a true love
And every day I thank you, love
For a feeling that’s so new
So inviting, so exciting

Whenever you’re near, I hear a symphony
A tender melody
Pulling me closer, closer to your arms
Then suddenly (I hear a symphony)
Ooh, your lips are touching mine
A feeling so divine
Till I leave the past behind
I’m lost in a world
Made for you and me

Whenever you’re near, I hear a symphony
Play sweet and tenderly
Every time your lips meet mine, now, baby, baby, baby
You bring much joy within
Don’t let this feeling end
Let it go on and on and on, now, baby, baby, baby
Those tears that fill my eyes
I cry not for myself
But for those who’ve never felt the joy we felt (baby)

Whenever you’re near, I hear a symphony
Each time you speak to me
I hear a tender rhapsody of love now, baby, baby
As you stand holding me
Whispering how much you care
A thousand violins fill the air, now, baby, baby
Don’t let this moment end
Keep standing close to me
Ooh, so close to me, baby, baby, baby, baby
I hear a symphony
A tender melody

Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

14 thoughts on “♫ I Hear A Symphony ♫

    • Yes, it is … I wish all these artists were still around making new music today. Chris was watching some music video on television yesterday, and while I couldn’t hear the music, the group looked rather like homeless people and one guy held his guitar by the neck and smashed it against the stage floor. I suppose it’s a sign of my age that I said, “Just think how many people could have eaten for a week for the price of that guitar.” And then I returned to my kitchen office from whence I had come.

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  1. In Canada we still wanted (Martha and) The Vandellas, they were Motown to us, but Diana certainly made sure they lost top billing. First Holland, then Gordy, Diana did what Martha refused to do. We all know the result.
    Still The Supremes made some good music, I just don’t agree with her manipulating the men around her to do it.

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