♫ Desiderata ♫

Last night I went with a light-hearted song, “You Can’t Hurry Love”, by the Supremes and also Phil Collins.  Tonight, I’m feeling more solemn, more … I’m looking at this nation, and others … Canada and the UK specifically … and I’m not liking what I see.  A woman posted on Facebook that “We should be better than this … God wants us to be better than this”.  Now, I’m not religious, but I thought her heart was at least in the right place and her comment in no way offended me.  However, she was slammed in comments by people being rude, crass, and obnoxious toward her.  And I started thinking … is this really who we are these days?  Can we not just agree to disagree, can we no longer tolerate those whose views do not match our own?  Whatever happened to “live and let live”?

I typically do not use the music posts to make a statement, though on occasion I do.  Tonight is one such occasion.  Les Crane’s Desiderata is a song that makes a statement … a simple, no-brainer sort of statement, but one that I think maybe we all should hear.

The song is based on a poem by Max Ehrmann that was written in the early 1920s, but not published until 1948, three years after his death.  The poem was about the search for happiness in life. In the 1960s, the poem made its rounds as “anonymous” ancient wisdom – it was widely reprinted because most people assumed it was in the public domain. Crane read the poem on a street poster (which stated the words “Found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, dated 1692”) and decided to record it.

The song reached either #6 or #7 in the UK, depending on who you believe, #4 in Canada, and #8 in the U.S.

Desiderata
Les Crane

Desiderata. Desiderata. Desiderata.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender,
Be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others –
Even the dull and ignorant, they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons – they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
For always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career –
However humble, it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is.
Many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection, neither be cynical about love.
For in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
It is as perenial as the grass.
Take kindly the council of the years,
Gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune,
But do not distress yourself with imaginings –
Many fears are borne of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe.
No less than the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
Keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be careful. Strive to be happy.

Songwriters: Jonathan Douglas / Soren Rasted / M Ehrmanns
Desiderata lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ You Can’t Hurry Love ♫

I wanted a ‘pick-me-up’ song tonight.  Bounced around through some Ray Charles, some Beatles, even a Conway Twitty song.  Then, this one popped up and … it made me smile!  A real, genuine smile!  AHA!  It wins the contest, then.

This was written by the prolific songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland (those guys were so prolific they must have written songs in their sleep at night!)  Eddie Holland came up with the title to Brian Holland’s melody for this song.  According to Lamont Dozier …

“We were trying to reconstruct ‘Come See About Me’ and somehow it turned into ‘You Can’t Hurry Love.’ It was basically a gospel feel we were after.”

This was the first of a second string of consecutive #1 American hits for the Supremes. At the end of 1964 and into 1965, they charted five consecutive #1s. In 1966, starting with You Can’t Hurry Love, they charted four more.

Now, what I did not know is that Phil Collins also recorded this in late 1982.  As much as I adore Phil Collins — he is one of my all-time top ten — he can’t hold a candle to The Supremes on this one.  In fact, his version is almost comical in some way that I cannot quite put a finger on.  Nonetheless, I found myself watching it twice thrice because … well, it’s Phil Collins and I could watch him all day long.  He’s swoon-worthy, even at my age!  And so, I will include it here, because … well, it’s Phil Collins!  💖

The best sound quality was actually on a different video, but it wasn’t ‘in person’, and with the Supremes, you just want to watch them, feel the energy they bring to their music.  So, I listened to no less than 10 different versions and settled on this one.  Hope you like it!

You Can’t Hurry Love
The Supremes/Phil Collins

I need love, love to ease my mind
I need to find, find someone to call mine
But mama said you can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
But how many heartaches must I stand
Before I find a love to let me live again
Right now the only thing that keeps me hanging on
When I feel my strength, yeah, it’s almost gone
I remember mama said

You can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
How long must I wait how much more can I take
Before loneliness will ’cause my heart, heart to break?
No, I can’t bear to live my life alone
I grow impatient for a love to call my own
But when I feel that I, I can’t go on
These precious words keeps me hanging on
I remember mama said

Can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take

You can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

No love, love don’t come easy
But I keep on waiting, anticipating for that
Soft voice to talk to me at night
For some tender arms to hold me tight
I keep waiting; I keep on waiting
But it ain’t easy, it ain’t easy when mama said

You can’t hurry love no
You just have to wait
She said trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes

You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No, you can’t

Songwriters: Brian Holland / Lamont Dozier / Edward Jr. Holland
You Can’t Hurry Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me ♫

Originally, this was a Italian song composed by Pino Donnagio. Dusty Springfield heard Donnagio perform it at the San Remo festival and asked her friend Vicki Wickham, who produced the British TV show Ready Steady Go, to write some English lyrics for it. With the help of Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell, she did.

According to Napier-Bell …

“Vicki and I used to eat together, and she told me that Dusty wanted a lyric for this song. We went back to her flat and started working on it. We wanted to go to a trendy disco so we had about an hour to write it. We wrote the chorus and then we wrote the verse in a taxi to wherever we were going. It was the first pop lyric I’d written, although I’ve always been interested in poetry and good literature. We’d no idea what the English lyric said. That seemed to be irrelevant and besides, it is much easier to write a new lyric completely.”

I like the song for the music, the tune, but admittedly, the lyrics disturb me, for it seems she is saying that “he” can do as he wishes, never having to say he loves her, never needing to commit, while she will always be there for him.  Seems a bit one-sided to me, and it makes me rather sad.  But still … I like the melody, so it stays.

Dusty recorded this in 1966, and then along came Elvis Presley, who covered it with an also-popular version both in the U.S. and UK in 1970.  I prefer Dusty’s, but Elvis’ isn’t bad, either.  So … you get both!

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
Dusty Springfield/Elvis Presley

When I said I needed you
You said you would always stay
It wasn’t me who changed but you and now you’ve gone away
Don’t you see that now you’ve gone
And I’m left here on my own
That I have to follow you and beg you to come home

You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don’t have to stay forever I will understand
Believe me, believe me I can’t help but love you
But believe me I’ll never tie you down
Left alone with just a memory
Life seems dead and quite unreal
All that’s left is loneliness there’s nothing left to feel

You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don’t have to stay forever
I will understand believe me, believe me
You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don’t have to stay forever
I will understand, believe me, believe me

Songwriters: Giuseppe Donaggio / Simon Napier-Bell / Vito Pallavicini / Vicki Heather Wickham
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

♫ Runaway ♫

Hop into your time machines, for tonight we are traveling back … to 1961!  I was only ten, but I remember this song well.

Del Shannon once said he wrote the words to this about himself because he was forever running away from relationships.  Shannon and his keyboard player, Max Crook, came up with this while they were playing a club in their hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan. Crook played a keyboard called a “Musitron” on the song.

According to Shannon …

“We were on stage and Max hit an A minor and a G and I said, ‘Max, play that again, it’s a great change.'” The drummer, Dick Parker, followed them and after 15 minutes, the manager of the club shouted, ‘Knock it off, play something else.’  That night I went back to the club and I told Max to play an instrumental on his musitron for the middle part, and when he played that solo, we had ‘Runaway.'”

The song hit #1 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the UK to name a few.  This was Del Shannon’s biggest hit, and a few years later his career trailed off.  Del Shannon committed suicide in 1990.

Runaway
Del Shannon

As I walk along, I wonder
A what went wrong whit our love
A love that was so strong

And as I still walk on
I think of the thing’s we’ve done
Together, while our hearts were young

I’m a walkin’ in the rain
Tears are fallin’ and I feel a pain
A wishin’ you were here by me
To end this misery

And I wonder, I wa wa wa wa wonder
Why a why why why why why
She ran away
And I wonder where she will stay
My little runaway
My run run run run runaway

I’m a walkin’ in the rain
Tears are fallin’ and I feel a pain
A wishin’ you were here by me
To end this misery

And I wonder, I wa wa wa wa wonder
Why a why why why why why
She ran awayway
And I wonder where she will stay
My little runaway
A run run run run
Runaway

Songwriters: Del Shannon, Max D. Crook
Publisher: BMG Rights Management

♫ All By Myself ♫

Ever since the other night when I wrote about Atatiana Jefferson, I have felt strangely disconnected, sad, not quite of this world.  These stories take a toll on the psyche, but they are so important … they must be documented for the world to see.  When I heard this song last night … it resonated, for at the moment, despite having Miss Goose sitting not 5 feet away working on her art, two moggies on my desk staring at me, begging me to share my crackers and hummus, I feel … All By Myself.

Released in 1975 by Eric Carmen, the verse is based on the second movement (Adagio sostenuto) of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 in C minor, Opus 18. The chorus was taken from the song Let’s Pretend, which Carmen wrote and recorded with the Raspberries in 1972.  Who?  The Raspberries???

According to Carmen …

“The song started with the solo. It started 4 bars at a time. Eventually, over a period of 2 months, that entire interlude had been written. Then my quest was to put this in the middle of an actual song. Then it was a matter of trying to figure out what kind of song and how could I do it. I was listening to Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto (written in 1901) and I heard the melody which I used for the verse. Then I needed a chorus. I went back and listened to a song that I had written in 1973 called ‘Let’s Pretend’ for the Raspberries. I just took those notes and took it from there. I thought, ”Let’s Pretend’ was a nice melody.’ The song didn’t go quite as far as I thought it should have. I’ll go back and steal from myself for this.

There’s not nearly as much fuel in being happy as there is in being miserable. Being miserable is a great catalyst for songwriting, for me anyway. I’m constantly amazed at the amount of wonderful work that Mozart did during periods when he was fairly happy. His music during those periods reflects the happiness. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that Rachmaninoff was happy when he was writing the second symphony and second piano concerto. I don’t think the anguish and angst of those melodies comes out of being peachy keen.”

When he wrote this, Carmen thought the Rachmaninoff music was in the public domain, meaning he could use it free of charge. After this song came out, he found out it wasn’t and agreed to a settlement with the Rachmaninoff estate.

Celine Dion covered this in 1996. Her version hit #4 in the US and #6 in the UK.  So, naturally, I will offer both versions for your listening pleasure.  Although I like Celine, in this case, Eric Carmen is my preference.

All By Myself
Eric Carmen/Celine Dion

When I was young
I never needed anyone
And makin’ love was just for fun
Those days are gone

Livin’ alone
I think of all the friends I’ve known
But when I dial the telephone
Nobody’s home

All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore

Hard to be sure
Some times I feel so insecure
And love so distant and obscure
Remains the cure

All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore

When I was young
I never needed anyone
And makin’ love was just for fun
Those days are gone

All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore

All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore
All by myself
Don’t want to live, all by myself anymore

All by myself
Don’t want to be, all by myself anymore

Songwriters: Eric Carmen / Sergei Rachmaninoff
All By Myself lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs

♫ My Eyes Adored You ♫

Lately, it is hard to have a song in your heart.  Well, for me it is anyway.  For the first time in my life, I find that some days music annoys me.  Yes, I know … music hath charms to soothe the savage beast … and as a rule, I love music.  I always have a song in my head, and until recently, in my heart.  Last night (Monday) there was no song anywhere … not in my head, my heart, or even my big toe!  But tonight, this one keeps playing over and over.  I asked it to leave … just go and leave me to my misery.  But, it persisted.  It was warned, but it persisted.  So …

Released in November 1974, this song was written by Bob Crewe and Kenny Nolan.  It was originally recorded by The Four Seasons in early 1974. After the Motown label balked at the idea of releasing it, the recording was sold to lead singer Frankie Valli for $4000.  Though credited only to Frankie Valli, the Four Seasons sang on it with him.

The single was Valli’s first #1 hit as a solo artist on Billboard’s Hot 100, and remained there for one week, being knocked out of the top spot by another Crewe/Nolan-penned song, Lady Marmalade.

My Eyes Adored You
Frankie Valli

My eyes adored you though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you like a million miles away from me
You couldn’t see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

Carried your books from school
Playin’ make believe you’re married to me
You were fifth grade, I was sixth when we came to be
Walkin’ home ev’ry day over Bonnicut Bridge and Bay
Till we grew into the me and you who went our separate ways

My eyes adored you though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you like a million miles away from me
You couldn’t see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

Headed for city lights, climbed the ladder up to fortune and fame
I worked my fingers to the bone made myself a name
Funny I seemed to find that no matter how the years unwind
Still I reminisce ’bout the girl I miss and the love I left behind

My eyes adored you though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you like a million miles away from me
You couldn’t see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

All my life I will remember how warm and tender we were way back then
Whoa baby
Oh the feeling, sad regrets I know I won’t ever forget you
My childhood friend

My eyes adored you though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you like a million miles away from me
You couldn’t see how I adored you
So close, so close and yet so far

Songwriters: Kenny Nolan / Robert Crewe
My Eyes Adored You lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

♫ I’m Already There ♫

Lonestar lead singer Richie McDonald wrote this with Gary Baker and Frank Myers.  The song is about being there in spirit when you can’t be physically present. It was inspired by McDonald’s time on the road while touring with Lonestar, who were red hot following the success of their 1999 Lonely Grill album and its hit single, Amazed.

The title was something McDonald came up with after calling home and speaking with his 4-year-old son Rhett …

“I remember that night clearly to this day, just hearing that little squeaky voice saying, ‘Daddy, when you comin’ home?’ And when you’re gone for 6 weeks at that point, you just hang up the phone and you cry and you think, you know what, physically maybe I’m not there, but mentally I’m already there. I’ll never forget sitting in that hotel room in Southern California and just thinking, ‘I’m already there.’ There’s an idea. And that’s where it came from.

It was a way to help me through the separation at the time. Songwriting, for me, a lot of times it’s therapy. Just the chance to spill my guts out on a piece of paper or a computer or whatever it is and to put it to music.”

The song became very popular following the September 11 attacks on America as military personnel were deployed …

“This was a song that I wrote about being away from my family and a song that we could relate to every single night in the band being away from our families. But after 9/11 it took on a whole new meaning, especially with the men and women in the military. They spend years away from their families, and it put things in perspective for us.”

It’s a sad song, and the images brought a tear to my eye.  Hope you like it!

I’m Already There
Lonestar

He called her on the road
From a lonely, cold hotel room
Just to hear her say I love you one more time
But when he heard the sound
Of the kids laughing in the background
He had to wipe away a tear from his eye
A little voice came on the phone
Said, “Daddy when you coming home?”
He said the first thing that came to his mind

I’m already there
Take a look around
I’m the sunshine in your hair
I’m the shadow on the ground
I’m the whisper in the wind
I’m your imaginary friend
And I know I’m in your prayers
Oh, I’m already there

She got back on the phone
Said I really miss you, darling
Don’t worry about the kids–they’ll be all right
Wish I was in your arms
Lying right there beside you
But I know that I’ll be in your dreams tonight
And I’ll gently kiss your lips
Touch you with my fingertips
So turn out the light and close your eyes

I’m already there
Don’t make a sound
I’m the beat in your heart
I’m the moonlight shining down
I’m the whisper in the wind
And I’ll be there until the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh, I’m already there

We may be a thousand miles apart
But I’ll be with you wherever you are

I’m already there
Take a look around
I’m the sunshine in your hair
I’m the shadow on the ground
I’m the whisper in the wind
And I’ll be there until the end
Can you feel the love that we share?
Oh, I’m already there
Oh, I’m already there

Songwriters: Richie Mcdonald / Frank Myers / Gary Baker
I’m Already There lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Open Arms ♫

Some nights, I struggle to find a song that I want to hear and that I haven’t already played, but then other nights, a song just pops into my head … usually either while I’m rolling smokes or taking a shower … and I know that’s the one.  Such was the case tonight, but while I had the tune in my head, I couldn’t think of the name of the song, the artist, nor more than a snatch of lyrics.  However, my friend Google (with whom I have a love/hate relationship) filled in the blanks and here I am with the song!

This song by Journey was released in early 1982, and would become their most recognizable radio hit and their biggest US Billboard Hot 100 hit, reaching number two in February 1982 and holding that position for six weeks.

Written by band members Steve Perry and Jonathan Cain, this song is about a couple who drifted apart but found each other again and realized how much they love each other.  Jonathan Cain came to Journey with this melody already written. It could have been a song for the Babys, his previous band, except that Babys’ vocalist John Waite rejected the melody as “too syrupy.”

Mariah Carey co-produced her cover of the song with Walter Afanasieff for her fifth album, Daydream. Carey’s career has crossed paths with Journey’s: the band’s drummer Steve Smith played drums on many of her earlier singles, and its bassist for a short period in the mid-1980s, Randy Jackson, has worked with her for a long time.

The single was released as the album’s third single between late 1995 and early 1996 in most markets outside the United States. It became a number 4 hit in the United Kingdom and was performed live on the BBC’s flagship chart television show, Top of the Pops. It also charted in the top ten in Ireland and New Zealand, and at number 15 in the Netherlands.

I wasn’t aware of Mariah Carey’s version until tonight, and I will say that while I do like much of Mariah Carey’s work, for this song I prefer Journey’s version.  However, in fairness, I shall play both and let you decide for yourself!

Open Arms
Journey/Mariah Carey

Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your heartbeat with mine
Softly you whisper, you’re so sincere
How could our love be so blind
We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are, by my side

So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am, with open arms
Hoping you’ll see what your love means to me
Open arms

Living without you, living alone
This empty house seems so cold
Wanting to hold you
Wanting you near
How much I wanted you home

Now that you’ve come back
Turned night into day
I need you to stay

So now I come to you with open arms
Nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am, with open arms
Hoping you’ll see what your love means to me
Open arms

Songwriter(s): Steve Perry, Jonathan Cain
Producer(s): Kevin Elson, Mike “Clay” Stone

♫ Leaving On A Jet Plane (Redux) ♫

This is a repeat of a song that I played the day after this date last year to mark the death of singer John Denver in a plane crash on October 12th, 1997.  Listen to what Mama Cass has to say at the beginning, for I think that her words back when they did this song are every bit as relevant today as they were when they sang this song in 1972.


Yesterday marked the 21st anniversary of the plane crash that killed singer John Denver.  I was not aware of it yesterday, else I would not be a day late in playing this song, but friend Ellen informed me of the occasion yesterday afternoon.  Ellen also kindly pointed me to a video clip that seems appropriate to mark the occasion of Denver’s death at age 53.  The clip comes from Burt Sugarman’s show, The Midnight Special on August 19, 1972.  This episode was filmed less than three months before the presidential election that would see Richard Milhous Nixon begin a second term that he would not complete.  According to the IMDB …

John Denver guest hosted this Pilot (Episode 1) with guests that included: Mama Cass, The Everly Brothers, The Isley Brothers, Harry Chapin, Linda Ronstadt, Argent and Helen Reddy. The theme of this pilot was to encourage the youth that had reached 18 years to register to vote in the upcoming presidential election. The voting age had just been lowered to 18. The two biggest issues, at that time, were Watergate and the war in Vietnam. Among the musical highlights were Harry Chapin performing his hit “Taxi”, Linda Ronstadt sang her popular ballad “Long Long Time”, Helen Reddy sang “I Am Woman” and the Britsh group Argent performed their 1972 hit “Hold Tour Head High” [sic]. Wolfman Jack appeared on camera as the main host and announcer and previewed upcoming shows, which he would do for the series’ 8 year run.

In this clip, Denver is joined by ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot, formerly of the Mamas and the Papas, and the two do a duet of Leaving on a Jet Plane, a song that had been made famous by Peter, Paul and Mary in 1967.  Interestingly, Cass Elliot would die of heart failure less than two years after singing with John Denver.

Denver wrote the song in 1966.  It turned out to be Peter, Paul and Mary’s biggest (and final) hit, becoming their only No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States.  This one surprised me, for I am a fan of PPM, but Leaving on a Jet Plane is not my favourite of their works.

At any rate … in honour of John Denver, a day late, I give you …

Leaving on a Jet Plane
John Denver & Cass Elliot

All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’
It’s early morn
The taxi’s waitin’
He’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome
I could die

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

There’s so many times I’ve let you down
So many times I’ve played around
I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing
Ev’ry place I go, I’ll think of you
Ev’ry song I sing, I’ll sing for you
When I come back, I’ll bring your wedding ring

So kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Now the time has come to leave you
One more time
Let me kiss you
Then close your eyes
I’ll be on my way
Dream about the days to come
When I won’t have to leave alone
About the times, I won’t have to say

Oh, kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me like you’ll never let me go
‘Cause I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

But, I’m leavin’ on a jet plane
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go

Songwriters: John Denver
Leaving on a Jet Plane lyrics © Reservoir One Music, Reservoir Media Management Inc, BMG Rights Management

♫ My Guy ♫

On Saturday night, I played My Girl by the Temptations, and it only seemed natural to follow it with My Guy by Mary Wells, right?  So, on Sunday night I started working on a post featuring that song, but not having slept much the night before, I kept falling asleep.  Finally, I looked at what I had written, realized it was gibberish and I didn’t even have the embed code right, so I gave up and went to bed.  Let us try this once again …

Mary Wells’ smash hit My Guy was her last solo recording for Motown. The first female star for the record label and known as “the Queen of Motown”, she also became the first to dare to leave when 20th Century Fox wooed her with a $200,000 advance and potential movie roles. She officially left in 1965.

Mary Wells’ fellow Motown star, Smokey Robinson, wrote and produced this song. Robinson helped Berry Gordy form Motown Records after they realized how little they were paid by the labels that distributed their songs. In addition to fronting the legendary group The Miracles, Robinson also wrote and produced many of the label’s early numbers, including other Wells hits like The One Who Really Loves You, You Beat Me to the Punch and Two Lovers.

My Guy was the defining hit of Mary Wells’ career, but it was also memorable as Motown’s first British hit. When it was reissued in the UK and went to #14 in 1972, it brought a renewed interest in Wells. Although she had no problem performing her old numbers for her fans, the singer longed to make a name for herself apart from her Motown roots.

Unfortunately, the mainstream public wasn’t digging Wells’ new sound and, although she would re-emerge from retirement in the 1980s, she never regained the success that made her the “Queen of Motown.”

In 1990, Wells recorded an album for Ian Levine’s Motorcity Records, but her voice began to fail, prompting her to visit a local hospital. Doctors diagnosed Wells with laryngeal cancer. Treatments for the disease ravaged her voice, forcing her to quit her music career. Since she had no health insurance, her illness wiped out her finances, forcing her to sell her home. As she struggled to continue treatment, old Motown friends, including Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, members of the Temptations and Martha Reeves, made donations to support her, along with the help of admirers such as Dionne Warwick, Rod Stewart, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Bonnie Raitt.

That same year, a benefit concert was held by fellow fan and Detroit R&B singer Anita Baker. Wells was also given a tribute by friends such as Stevie Wonder and Little Richard on The Joan Rivers Show.

In the summer of 1992, Wells’s cancer returned and she was rushed to the Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital in Los Angeles with pneumonia. With the effects of her unsuccessful treatments and a weakened immune system, Wells died on July 26, 1992, at the age of 49.  Smokey Robinson performed a softer rendition of this song when he delivered the eulogy at Mary Wells’ memorial service in 1992.

My Guy
Mary Wells

Nothing you could say could tear me away from my guy,
(My guy)
Nothing you could do ’cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy.
(My guy)
I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter,
Like birds of a feather we stick together,
I’m tellin’ you from the start I can’t be torn apart from my guy.

Nothing you could do could make me untrue to my guy,
(My guy)
Nothing you could buy could make me tell a lie to my guy.
(My guy)
I gave my guy my word of honor to be faithful, and I’m gonna,
You best be believing I won’t be deceiving my guy.

As a matter of opinion I think he’s tops,
My opinion is he’s the cream of the crop;
As a matter of taste to be exact he’s my ideal as a matter of fact.

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my guy.
(My guy)
No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy.
(My guy)
He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein’ happy we are.
There’s not a man today who could take me away from my guy.

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my guy.
(My guy)
No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy.
(My guy)
He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein’ happy we are.
There’s not a man today who could take me away from my guy.
(What you say, Tell me more)

No muscle-bound man could take my hand from my guy.
(My guy)
No handsome face could ever take the place of my guy.
(My guy)
He may not be a movie star, but when it comes to bein’ happy we are.

Songwriters: Ronald White / Smokey Robinson
My Guy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC