♫ 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

♫ Bernadette ♫

Tonight it’s back to that unbeatable Motown sound and The Four Tops.  Bernadette is another written by the team of Holland–Dozier–Holland.  Was there really a girl named Bernadette, you ask?  Yes, in fact three of them, I am told.

According to Lamont Dozier …

“There were three Bernadettes, and they were all different girls. We sorta kept that to ourselves that we all had our own Bernadette. We always said, we’d never bring a girlfriend’s name into the songs. We had this hidden thing when the name came up, so we didn’t say anything. So at least two of us were thinking about the Bernadettes we knew.”

In Dozier’s case, “Bernadette” was inspired by his unrequited love for a girl when he was 12; a “beautiful Italian girl with eyes for somebody else.”

And now I bring you … Bernadette

Bernadette
Four Tops

Bernadette, people are searchin’ for the kind of love that we possess
Some go on searchin’ their whole life through
And never find the love I’ve found in you
And when I speak of you I see envy in other men’s eyes
And I’m well aware of what’s on their minds
They pretend to be my friend

When all the time they long to persuade you from my side
They’d give the world and all they own for just one moment we have known

Bernadette, they want you because of the pride that gives
But Bernadette, I want you because I need you to live
But while I live only to hold you some other men
They long to control you
But how can they control you Bernadette
When they can not control themselves, Bernadette
From wanting you, needing you
But darling, you belong to me

I’ll tell the world you belong to me
I’ll tell the world, you’re the soul of me
I’ll tell the world you’re a part of me

In your arms I find the kind of peace of mind the world is searching for
But you, you give me the joy this heart of mine has always been longing for
In you I have what other men long for
All men need someone to worship and adore
That’s why I treasure you and place you high above
For the only joy in life is to be loved
So whatever you do
Bernadette, keep on loving me, Bernadette, keep on needing me Bernadette

You’re the soul of me
On that dream, you’re a ? to me
And Bernadette, you mean more to me
Than a woman was ever meant to be

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
Bernadette 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

♫ Reach Out I’ll Be There ♫

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