♫ 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

♫ What’s Going On ♫ (Redux)

Yes, another redux, but … frankly, in light of our circumstances today, there are few songs that fit the times better than this one by Marvin Gaye.  “For only love can conquer hate.”  Enough said …


There’s a lot of history to this song … more than I can cover in a brief blurb here.  The inspiration for the song came from Renaldo “Obie” Benson, a member of the Four Tops, after he and the group’s tour bus arrived at Berkeley on May 15, 1969. While there, Benson witnessed police brutality and violence in the city’s People’s Park during a protest held by anti-war activists in what was hailed later as “Bloody Thursday”.

Upset by what he had seen, he discussed what he witnessed to friend and songwriter Al Cleveland, who in turn wrote and composed a song to reflect Benson’s concerns. Benson wanted to give the song to his group but the other Four Tops turned down the request, saying it was a protest song.

“I said ‘no man, it’s a love song, about love and understanding. I’m not protesting, I want to know what’s going on.'”

In 1970, Benson presented the untitled song to Marvin Gaye, who added a new melody and revised the song to his liking, adding in his own lyrics. Benson later said Gaye tweaked and enriched the song, “added some things that were more ghetto, more natural, which made it seem like a story than a song… we measured him for the suit and he tailored the hell out of it.”

Motown founder Berry Gordy was against Gaye doing the song, saying …

“Motown was about music for all people—white and black, blue and green, cops and the robbers. I was reluctant to have our music alienate anyone. This was a big risk for his image.”

By some accounts there was a bitter quarrel between Gaye and Gordy over the song, but Gordy denies it.

Two bits of trivia about Marvin Gaye that I did not know until tonight:

  • He was married to Berry Gordy’s sister, Anna, from 1963 until their divorce in 1977
  • Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his own father on 01 April 1984, after breaking up a fight between his parents.  Gaye was one day shy of his 45th birthday.  His father was given a suspended sentence and probation.

And now … What’s Going On …

What’s Going On
Marvin Gaye

Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh

Father, father
We don’t need to escalate
You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh, what’s going on
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Ah, what’s going on

In the mean time
Right on, baby
Right on brother
Right on babe

Mother, mother, everybody thinks we’re wrong
Oh, but who are they to judge us
Simply ’cause our hair is long
Oh, you know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some understanding here today
Oh oh oh

Picket lines and picket signs
Don’t punish me with brutality
C’mon talk to me
So you can see
What’s going on
Yeah, what’s going on
Tell me what’s going on
I’ll tell you what’s going on, ooh ooo ooo ooo
Right on baby
Right on baby

Songwriters: Alfred W Cleveland / Marvin P Gaye / Renaldo Benson
What’s Going On lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Superstition ♫

aarghFolks, I’ve done it again!!!  Last year, I missed Stevie Wonder’s birthday by a day … his birthday is the 13th, and after I didn’t play a Stevie Wonder song on that date, my dear friend Ellen took me to task, so I wished Mr. Wonder a ‘Happy Birthday’ on the 14th.  This year, though … I’ve missed it by five days!!!  Ellen … this is your fault, y’know!  Anyway, better late than never, they say, and since Stevie is in my top five favourites of all time, I cannot let his birthday go unnoticed.

I dug around for one of his songs that I haven’t played … no small task, considering I have featured him 28 times since I started doing these music posts a couple of years ago.  But, I came up with one and, while it isn’t in my top five favourites, I do like it.  The song made #1 in the U.S., #6 in Canada, and #11 in the UK

This was intended for Jeff Beck, who was brought in to play some guitar parts on the album in exchange for a song. At one of the sessions, Stevie came up with the riff and wrote some lyrics, and they recorded a rough version of the song that day for Beck. It took Beck a while to record the song, and by the time he released it, Wonder’s version had been out for a month and was a huge hit. Beck felt shortchanged, and made some statements in the press that Wonder didn’t appreciate. In 1975, Beck released an instrumental version of Wonder’s “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers” on his album Blow By Blow. The album was a hit and helped solidify Beck’s reputation as an elite guitarist.

When Wonder turned 21, he was no longer obligated to Motown Records, and used his clout to sign a deal with the label giving him unprecedented control of his music. He got a large share of royalties and publishing rights, and Motown was not allowed to alter the albums once they were delivered. One thing Motown did control, however, were what songs they released as singles. Knowing Jeff Beck was about to record his version, Motown head Berry Gordy made sure this was the first single and released it before Beck could get his out.  A bit of dirty pool there, it seems.

Several artists besides Jeff Beck have covered this. None made much of an impact until Stevie Ray Vaughan released a live version as a single in 1986 on his album Live Alive. His version is still played on Classic Rock radio, and has grown even more popular since Vaughan’s death in 1990.

Wonder performed this song on Sesame Street in 1973 during the show’s fourth season. It was recorded at the show’s New York studios at a time when Wonder and his band were playing lots of gigs, and they treated the Sesame Street performance just like any other, extending it to nearly 7 minutes, complete with intricate musical shifts directed by Wonder. Video of the performance shows kids and puppets having a blast on the set, but the band remained focused, since getting distracted by a monster would not be a valid excuse for missing a change.  Normally, I would also include the Sesame Street version, and perhaps another day I will, but today is Stevie Wonder’s show alone.

So, without further ado … Happy 70th Birthday Mr. Stevie Wonder!!!!  🎈

 

Superstition
Stevie Wonder

Ladies and Gentlemen
Ladies and Gentlemen

Joining us on stage my Mr Jeff Beck

Very superstitious,
Writing’s on the wall,
Very superstitious,
Ladders bout’ to fall
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass
Seven years of bad luck,
The good things in your past

When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition aint the way

Everybody scream!

Very superstitious,
Nothin’ more to say,
Very superstitious,
The devil’s on his way,
Thirteen month old baby,
Broke the lookin’ glass,
Seven years of bad luck,
Good things in your past

When you believe in things
That you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way,
No, no, no

Superstition ain’t the way
Superstition ain’t the way
Superstition ain’t the way
Superstition ain’t the way

Everybody say
We’re jamming in New York
We’re jamming in New York

Superstition ain’t the way
Superstition ain’t the way…

I love you…

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Superstition lyrics © Jobete Music Co. Ltd., Jobete Music Co Inc, Black-bull-music, Inc., Black Bull Music Inc, Jobete Music Co., Inc.

♫ Standing In The Shadows Of Love ♫

As you may have noticed from my morning Very Snarky Snippets, I am in something of a mood tonight.  And when I’m in a mood, I turn to Motown.

While I have played many Four Tops’ songs in the past two years, I haven’t played this one!

The Four Tops released this song as a direct follow-up to their #1 hit Reach Out I’ll Be There and it features a similar musical arrangement. Despite the likeness to its chart-topping predecessor, the record was still a big hit, easily reaching the Top 10 in both the UK and US. Both songs were written by the Motown songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), and while the instrumentation is similar, the lyrics are very different.

This song was recorded by the Four Tops during the first ever session at Berry Gordy’s newly acquired Golden World Detroit studio, later dubbed Studio B.

The song has been covered by everybody and their brother from the Jackson 5 to Barry White to Rod Stewart to Joe Stubbs (the younger brother of The Four Tops’ lead vocalist Levi Stubbs).

Standing In The Shadows Of Love
Four Tops

Standing in the shadows of love
I’m getting ready for the heartaches to come
Can’t you see me standing in the shadows of love
I’m getting ready for the heartaches to come

I want to run but there’s nowhere to go
‘Cause heartaches will follow me, I know
Without your love, the love I need
It’s the beginning of the end for me
‘Cause you’re taking away all my reasons for livin’
When you pushed aside all the love I been givin’
Now wait a minute

Didn’t I treat you right, now baby, didn’t I?
Didn’t I do the best I could now, didn’t I?

So don’t you leave me
Standing in the shadows of love
I’m getting ready for the heartaches to come
Don’t you see me standing in the shadows of love
Trying my best to get ready for the heartaches to come

All alone
I’m destined to be, with misery my only company
It may come today, it might come tomorrow
But it’s for sure I ain’t got nothing but sorrow
Now don’t your conscience kind of bother you
How can you watch me cry after all I done for you
Hold on a minute

Gave you all the love I had now, didn’t I?
When you needed me I was always there now, wasn’t I?

I’m trying hard not to cry out loud
You know crying it ain’t gonna help me now
What did I do to cause all this grief?
Now what’d I say to make you want to leave
Now wait a minute

Gave my heart and soul to you now, didn’t I?
And didn’t I always treat you good, now didn’t I?

I’m standing in the shadows of love
I’m getting ready for the heartaches to come
Don’t you see me standing in the shadows of love
Trying my best to get ready for the heartaches to come
Oh I’m standing in the shadows of love

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jr. / Brian Holland / Edward Holland / Edward / Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Lamont Herbert Dozier
Standing In The Shadows Of Love lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I’ll Be There ♫

Tonight’s song has nothing whatsoever to do with shirts, cats, cookies, dirty dishes, or coffee mugs …

Released in 1970, this was the first Jackson 5 hit not written by “The Corporation,” a collection of Motown writers lead by the chief of the label, Berry Gordy. The Corporation were based in California, unlike most Motown writers, who were in the Detroit offices. This song was written by Hal Davis (who also produced it), Bob West, Willie Hutch, and Berry Gordy.

In this song, a man tells his former lover that he will always be there for her, and that even if she finds someone new, she can always go back to him. This statement of unconditional fealty makes it one of the more touching and romantic songs of the era, sweetened by the innocence of Michael Jackson’s voice – he was just 11 years old when he recorded it.

Now, I like the Jackson 5 version quite well, but 22 years later, Mariah Carey would release her own version of this, and I like that quite well also.  Mariah’s is more of a romantic duet with Trey Lorenz.  In fact, if you asked me to choose between the two, I couldn’t … each is special in it’s own way.  So, I offer you both tonight … take your pick!

I’ll Be There
The Jackson 5/Mariah Carey

You and I must make a pact
We must bring salvation back
Where there is love, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll reach out my hand to you
I’ll have faith in all you do
Just call my name and I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found you

I’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on (holdin’ on)
Yes I will, yes I will

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness, girl, is all I’m after
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll be there to protect you (yeah baby)
With unselfish love that respects you
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

I’ll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I’m so glad that I found you

I’ll be there with a love that’s strong
I’ll be your strength
I’ll keep holdin’ on
Ooh ooh ooh
Yes I will (holdin’ on, holdin’ on)
Yes I will

If you should ever find someone new
I know he better be good to you
‘Cause if he doesn’t
I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

Don’t you know baby I’ll be there
I’ll be there I’ll be there

Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Just look over your shoulders honey, ooh!
I’ll be there, I’ll be there,
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)

Don’t you know baby
I’ll be there, I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Oh oh oh oh I’ll be there, I’ll be there

Songwriters: Berry Gordy Jr / Bob West / Hal Davis / Willie Hutch
I’ll Be There lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ 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

♫ My Girl ♫

A couple of weeks ago, I played Nightshift by the Commodores, and in comments, my friend Cheryl, aka Calensariel, mentioned that her favourite Motown song was My Girl, by the Temptations.  And … since I always aim to please my friends, this one’s for you, dear friend!

This was written by Smokey Robinson and Ronald White, who were both members of The Miracles. Robinson wrote the lyrics – he was married at the time to his first wife, Claudette (they were wed from 1957-1986), but Smokey said that the song is not about a specific girl, but “written with all the women in the world in mind.”

This song was written in the Apollo Theater when The Temptations were playing as part of a package tour with The Miracles. According to Robinson, he was working out the song on a piano at the theater when his bandmate Ronald White joined him and they hashed out the song. When The Temptations heard it, they convinced Robinson to let them record it instead of The Miracles. Robinson, who was Berry Gordy’s right-hand man at Motown agreed, and rehearsed the song with The Temptations over the next week. When they returned to Detroit, Robinson and White produced the session on December 21, 1964 when they recorded this song.

The previous year, Robinson wrote My Guy for Motown singer Mary Wells. That song carried the same sentiment of unconditional love, but from a female perspective. Hmmmm … I’ll have to play that one soon, for it’s great, too!  Somebody remind me, for we all know that my memory is gone!

This was the first of four US #1 hits for The Temptations. It was also the first #1 for a male vocal group on the Motown label.  The Temptations were a groundbreaking act in terms of choreography, doing precise movements to accentuate their songs. This one used big, expressive gestures that became widely associated with the song – it was not uncommon to see people doing the moves while listening to it. The Motown choreographer was a dancer named Cholly Atkins.

One thing I didn’t know is that Mr. ‘Sittin’-on-the-Dock-of-the-Bay’ Otis Redding had also done this song.  Now, I love Otis, and I was prepared to offer his rendition up as a second tonight, but after I listened to about 30 seconds of it, I said … “Nah, sorry Otis, you flubbed this one”.  Nobody can do everything well, and he will always have my heart on Dock o’ the Bay!

My Girl
The Temptations

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May
Well I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl)

I’ve got so much honey the bees envy me
I’ve got a sweeter song than the birds in the trees
Well I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl ooh)

Hey hey hey
Hey hey hey
Ooh yeah

I don’t need no money, fortune, or fame (ooh hey hey hey)
I’ve got all the riches baby one man can claim (oh yes I do)
I guess you’d say
What can make me feel this way?
My girl (my girl, my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl)

I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day
With my girl (My girl)
(Talkin’ ’bout my girl my girl) I’ve even got the month of May
With my girl (My girl, woah)
She’s all I can think (my girl)
(Talkin’ ’bout my girl my girl)
Talkin’ ’bout, talkin’ ’bout my girl (my girl, woah)

Songwriters: William Smokey Robinson / Ronald White
My Girl lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

♫ It’s The Same Old Song ♫

This is the song I was planning to play last night, until Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight wouldn’t leave me alone.  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