♫ Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)♫

I can’t believe I haven’t already played this one, but I’m thankful that I haven’t.  It came to me this morning while performing morning chores like brushing teeth, taking meds, making the bed … and before it could scramble away as my ideas for music posts often do, I made a note in my phone so I could remember it 12 hours later when sitting down to find just that right song!

Many years before global warming became a hot topic, Marvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth. For his What’s Going On album (1971), Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy (to whose daughter Gaye was married at the time!), who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable. The success of the title track proved otherwise, and Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) became a #1 R&B hit and soared to #4 on the Hot 100.

Gaye elaborated on this song and his spiritual quest in a 1976 interview …

“I am a student of Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda. I’ve read many books by many authors. My idea of living is, I would love to become an impeccable warrior, one who has no need for earthly things such as the wine, the women, the clothes and the diamonds, and the fine things to wear. I’d love to develop a distaste for those things and become only interested in knowledge and power that this earth will give us, if we’re only willing to put in the time and effort.

I would love to quit show-business and go after that knowledge and that power that the truly gifted sorcerer has. The power’s here, it’s in the rocks, it’s in the air, it’s in the animals. There are men of knowledge who could take these forces and elements and cause mysterious things to happen to the body, transform themselves and do many, many marvelous things. I would like to become a man of power, and I would like to use it in a good fashion.

The knowledge that we have is enough to catapult ourselves over the hurdle into super-knowledge, where we become super-beings. But at that point we always destroy ourselves. That will always happen because super-knowledge is only for the chosen few. But the few can be of a greater number, that’s why I talk about it. If only we would adhere to certain laws that Mother Nature… THAT’S THE KEY!

We appear to have reached the bottom line. And, just like Bunny says (here he’s referring to the Jamaican musician Bunny Wailer), it’s in obeying the laws of nature that this wisdom and freedom lies. Those songs aren’t written for nothing. A lot of the time, they don’t even know it as writers, but they’re just forced to put Mother Nature into the picture, like in ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.'”

Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father while trying to break up an argument between his parents in 1984, at the age of only 44, one day short of his 45th birthday.

This song, written solely by Gaye, became regarded as one of popular music’s most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment.  The song rose to #4 in the U.S. but I cannot find whether it charted in Canada or the UK.

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Marvin Gaye

Here we have something for you folks, we hope
You enjoy it as we enter our social section, thank you

Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh Jesus, yeah, mercy, mercy me, ah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Radiation underground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Hey, mercy, mercy me, oh
Hey, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na, na, na
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, ooh, woo

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gaye Marvin P

♫ For Once In My Life ♫ (Redux)

I started working on a post for a song by Paul Simon, an interesting song with an interesting background, but suddenly at 3:00 a.m., my body and mind both just began shutting down and I found I wasn’t understanding a single thing I was reading and at some point I even asked myself, “Who is Paul Simon?”  So, I quickly decided to switch gears and save that one for tomorrow night, find a great song to redux, and take my old worn-out body to bed!  Sorry, my friends, but there is just only so much of me.

Written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records’ Stein & Van Stock publishing company, the song was first recorded in 1965 by Barbara McNair, but was first released the following year by Jean DuShon.  Other early versions of the ballad were issued by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett, whose recording was the first to reach the pop charts.  And then came Stevie …

All versions of the song to this point were long, drawn-out ballads. Stevie Wonder was the first to pick up the tempo and use a joyful arrangement. Wonder’s version, however, sat in the Motown vaults for nearly a year before being released in 1968.  Why?  Because Berry Gordy did not like Stevie’s version.  Gordy vetoed the single’s release, and the recording was shelved. Billie Jean Brown, the head of the Motown Quality Control department, finally coerced Gordy into allowing Wonder’s version to be released in October 1968.

Stevie’s version became the hit record and definitive version of the song, the one most people think of first.

For Once in My Life
Stevie Wonder

For once in my life
I have someone who needs me
Someone I have needed so long
For once unafraid
I can go where life leads me
And somehow I know I’ll be strong

For once I can touch
What my heart used to dream of
Long before I knew
Someone warm like you
Would make my dreams come true

For once in my life
I won’t let sorrow hurt me
Not like it’s hurt me before
For once I have something
I know won’t desert me
I’m not alone anymore

For once I can say
“This is mine, you can’t take it”
Long as I know I have love
I can make it
For once in my life
I have someone who needs me

For once I can say
“This is mine, you can’t take it”
As long as I know I have love
I can make it
For once in my life
I have someone
Someone who needs me

Songwriters: Miller Ronald Norman / MURDEN ORLANDO
For Once in My Life lyrics © Jobete Music Co. Inc., Stone Diamond Music Corp., Ipanema Music, Corcovado Music Corporation, Emi Music Publishing France, Tunecore Publishing, JOBETE MUSIC CO INC, REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING-DIGITAL OBO BELLBOTTOMS AND BEER MUSI, EMI MILLER CATALOG INC, UNIVERSAL-MCA MUSIC PUBLIS OBO UNIVERSAL – MCA MUSIC PUBL.,, VM ENTERPRISES, INC., SADAIC LATIN COPYRIGHTS OBO SACVEN VENEZUELA, STONE DIAMOND MUSIC CORP

♫ Uptight (Everything’s Alright) ♫

You already know that when I need a lift, I turn to da man, Mr. Stevie Wonder.  Tonight I need a lift, and this song just conveniently popped into my head as I was unloading the dishwasher.  My feet began to tingle, needing to tap, and my head began to sway back and forth just as Stevie’s often does when he sings.  Sadly, tapping feet and a swaying head while hefting a stack of plates into the cabinet may not be the wisest thing!

I knew that Stevie had been something of a child prodigy, but I didn’t realize he had his first #1 hit at the age of only 13!  Blind since birth, Stevie has overcome all obstacles and has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has won 22 Grammy Awards. He was the first Motown artist and second African-American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for the 1984 film The Woman in Red. Wonder has been inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday in the United States. In 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2014, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Whew!  That’s quite a list of accomplishments … no wonder he had to start young!

StevieThis song was released in 1965 when Stevie was a ripe ol’ 15 years of age, and it was the first single that Stevie co-wrote.  An accompanying album, Up-Tight (1966), was rushed into production to capitalize on the single’s success. It also garnered Wonder his first two career Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.

The single was a watershed in Wonder’s career for several reasons. Aside from the US number-one Fingertips (1963), only two of Wonder’s singles, Workout, Stevie, Workout (1963) and Hey Harmonica Man (1964) had both peaked inside of the top forty of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #33 and #29 on that chart respectively. And despite receiving a modicum of chart success, the then 15-year-old Wonder was in danger of being let go. In addition, Wonder’s voice had begun to change, and Motown CEO Berry Gordy was worried that he would no longer be a commercially viable artist.

With the top Motown producers passing on Stevie, it was looking bleak until he started working with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby. Moy had Stevie play her different song ideas he had come up with, but wasn’t impressed with any of them. Pressing to make sure he didn’t have anything else, Wonder reluctantly played her something he had been working on: a ditty where he sang, “Everything is alright, uptight.” Moy likes what she heard and helped him develop the song along with Cosby. The song went to #3 in the US and from that point forward, Wonder was a regular at the top of the charts.

And now, get ready to tap your toes and sway your head, but put the dishes down first!

Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
Stevie Wonder

Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight

I’m a poor man’s son, from across the railroad tracks
Only shirt I own is hanging on my back
But I’m the envy of every single guy
Since I’m the apple of my girl’s eye
When we go out stepping on the town for a while
My money’s low and my suit’s out of style
But it’s all right if my clothes aren’t new
Out of sight because my heart is true

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight

She’s a pearl of a girl, I guess that’s what you might say
I guess her folks brought her up that way
The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised
In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids
She says no one is better than I, I know I’m just an average guy

No football hero or smooth Don Juan
Got empty pockets, you see I’m a poor man’s son
Can’t give her the things that money can’t buy
But I’ll never, never make my baby cry
And it’s all right, what I can’t do
Out of sight because my heart is true

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, hahahahaha, yeah
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, way out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight-

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Wonder Stevie / Moy Sylvia Rose / Cosby Henry
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) lyrics © Black Bull Music, Stone Agate Music, Jobete Music Co. Ltd., Sawandi Music, Jobete Music Co Inc, Jobete Music Co., Inc.

♫ It’s The Same Old Song ♫

I chose this one for my final song in Black History Month.  Why?  Because I love it and as I was listening to a compilation of Motown songs in a tribute tonight, when this one came on, my feet immediately started tapping and I knew this was the one I wanted.  This song had an interesting inception.  Like so many of the Motown songs, it was written and produced by the team of Holland–Dozier–Holland.  The song was reportedly created—from initial concept to commercial release—in just 24 hours!

The story goes, according to SongFacts …

The Four Tops were signed to Columbia Records in 1960, releasing just one single – “Ain’t That Love” (written by their lead singer, Levi Stubbs) – before moving on to Riverside Records and eventually joining Motown in 1963. As “I Can’t Help Myself” was coming off the charts, word got out that Columbia was going to re-release “Ain’t That Love” to capitalize on the group’s sudden success. Motown head Berry Gordy made a big push to thwart this, and put the rush on a new song. Fortunately, Holland-Dozier-Holland were very good at reworking their hits – they did it the previous year when they followed up their Martha & The Vandellas smash “Heat Wave” with the copycat “Quicksand.” The Four Tops were also up for the task, as they were one of the most seasoned Motown acts.

HDH quickly wrote the song, and on Thursday, July 8, it was furiously recorded and pressed. It was delivered to radio stations the next day, and by that Monday, it was in stores.

Columbia did issue “Ain’t That Love,” but it stalled at #93 on the Hot 100.

It’s the Same Old Song
Four Tops

You’re sweet as a honey bee
But like a honey bee stings
You’ve gone and left my heart in pain
All you left is our favorite song
The one we danced to all night long
It used to bring sweet memories
Of a tender love that used to be

Now it’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
I, oh I

Sentimental fool, am I
To hear a old love song and wanna cry
‘Cause the melody keeps haunting me
Reminding me how in love we used to be
Keep hearing the part that used to touch my heart
Saying together forever, breaking up never

It’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
But it’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone

Precious memories keep a lingering on
Every time I hear our favorite song
Now you’re gone, left this emptiness
I only reminisce the happiness we spent
We used to dance to the music
Make romance through the music

Now it’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
I, oh I

It’s the same old song
But with a different meaning
Since you been gone
It’s the same old song

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
It’s the Same Old Song lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Where Did Our Love Go ♫ (Redux)

As I said last night, I will be playing Motown tunes for the rest of February … only four days, including today.  Trying to choose from among the hundreds of great Motown tunes tonight, this one actually made my feet start tapping and had me singing along, so … while it may not be Nathan Jones … this is one of my favourites from The Supremes!


Several nights ago I was planning a Supreme’s song, but got side-tracked, and now I cannot remember which one it was that I was planning for that night.  So, after a quick overview of some of their best songs, I settled tonight on this one, Where Did Our Love Go.

Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, this one was the first single by the Supremes to go to the number-one position in the U.S. in 1964.  It was also the first of five Supremes songs in a row to reach number one (the others being “Baby Love”, “Come See About Me”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, and “Back in My Arms Again”).

According to Lamont Dozier …

“I originally cut this track with the Marvelettes in mind. In fact, I cut it in Gladys Horton’s key, the lead singer, which was much lower than Diana Ross’. At that time, at Motown, the policy was that the songwriters had to pay for the tracks we cut if it didn’t get recorded by one of their artists. It never entered my mind that the Marvelettes wouldn’t like the song. I had the chorus and went to the office to talk with Gladys and played it for her. She said, ‘Oh, honey, we don’t do stuff like that. And it’s the worst thing I ever heard.’ She was adamant about it. I was shocked.

I knew I was in deep trouble if I didn’t hurry and get someone to do the song because I wasn’t about to pay for the track. I went through the Motown artist roster and went all the way to the bottom of the list and there were the Supremes, better known in those days as the ‘no hit Supremes.’ I told them it was tailor made for them, knowing that they had nothing going on at the time and needed a song. Much to my surprise, they said no. Gladys (Horton of the Marvelettes) told them I was looking for someone to record it. I wasn’t giving up. Brian (Holland), Eddie (Holland) and I finally persuaded them to do it, convincing them that it was their saving grace and they couldn’t refuse it. We had already had Top 40 hits with Martha & the Vandellas but they hadn’t had recordings of any significance yet.

They were so annoyed that they agreed to do it that, in the studio, they had a really bad attitude. Diana (Ross) said it was in the wrong key, that it was too low. (Of course it was – I wrote it in Gladys’ key.) Since the track was already cut, she had to sing it in that key and she’d never sung that low before. It turned out that her bad attitude and the low key were exactly what the song needed! I’d worked out intricate background vocals but the girls refused to learn them. Finally I said, ‘Just sing ‘Baby, baby, baby’.’ It worked to their advantage and worked perfectly.

They didn’t necessarily agree. Diana and I were throwing obscenities back and forth and she went running to Berry (Gordy, Jr.) and told him I said something off-color about him. He came down to the studio to see what was wrong and while he was there, he asked to hear the song. He thought it was really good, but said that he didn’t know if it was a hit, but that he thought it would be Top 10.

The song was released and flew up the charts to #1. From then on, one hit followed another. It was the first of 13 consecutive #1s we did on the Supremes. The next time the Hollands and I saw the girls was at the airport. They were getting off a plane with their Yorkshire terriers, in mink stoles. We started laughing. It was so funny to see them turn into stars overnight.”

Where Did Our Love Go
The Supremes

Baby, baby, baby don’t leave me
Ooh, please don’t leave me all by myself
I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning feelin’ inside me
Ooh, deep inside me and it hurts so bad

You came into my heart (baby, baby) so tenderly
With a burning love (baby, baby)
That stings like a bee (baby, baby)
Now that I surrender (baby, baby) so helplessly
You now want to leave (baby, baby)
Ooh, you wanna leave me (baby, baby)
Ooh (baby, baby)

Baby, baby, where did our love go?
Ooh, don’t you want me?
Don’t you want me no more (baby, baby)?
Ooh, baby

Baby, baby, where did our love go?
And all your promises of a love forevermore!
I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning feelin’ inside me
Ooh, deep inside me, and it hurts so bad

Before you won my heart (baby, baby)
You were a perfect guy
But now that you got me
You wanna leave me behind (baby, baby)
Ooh, baby

Baby, baby, baby don’t leave me
Ooh, please don’t leave me all by myself (baby, baby)
Ooh baby, baby, baby

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
Where Did Our Love Go lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Being With You ♫

Do we ever know why, somedays, we just have a song or an artist in our head that just won’t let go?  I’ve had a Smokey Robinson song in my head all day long … crying out for me to give voice to it, but since I didn’t want to set off another cat fight, I restrained myself and only whistled, rather than singing.  But alas, when it came time to put the song on ye olde blog tonight, I discovered I had played it just last year.  Okay, I’m flexible … I want Smokey Robinson and nobody else will do!

Speaking of Smokey Robinson, did you know that he will celebrate his 81st birthday next month???  So hard to believe!  There are people who are actually older than I am!!!

Robinson wrote this for Kim Carnes after she recorded his song More Love, which was produced by George Tobin. What Smokey didn’t know was that Carnes and Tobin were no longer working together, but instead of explaining that to Smokey, Tobin brought him in and convinced him to record the song himself.

Tobin had his own studio, and floated an unusual idea: he would record and produce the song as a Smokey Robinson solo effort. Robinson, who was one of the top Motown producers, had never been produced before as a solo act, but he went for the idea. They started work on the song that night and were finished the next day. The result was Robinson’s biggest hit as a solo artist, reaching #2 on the Hot 100. It was held out of the #1 spot in the US by Bette Davis Eyes, which was recorded by… Kim Carnes!  Talk about coincidence!

According to Scott Edwards, who played bass on this song …

“George Tobin, he went to Smokey Robinson and he told the Motown Machine that if they let him cover all the expenses for the session, play with the musicians, be totally economically responsible, then he wanted some huge percentage of the profit. And Motown, thinking, ‘This cat doesn’t know what he’s doing,’ and ‘How can we lose?’ they agreed to it. So he went in the studio and cut these tracks on Smokey and one of them was ‘Being With You.’ In the session, he would give us basic guidelines on what he felt different times. We’d throw things at him and he’d say, ‘Yeah, do that.’ So he was not a musical person at all, but he had a helper, a co-producer named Mike Piccirillo who was a guitar player. So between the two of them, they would let you know what they wanted.

He came up with the tune and he said, ‘Do this, Scott.’ So I did it and chordally it worked out. Then later on when I heard it, I said, They knew what they wanted. I didn’t, but they did. And it worked out. But they would give you guidelines and then if you had something better, they would leave you alone and let you go with it.

Smokey wrote the song, but as far as the interpretation of it, it was totally George Tobin and Piccirillo. That turned out to be one of Smokey’s biggest tunes, and Motown had to fork over part of that big percentage that they just knew was not going to work out.”

According to this song’s producer, George Tobin, Motown president Berry Gordy didn’t think this would do very well, but when it started to climb the charts he put a lot of promotion behind it. The song was unusual in that it was released on Motown Records, but through an arrangement with someone outside the company. On the single, it said, “Produced and arranged by George Tobin in association with Mike Piccirillo for George Tobin productions.

The song hit #1 in the UK, #2 in the U.S., and #5 in Canada.

Being With You
Smokey Robinson

I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay

I don’t care if they start to avoid me
I don’t care what they do
I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you

Honey don’t go, don’t leave this scene
Be out of the picture and off of the screen
Don’t let them say “we told you so”
They tell me you’ll love me and then let me go

I’ve heard the warning voice
From friends and my relations
They tell me all about your heart-break reputation

I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say, no
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay

I don’t care if they start to avoid me
I don’t care what they do
I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you

People can change, they always do
Haven’t they noticed the changes in you?
Or can it be, that like love I am blind?
Do I want it so much ’til it’s all in my mind?

One thing I know for sure
Is really really real
I never felt before the way you make me feel

I don’t care what they think about me and
I don’t care what they say
I don’t care what they think, if you’re leaving
I’m gonna beg you to stay

I don’t care if they start to avoid me
I don’t care what they do
I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you
Being with you
Being with you

I don’t care about anything else
But being with you, being with you
I wanna be with you

I don’t care if they start to avoid me

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: William Smokey Robinson Jr.

♫ Baby Love ♫

I’m taking you back more than half a century tonight, to 1964 when The Supremes recorded Baby Love and hit #1 on both the U.S. and UK charts.  The Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote this, and according to Lamont Dozier …

“I would collaborate with Eddie on lyrics and with Brian on melodies. Then Brian and I would go into the studio and produce the actual record although Eddie should have been put down as one of the producers because he helped teach the artists the tune when the lyric was finished.”

This was the follow-up to Where Did Our Love Go, The Supremes breakout hit and first #1 in America. That song mentions the word “baby” 68 times, so its fitting that their next single had that word in the title.  Baby Love was released on September 17, 1964, while “Where Did Our Love Go” was still on the charts.

The Supremes became the first Motown act to have more than one American number-one single, and by the end of the decade, would have more number-one singles than any other Motown act (or American pop music group) with 12, a record they continue to hold.

Motown gave this song a big push in the UK, where The Supremes were sent to tour starting on October 7, 1964. On October 15, they performed the song on the popular program Top Of The Pops, and near the end of the tour made an appearance with Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. On November 25, the song hit #1 on the UK chart, making The Supremes the first Motown group and the first girl group to reach #1 in that territory. It was their only UK #1, as the rest of their career was focused on America. Then second Motown act to hit #1 in the UK was The Four Tops with Reach Out I’ll Be There in 1966.

Baby Love
The Supremes

Baby love, my baby love
I need you, oh how I need you!
But all you do is treat me bad
Break my heart and leave me sad
Tell me, what did I do wrong?
To make you stay away so long

‘Cause baby love, my baby love
Been missing ya, miss kissing ya
Instead of breaking up
Let’s do some kissing and making up
Don’t throw our love away
In my arms why don’t you stay?
Need ya, need ya, baby love, baby love

Baby love, my baby love
Why must we separate, my love?
All of my whole life through
I never loved no one but you
Why you do me like you do?
I get this need

Need to hold you, once again, my love
Feel your warm embrace, my love
Don’t throw our love away
Please don’t do me this way
Not happy like I used to be
Loneliness has got the best of me

My love, my baby love
I need you, oh how I need you!
Why you do me like you do?
After I’ve been true to you
So deep in love with you

Baby, baby, ’til it’s hurtin’ me
‘Til it’s hurtin’ me, baby love
Don’t throw our love away
Don’t throw our love away

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Eddie Holland

♫ Lonely Teardrops ♫

Last night I played Nightshift, a tribute to Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, both of whom died in 1984.  I’ve played most of Marvin Gaye’s songs at least once in the nearly 3 years I’ve been doing these music posts, but have only played one by Jackie Wilson, (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher.  So tonight, I’d like to remedy that by playing Jackie’s second most popular song, Lonely Teardrops.

Released in 1959, this was written by the Detroit songwriting team who wrote Wilson’s first several hits – the duo of Tyran Carlo (the pen name of Wilson’s cousin Roquel Davis) and a pre-Motown Berry Gordy Jr., along with Gwen Gordy Fuqua, one of Berry Gordy’s four sisters.  They co-wrote eight other songs for Wilson. At the time, Gordy was a struggling songwriter, but this song – his first Top-10 hit as a songwriter – gave him the confidence to rent a building in Detroit and start the Tamla label, which would become Motown.

Many artists have covered this, including Jose Feliciano, teen idol pop singer Brian Hyland and Michael Jackson.  I didn’t listen to any of the other versions, for I’m quite satisfied with the original in this case (plus I’m tired and longing for my bed).

In September 1975, while performing at the Latin Casino in New Jersey, Wilson collapsed from a heart attack and a stroke right in the middle of this song. He never recovered and remained in a coma for eight more years; he was hospitalized until his death on January 21, 1984 (age 49). In tragic irony, the last words he sung before collapsing were “My heart is crying.” The audience at first thought that his fall was part of the act and they started applauding and cheering. It became evident that something was wrong when about half a minute later, he hadn’t moved. The excitement instantly turned into confusion and shock as attempts to revive Jackie on the stage were to no avail.

As far as I can tell, the song only charted in the U.S. (#7), and I’m not sure why, unless Jackie Wilson was just still too much an unknown.

Lonely Teardrops
Jackie Wilson

My heart is crying, crying
Lonely teardrops
My pillow’s never dry of lonely teardrops
Come home, come home
Just say you will, say you will
(Say you will) say you will (say you will)
Hey, hey (say you will)
My heart is crying, crying

Lonely teardrops
My pillow’s never dry of lonely teardrops
Come home, come home
Just say you will, say you will
(Say you will) say you will, (say you will)
Hey, hey (say you will)

Just give me another chance for our romance
Come on and tell me that one day you’ll return
‘Cause, every day that you’ve been gone away
You know my heart does nothing but burn, crying

Lonely teardrops
My pillow’s never dry of lonely teardrops
Come home, come home
Just say you will, say you will
(Say you will) say you will, (say you will)
Hey, hey (say you will)
Say it right now, baby
(Say you will) come on, come on
(Say you will) say that you
Say it right now, baby
(Say you will) come on, come on
(Say you will) hey come on

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Berry Jr Gordy / Gwendolyn Gordy Fuqua / Tyran Carlo
Lonely Teardrops lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Get Ready ♫

They say that “music hath charms to soothe the savage beast”, and since there seems to be a savage beast affecting my mood tonight, I went in search of some music to soothe it … hopefully to knock it out for a few days!

This was written by Smokey Robinson, who was the main songwriter for The Temptations. In the Motown stable, The Temptations were considered the premier group, and there was a lot of competition among the songwriters to have their compositions recorded by the band. When this song underperformed on the charts, Motown chief Berry Gordy gave the next Temptations single, Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, to Norman Whitfield, and he became their primary writer.

Get Ready went to #1 on the R&B charts for a week, but made just #29 on the Hot 100.

Rare Earth recorded an unusual version of this song that stretched over 21 minutes and took up the entire second side of their first Motown album, which was issued in the fall of 1969. This version was based on Rare Earth’s live version of the song, where every member of the band would get a solo. In 1970, Motown released a 3-minute edit as a single, which went to #4. The song also did well on R&B stations, even though some DJs refused to play it when they found out the group wasn’t black – they were one of the first white groups signed to Motown.

Ella Fitzgerald did a cover of this song in 1969 — her last U.S. chart record.

Get Ready
The Temptations

I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do
(You’re alright)
Whenever I’m asked who makes my dreams real
I say that you do
(You’re outta sight)
So fee fi fo fum

Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready
So get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready
So get ready here I come
Get ready, ’cause here I come
I’m on my way
Get ready, ’cause here I come

If you wanna play hide and seek with love let me remind you
(It’s alright)
The loving you’re gonna miss and the time it takes to find you
(It’s outta sight)
So fiddle-lee-dee fiddle-lee-dum

Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready
So get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready
So get ready here I come
Get ready ’cause here I come
I’m on my way
Get ready ’cause here I come
Get ready

All my friends shouldn’t want you to I understand it
(Be alright)
I hope I’ll get to you before they do the way I planned it
(Be outta sight)
So twiddle-dee-dee twiddle dee dum

Look out baby ’cause here I come
And I’m bringing you a love that’s true so get ready
So get ready
I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready
So get ready here I come
Get ready, ’cause here I come
I’m on my way
Get ready ’cause here I come, boy
Get ready ’cause here I come, boy

Writer/s: William Robinson Jr.
Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Royalty Network
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ Reach Out I’ll Be There ♫ (Redux)

There are times when only Motown will do.  Tonight is one of those times, and this is one I haven’t played for a couple of years, so hopefully it will bring a smile to your faces!


Interestingly,  two people have mentioned this song to me in the last week or so, and as I was working on my Jolly Monday post tonight, I found this one kept running through my head.  Now, at the same time, simultaneously, I have Elton’s Tiny Dancer running through my head, melding together with the Motown sound … is it any wonder the inside of my head looks like a 5-day-old bowl of mush?  Usually when that happens, I figure I should share the song and let it run through your heads also!

I thought this song was older than this, but it was released in 1966 and is considered to be the Four Tops signature song.

In 2014, interviewed by The Guardian, Four Tops singer Duke Fakir said:

Eddie [songwriter Edward Holland] realised that when Levi hit the top of his vocal range, it sounded like someone hurting, so he made him sing right up there. Levi complained, but we knew he loved it. Every time they thought he was at the top, he would reach a little further until you could hear the tears in his voice. The line “Just look over your shoulder” was something he threw in spontaneously. Levi was very creative like that, always adding something extra from the heart.

Written by Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), Dozier would later say …

“Brian, Eddie and I often had discussions about what women really want most of all from a man, and after talking about some of our experiences with women, we all three agreed that they wanted someone to be there for them, through thick or thin, and be there at their beck and call! Thus this song was born.”

The Four Tops recorded this in just two takes, and then proceeded to forget about it, figuring it to be a  “throwaway” album track. Motown boss Berry Gordy, however, had other ideas and released it as a single. Gordy had a knack for identifying hit songs, and got this one right.

And now … just sit back, close your eyes, and listen … feel …

Reach Out I’ll Be There
Four Tops

Now if you feel that you can’t go on
Because all of your hope is gone,
And your life is filled with much confusion
Until happiness is just an illusion,
And your world around is crumblin’ down;
Darling, reach out (come on girl, reach on out for me)
Reach out (reach out for me.)
I’ll be there, with a love that will shelter you.
I’ll be there, with a love that will see you through.
I’ll be there to always see you through.

When you feel lost and about to give up
‘Cause your best just ain’t good enough
And you feel the world has grown cold,
And you’re drifting out all on your own,
And you need a hand to hold:
Darling, reach out (come on girl, reach out for me)
Reach out (reach out for me.)
I’ll be there, to love and comfort you,
And I’ll be there, to cherish and care for you.
I’ll be there to love and comfort you.

I can tell the way you hang your head,
You’re without love and now you’re afraid
And through your tears you look around,
But there’s no peace of mind to be found.
I know what you’re thinkin’,
You’re alone now, no love of your own,
But darling, reach out (come on girl, reach out for me)
Reach out (reach out for me.)
Just look over your shoulder
I’ll be there, to give you all the love you need,
And I’ll be there, you can always depend on me.

Songwriters: Paul Vincent Collins / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland / Edward Jr. Holland
Reach Out I’ll Be There lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC