♫ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ♫

I hadn’t even thought of a song for tonight, likely there wouldn’t have been one, as I’m still a bit under the weather and very tired.  But then I read Keith’s post about Motown, and the documentary movie Hitsville:  The Making of Motown, and suddenly I was in the mood for some Motown Sound!   I really thought I had played this one just a couple of weeks ago, but I find that I didn’t … must have gotten sidetracked.

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is an R&B/soul song written by the husband/wife songwriting team of Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson in 1966 for the Tamla label, a division of Motown.  Nick Ashford was inspired by an experience when he first moved to New York. He was walking down a Manhattan thoroughfare, determined that New York City would not get the best of him; the words “Ain’t no mountain high enough” popped into his head.

Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell recorded the original version, which peaked at #19 US in 1967. Uriel Jones of The Funk Brothers, who played the drums on Gaye and Terrell’s original version, recalled …

“Ashford and Simpson had written the song and they always came to the studio with charts. This time was no exception; they came with the song fully written out. The lyrics were written out too. They were one of the few producers and writers who had full charts and made us work from them. They knew 95 percent what they wanted to hear. Johnny Bristol and Harvey Fuqua were the actual producers in charge of the recording. We did the rhythm track first, then they put the horns on second. Then they recorded Tammi Terrell’s vocal, then they did Marvin Gaye’s next. Each vocal was done separately, the singer in the studio with the producer on their own, and they put it all together at the end. You know, I never heard the finished song until I switched on the radio and it was playing.”

British soul singer Dusty Springfield wanted to record the song but Ashford & Simpson declined, hoping it would give them access to the Detroit-based label. As Valerie Simpson later recalled, “We played that song for her (Springfield) but wouldn’t give it to her, because we wanted to hold that back. We felt like that could be our entry to Motown.”

Diana Ross & The Supremes recorded a version of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough which was more faithful to the Terrell-Gaye original version as a duet with The Temptations. That song was an album cut from a joint LP released by Motown Records in 1968 on the two superstar groups, titled Diana Ross & the Supremes Join The Temptations.

In spring 1970, after the Top 20 success of her first solo single, Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand), Ashford and Simpson had Ross re-record “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.

Motown chief Berry Gordy did not like the record upon first hearing it. He hated the spoken-word passages and wanted the song to begin with the climactic chorus/bridge. It was not until radio stations nationwide were editing their own versions and adding it to their playlists that Ashford and Simpson were able to convince Gordy to release an edited three-minute version as a single. Ross’ version of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” rose up to number one on both the pop and R&B singles charts. Ross received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

I prefer the Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell version, but the Diana Ross version is good, as well, so I proffer both!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell

Listen baby, ain’t no mountain high
Ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough baby
If you need me call me no matter where you are
No matter how far don’t worry baby
Just call my name I’ll be there in a hurry
You don’t have to worry

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Remember the day I set you free
I told you you could always count on me darling
From that day on, I made a vow
I’ll be there when you want me
Some way, some how

‘Cause baby there ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Oh no darling
No wind, no rain
Or winters cold can stop me baby, na na baby
‘Cause you are my goal
If you’re ever in trouble
I’ll be there on the double
Just send for me, oh baby, ha

My love is alive
Way down in my heart
Although we are miles apart
If you ever need a helping hand
I’ll be there on the double
Just as fast as I can
Don’t you know that there

Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe

Don’tcha know that there
Ain’t no mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough
Ain’t no river wide enough
Ain’t mountain high enough
Ain’t no valley low enough

Songwriters: Valerie Simpson / Nickolas Ashford
Ain’t No Mountain High Enough lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ You Are Everything ♫

I wish I could take credit for tonight’s song, but alas … I cannot.  Once again, our friend Ellen has taken me to task for not making note of the anniversary of Marvin Gaye’s death yesterday, but at the same time, she gave me a way out, noting that I could possibly redeem myself by recognizing Mr. Gaye’s birthday today!  (I swear that woman is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to music!) She was even so kind as to make a couple of recommendations, and thus tonight’s song … You Are Everything.

Thank you, Ellen … and remember, the job offer is still open!

This song, written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed, was originally recorded by the Philadelphia soul group The Stylistics in 1971.  Then in 1974, Motown singing duo, Diana Ross & Marvin Gaye recorded the song, and that is the version I am sharing tonight, in honour of what would have been Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday.  Wow — where do the years go?

Released as the second UK single from their Diana & Marvin album, the song reached #5 in the UK Singles Chart in April 1974, and also became the first official Motown single to be awarded with silver disc for sales in excess of 200,000 copies. It also reached #13 on the Dutch charts and #20 on the Irish Singles Chart. It was never released as a single in the U.S.  I wonder why?

Sadly, Mr. Gaye’s life and career were cut short one day shy of what would have been his 45th birthday when, on April 1, 1984, Gaye’s father, Marvin Gay Sr., fatally shot him at their house in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.  Yet another whose music enriches us, his life ended far too soon.

You Are Evrything
Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye

Today I saw somebody
Who looked just like you
He walked like you do
I thought it was you
As he turned the corner
I called out your name
I felt so ashamed
When it wasn’t you
Wasn’t you

You are everything
And everything is you
Oh, you are everything
And everything is you
‘Cause you are everything
And everything is you

How can I forget
When each face that I see
Brings back memories
Of being with you
I just can’t go on
Living life as I do
Comparing each girl with you
Knowing they just won’t do
They’re not you

‘Cause you are everything
And everything is you
Oh, you are everything
And everything is you
You are everything
And everything is you

Songwriters: Linda Creed / Linda Diane Creed / Thom Bell / Thomas Randolph Bell
You Are Evrything lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Where Did Our Love Go ♫

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

♫ Someday We’ll Be Together ♫

Where were you and what were you doing in 1969?  I had just graduated from high school, was debating what to do with my life.  My dad wanted me to be the son he never had and follow in his footsteps, but I already knew that wasn’t what I wanted.  That summer I spent working, saving money for … whatever … and tootling about in an old VW Beetle with my best friend Nidia Zamora, and none other than the Supremes blasting from the radio while I tried to ignore the future!

Someday We’ll Be Together
Diana Ross, The Supremes

Someday we’ll be together
Say, say, say it again
Someday we’ll be together
Oh, yeah, oh yeah

You’re far away
From me my love
And just as sure my, my baby
As there are stars above
I wanna say, I wanna say, I wanna say

Someday we’ll be together
Yes we will, yes we will
Say, someday (some sweet day) we’ll be together
I know, I know, I know, I know

My love is yours, baby
Oh, right from the stars
You, you, you posses my soul now honey
And I know, I know you own my heart
And I wanna say:

Someday we’ll be together
Some sweet day we’ll be together
Yes we will, yes we will
Someday (tell everybody) we’ll be together
Yes we will, yes we will

Long time ago
My, my sweet thing
I made a big mistake, honey
I said, I said goodbye
Oh, oh baby
Ever, ever, ever since that day
Now, now all I wanna do is cry, cry

Hey, hey, hey
I long for you every night
Just to kiss your sweet, sweet lips
Hold you ever, ever so tight
And I wanna say

Someday we’ll be together

Songwriters: Russell Glyn Ballard
Someday We’ll Be Together lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

♫ Endless Love ♫

Lionel Richie originally wrote this song and recorded it with Diana Ross in 1981.  Lionel Richie had risen from saxophone player in the Commodores to lead vocalist and primary songwriter in the group. He was still with them when the movie, Endless Love, was being filmed and director Franco Zeffirelli asked him to write an instrumental theme along the lines of Henry Mancini’s theme from the 1971 film Love Story. Richie, who was eager to add “film soundtrack” to his resumé, used a piece of music he had written for the Commodores but was never recorded. But then Zeffirelli decided he wanted lyrics. And that it should be a duet, maybe with Diana Ross. So Richie’s assignment went from devising an instrumental theme song to composing and performing on a fully-formed duet with the most popular female vocalist in America. He was up for the challenge.

The movie did not do well, but the song, recorded under the Motown label, received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations and won a Marquee Award in 1982 for Best Original Song.

In 1994, Mariah Carey and Luther Vandross recorded this for Vandross’ album Songs. It became Luther’s biggest hit, going to #2 in the US.  I am a big fan of Luther Vandross, but tonight, as I listened to his and Mariah’s version, I found that I still preferred Lionel Richie and Shania’s.  Somewhere along the line, Kenny Rogers even recorded it … is there a song around that he hasn’t recorded???  I did not listen to Kenny’s version.  Three was enough for me.

Richie and Twain recorded their version in 2011, and the video you are about to watch was recorded in February 2012.

Endless Love
Lionel Richie and Shania Twain

My love
There’s only you in my life
The only thing that’s right
My first love
You’re every breath I take
You’re every step I make

And I
I want to share
All my love with you
No one else will do
And your eyes (your eyes, your eyes)
They tell me how much you care
Oh, yes
You’ll always be
My endless love

Two hearts
Two hearts that beat as one
Our lives have just begun
And forever
I’ll hold you close in my arms
I can’t resist your charms

And I
I’d play the fool
For you, I’m sure
You know I don’t mind
(No, you know I don’t mind)
And yes
You mean the world to me
I know I’ve found in you
My endless love

And love
I’d play the fool
For you, I’m sure
You know I don’t mind
(Whoa, you know I don’t mind)
Oh, yes
You’d be the only one
Cause no, I can’t deny
This love I have inside
And I’ll give it all to you
My love (my love, my love)

Songwriters: Lionel B. Richie / Jr.
Endless Love lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc