♫ 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

♫ This Old Heart Of Mine ♫

Earlier this evening, I was reading a transcript of a podcast, part of a fascinating series put together by Jonathan Capehart for The Washington Post called Voices of the Movement about how music propelled the Civil Rights movement.  It’s a fascinating series in case you’re interested, and you can either listen to the podcast or read the transcript.  Anyway, as I was reading, this song by the Isley Brothers literally popped into my head.Isley-BrothersThe Isley Brothers became one of the most successful acts of the ’70s, and also one of the most independent – they wrote, produced and released their own music throughout the decade. But in 1966, they were signed to Motown Records, who teamed them with the songwriting/production team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland), who originally wrote this song for The Supremes.

Released as their first Motown single, it was a hit, but their last Top 40 with the label, who reassigned Holland-Dozier-Holland to other artists. In 1968, The Isley Brothers left Motown to record on their own label, T-Neck Records. Their first T-Neck release was the group’s biggest hit: It’s Your Thing.

Lamont Dozier said this song was inspired by girl he just couldn’t give up …

“The more I tried the deeper I fell. I made excuses for her and all the wrong she had done to me. She was a necessary evil that I just couldn’t overcome.”

Rod Stewart, a huge fan of both Motown and The Isley Brothers, recorded his own version in 1975 and released it as a single. His rendition was a big hit in the UK, climbing to #4, but it only went to #83 in the U.S. He did a lot better stateside when he recorded the song as a duet with Ronald Isley in 1989. This version made #10 in the US.

This Old Heart of Mine
The Isley Brothers

This old heart of mine been broke a thousand times
Each time you break away, I fear you’ve gone to stay
Lonely nights that come, memories that flow, bringing you back again
Hurting me more and more

Maybe it’s my mistake to show this love I feel inside
‘Cause each day that passes by you got me
Never knowing if I’m coming or going, but I, I love you
This old heart darling, is weak for you
I love you, yes, I do
These old arms of mine miss having you around
Makes these tears inside start a-falling down

Always with half a kiss
You remind me of what I miss
Though I try to control myself
Like a fool I start grinnin’ ’cause my head starts spinnin’ ’cause I

I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you
I love you, yes I do, yes I do

Ooh, I try hard to hide, my hurt inside
This old heart of mine always keeps me cryin’
The way you’re treating me, leaves me incomplete
You’re here for the day, gone for the week now

But if you leave me a hundred times
A hundred times I’ll take you back
I’m yours whenever you want me
I’m not too proud to shout it, tell the world about it ’cause I

I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you
I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you

I love you
This is old heart, darling is weak for you
I love you, yes I do, yes I do
I love you, yes I do, darling is weak for you

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Sylvia Moy / Brian Holland
This Old Heart of Mine lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Baby I Need Your Loving ♫

The Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote this. After seeing The Four Tops perform at a club in Detroit, Brian Holland invited them to the Motown studios, where they spent the rest of the night recording the song.

The song, released in 1964, was the first of many Motown hits for the group, and the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team.  According to Lamont Dozier …

“We’ve all been together virtually since I was a kid in Detroit and we always had no problem working together. We used to just lock ourselves in the studios with some barbecue ribs and Cold Duck and come up with an album in a couple of days. I would say that they were probably the easiest guys to work with, always professional and polished.”

The Four Tops had been around for 11 years before they broke through with this song. It was their first single for Motown Records, which signed the group in 1963 after they had been touring and recording on smaller labels for a decade. The investment paid off for Motown, and The Four Tops became one of the most successful and enduring acts on the label.

Johnny Rivers recorded the song in 1967, and his version soared to #3 on the charts.  But I still like the Four Tops version the best … perhaps just because I’m addicted to the “Motown Sound”.

Baby I Need Your Loving
Four Tops

Baby, I need your lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Although you’re never near
Your voice I often hear
Another day, ‘nother night
I long to hold you tight
‘Cause I’m so lonely

Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’

Some say it’s a sign of weakness
For a man to beg
Then weak I’d rather be
If it means having you to keep
‘Cause lately I’ve been losing sleep

Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’

Lonely nights echo your name
Oh, sometimes I wonder
Will I ever be the same?
Oh yeah! When you see me smiling
You know things have gotten worse
Any smile you might see has all been rehearsed
Darling, I can’t go on without you
This emptiness won’t let me live without you
This loneliness inside, darling
Makes me feel half alive

Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’

Songwriters: Brian Holland / Edward Holland / Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Lamont Herbert Dozier
Baby I Need Your Loving lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ 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

♫ The Happening ♫

Tonight I just thought we all needed something really upbeat, and I can’t think of a single song that is more upbeat than this one by The Supremes.

This song was written for the 1967 movie The Happening, which starred Anthony Quinn, George Maharis, Michael Parks, Robert Walker Jr., and Faye Dunaway. The film flopped, but the song went to #1 in the US, giving The Supremes their 10th chart-topper in that country.  The songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland co-wrote this with Frank DeVol, who was the musical director for the film.

So now, how ’bout I shut up and just play the song …

The Happening
The Supremes

Hey! Life, look at me, I can see the reality,
‘Cause when you shook me, took me outta my world, I woke up.
Suddenly I just woke up to The Happening.

When you find that you left the future behind.
‘Cause when you got a tender love you don’t take care of,
then you better beware of,
The Happening.

One day you’re up, when you turn around,
You find your world is tumbling down.
It happened to me and it can happen to you.

I was sure, I felt secure until love took a detour.
Yeah! Riding high on top of the world, it happened.
Suddenly it just happened,

I saw my dreams torn apart
when love walked away from my heart.
And when you lose a precious love you need to guide you
something happens inside you,
The Happening.

Now I see life for what it is.
It’s not of dreams, it’s not of bliss.
It happened to me and it can happen to you

And then it happened.
Oo, and then it happened.
Oo, and then it happened.

Is it real? Is it fake?
Is this game of life a mistake?
‘Cause when I lost the love I thought was mine for certain,
Suddenly it starts hurtin’.

I saw the light too late when that fickle finger of fate.
Yeah! It came and broke my pretty balloon,
I woke up, suddenly I just woke up, so sure,
I felt secure until love took a detour.
‘Cause when you got a tender love you don’t take care of,
then you better beware of,
The Happening.
The Happening.

Songwriters: FRANK DE VOL, EDDIE HOLLAND, BRIAN HOLLAND, LAMONT DOZIER
The Happening lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Can’t Help Myself ♫

This song was written by the successful Motown team of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland, who wrote most of The Supremes hits. The melody of this song is very similar to Where Did Our Love Go, which Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for The Supremes. According to Lamont Dozier, the title came about because he couldn’t help himself from working with the same tune.

The story behind the song …

“I stayed with my grandmother when I was a kid. She owned her own home beauty shop, and when the women would come up the walkway to get their hair done, my grandfather would be pedaling around in the garden. He was a bit of a flirt, and would say, ‘How you doin’, sugar pie? Good morning, honey bunch.’ He was one of those types of guys. My grandmother had a big bay window to the front of the house. She’d say, ‘Look at that old codger – he thinks I don’t see. I know what he’s doing.’ He was just flirting with his big smile. I’m sitting there on the porch watching this – I’m probably 11 or 12. I was like a sponge, soaking it up.

Years later, at Motown, I’m sitting at the piano. I’d take these mind trips back to my childhood, and I’m trying to see what this piano part is telling me. Sure enough, there my grandfather is, pedaling in the garden. That memory comes to my mind’s eye, and I know where the song is supposed to go. I hear him saying, ‘Good morning, sugar pie. How you doin’, honey bunch?’ That’s what started it.”

This was the first US #1 hit for The Four Tops, and it was a big one, topping the Hot 100 for two weeks and the R&B chart for an amazing nine. The group had paid their dues: they formed in 1953 and didn’t get a Motown deal until 10 years later. Their first Motown single, Baby I Need Your Loving,  did very well, but this one established them as one of the top acts in the company.

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
Four Tops

Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else
In and out my life
You come and you go
Leaving just your picture behind
And I kissed it a thousand times
When you snap your finger or wink your eye
I come a-running to you
I’m tied to your apron strings
And there’s nothing that I can do
I can’t help myself
No, I can’t help myself
Sugar pie, honey bunch
I’m weaker than a man should be
I can’t help myself
I’m a fool in love, you see
Want to tell you I don’t love you
Tell you that we’re through
And I’ve tried
But ev’ry time I see your face
I get all choked up inside
When I call your name
Girl, it starts the flame
(Burning in my heart
Tearing it all apart)
No matter how I try
My love I cannot hide
‘Cause sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I’m weak for you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else
Sugar pie, honey bunch
Do anything you ask me to
I can’t help myself
I want you and nobody else
Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC