♫ 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

♫ Easy ♫

It was almost too easy.  In a back-and-forth comment, Padre Steve mentioned something called “Sirius Radio 70s on 7”.  Now, I vaguely remembered hearing of Sirius Radio, but really had no idea what it was, or how it worked.  But, I decided to check into it, and I’m so glad I did.  It’s so easy that even I could figure it out, and while there are hundreds of different decades and genre combinations to choose from, I decided to stick, for my first foray into the unknown, with Padre’s recommendation.  Wow … better than my ipod playlist, more variety!  And best of all … it’s FREE! The third song I heard was one by the Commodores … surely I must have already played that one, right?  A trip to the archives, check, double-check … nope … I can’t believe I haven’t already played this one.  Almost too Easy!

Commodores lead singer Lionel Richie wrote this song, which became a crossover hit for the band, bringing them into pop and adult contemporary territory when they were previously pure funk.

The guitar solo, played by group founder Thomas McClary, was tricky business.

“When you have lyrics in a song that say, ‘Why in the world would anybody put chains on me? I’ve paid my dues to make it,’ you have to match the intensity of those lyrics to a sound and a feel that musically portrays the same intensity and the same context of what you’re saying. A lot of ballads, the song would just end, but we wanted the guitar solo to take it to another level of intensity. So that was basically the inspiration behind it.”

I never knew, until tonight, how the Commodores got their name.  The seven original members each had a name they liked, so they agreed to throw a dictionary in the air and blind-pick a word on the page it landed on. That word was “Commodore,” which was a ranking in the United States Navy that is no longer used. They came very close to being “The Commodes.”

Easy
Commodores

Know it sounds funny
But, I just can’t stand the pain
Girl, I’m leaving you tomorrow
Seems to me girl
You know I’ve done all I can
You see I begged, stole, and I borrowed! (yeah)

Ooh that’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning!

Why in the world would anybody put chains on me?
I’ve paid my dues to make it
Everybody wants me to be
What they want me to be
I’m not happy when I try to fake it! no!

Ooh that’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning!

I wanna be high, so high
I wanna be free to know
The things I do are right
I wanna be free
Just me! Whoa, oh! Babe!

That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning, yeah
That’s why I’m easy
I’m easy like Sunday morning, whoa
‘Cause I’m easy
Easy like Sunday morning, yeah
‘Cause I’m easy
Easy like Sunday morning

Songwriters: Lionel Richie
Easy lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Second That Emotion ♫

Just one more Motown and then I’ll switch to something else, I promise!  This one was sort of a request after I played My Girl on Saturday night, and since after hearing it mentioned it has been bouncing about in my head, I figured I needed to exorcise it from my mind, and at the same time, give our friend David something to tap his toes to!

As Robinson recalls in his 1989 autobiography, he and Motown producer Al Cleveland went to a Detroit department store called Hudson’s to do Christmas shopping in December 1967. Smokey’s wife, Claudette, had recently given birth to twins that didn’t survive the premature birth, and he was looking to get her a gift.

As Robinson recalls in his 1989 autobiography, he and Cleveland went to a Detroit department store called Hudson’s to do Christmas shopping in December 1967. Smokey’s wife, Claudette, had recently given birth to twins that didn’t survive the premature birth, and he was looking to get her a gift.

This was the first Top 10 hit for the group after their 1967 name change from The Miracles. Robinson and Cleveland teamed up to write several more hits for the group, including Special Occasion (#26 US, 1968), Yester Love (#31 US, 1968), and Baby, Baby Don’t Cry (#8 US, 1969).

I Second That Emotion
The Miracles

Maybe you’ll wanna give me kisses sweet
But only for one night with no repeat.
And maybe you’ll go away and never call,
And a taste of honey is worse that none at all.
Oh little girl!

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.

So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.
Maybe you’ll think that love will tie you down
And you don’t have the time to hang around.
Or maybe you’ll think that love will make us fools,
And so it makes you wise to break the rules.
Oh little girl!

In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.

So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.
In that case I don’t want nobody
I do believe that that would only break my heart
Oh, but if you feel like lovin’ me
If you got the notion,
I second that emotion.
So, if you feel like giving me a lifetime of devotion
I second that emotion.

Songwriters: Alfred Cleveland / William Robinson Jr.
I Second That Emotion 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.

♫ Nightshift ♫

This song, released in 1985, is a tribute to singers Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson, who both died in 1984. Gaye was a Motown star known for love songs like Let’s Get It On and Sexual Healing. Wilson was an R&B singer known for his stirring performances and hits like Lonely Teardrops. Wilson was 49 when he died; Gaye was 44. Both are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The songwriter Franne Golde was brought in to help with the lyrics. She had recently seen the 1982 movie Night Shift (starring Henry Winkler and Michael Keaton; directed by Ron Howard), which gave her the idea for the title.  This is the Commodores’ only hit since Lionel Richie left the band in 1982. J.D. Nicholas, a former backup singer for Diana Ross, was brought in to replace Richie.  When this song was performed on Motown Returns to the Apollo in the early ’80s, more verses were added to honor other Motown legends who had passed on.

Nightshift
Commodores

Marvin, he was a friend of mine
And he could sing a song
His heart in every line
Marvin sang of the joy and pain
He opened up our minds
And I still can hear him say
Aw talk to me so you can see
What’s going on
Say you will sing your songs
Forevermore (evermore)

Gonna be some sweet sounds
Coming down on the nightshift
I bet you’re singing proud
Oh I bet you’ll pull a crowd
Gonna be a long night
It’s gonna be all right
On the nightshift
Oh you found another home
I know you’re not alone
On the nightshift

You found another home
I know you’re not alone
On the nightshift

Jackie (Jackie), hey what’you doing now
It seems like yesterday
When we were working out
Jackie (Jackie, oh) you set
The world on fire
You came and gifted us
Your love it lifted us
Higher and higher
Keep it up and
We’ll be there
At your side
Oh say you will sing
Your songs forevermore (evermore)

Gonna be some sweet sounds
Coming down on the nightshift
I bet you’re singing proud
Oh I bet you’ll pull a crowd
Gonna be a long night
It’s gonna be all right
On the nightshift
Oh you found another home
I know you’re not alone
On the nightshift

Gonna be some sweet sounds
Coming down on the nightshift
I bet you’re singing proud
Oh I bet you’ll pull a crowd
Gonna be a long night
It’s gonna be all right
On the nightshift
Oh you found another home
I know you’re not alone
On the nightshift

Gonna miss your sweet voice
That soulful voice
On the nightshift
We all remember you
Ooh the songs are coming through
At the end of a long day
It’s gonna be okay
On the nightshift
You found another home
I know you’re not alone
On the nightshift

Songwriters: Franne Golde / Dennis Lambert / Walter Orange
Nightshift – Single Version lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Reservoir Media Management Inc, BMG Rights Management

♫ Hello ♫

With a bit of angst … quite a bit, actually … to work off tonight, I sought out my old friend Lionel Richie and asked if he could help bring a bit of a smile to my tired ol’ face.  In my mind, at least, he said, “Sure thing, honey pie … name your pleasure!”  Sigh.

So anyway, I settled on this song, double-checked to make sure I hadn’t played it before, and found, much to my chagrin, that I played it last October.  Now, typically I would go in search of another song, but I had my little heart set on this one, and I’m too tired to start over, so … if you are bothered by my repetitiveness … put your headphones on and listen anyway … just this once, okay?

Tonight’s selection, Hello, was Lionel’s second #1 song after leaving the Commodores and going solo (Truly, which I almost played tonight, was his first).  The album that features tonight’s song, Can’t Slow Down, won the 1984 Grammy for Album of the Year, and is the biggest-selling album in the history of Motown Records.

When you think of Motown, you probably think of Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson and The Temptations, but Lionel Richie was also one of their biggest stars, and Hello was one of their biggest hits, especially in Britain. It was Motown’s first ever UK million selling single.

The song was promoted with a much derided video which included dialogue. Lionel Richie plays a teacher, Mr. Reynolds, who falls in love with a blind pottery student, Laura. When he looks in at her class, he finds that she has made a perfect clay model of his head. During the making of the video, Richie protested to the director Bob Giraldi that the story about the blind woman had no relationship to the song. Giraldi replied to him, “You’re not creating the story, I am.” The video was voted the worst music video of all time (don’t worry — I’m not playing that one!) in a poll of 8,000 music fans by UK TV music channel The Box, but Giraldi, who also directed Michael Jackson’s Beat It, stands by it. He’s quoted in the book I Want My MTV as saying, “I came up with the idea of a blind girl and Lionel as a teacher. ‘Hello’ is one of the top videos ever.” Giraldi adds that Richie was concerned that the bust didn’t look like him, until Giraldi pointed out that the girl making it was supposed to be blind.

Hello
Lionel Richie

I’ve been alone with you inside my mind
And in my dreams I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times
I sometimes see you pass outside my door
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?

I can see it in your eyes
I can see it in your smile
You’re all I’ve ever wanted, and my arms are open wide
‘Cause you know just what to say
And you know just what to do
And I want to tell you so much, I love you

I long to see the sunlight in your hair
And tell you time and time again how much I care
Sometimes I feel my heart will overflow
Hello, I’ve just got to let you know

‘Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying, I love you

Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
‘Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely, or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven’t got a clue
But let me start by saying I love you

Songwriters: Lionel Richie / Eddy Marnay
Hello lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ 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

♫ Never Can Say Goodbye ♫

Never Can Say Goodbye is a song written by Clifton Davis and originally recorded by The Jackson 5. The song was originally written and intended for the Supremes; however Motown decided it would be better for the Jackson 5. It was the first single released from the group’s 1971 album Maybe Tomorrow, and was one of the group’s most successful records. It has been covered numerous times, most notably in 1974 by Gloria Gaynor and in 1987 by British pop group The Communards.

The recording features 12-year-old Michael Jackson singing a serious song about a love, with accompaniment from his brothers. Although such a record was unusual for a teenage group, Never Can Say Goodbye was a number-two hit for three consecutive weeks on the Billboard Pop Singles chart, stuck behind Three Dog Night’s Joy to the World.   The Jackson Five version only reached #33 in the UK and #14 in Canada, while the Gloria Gaynor version made it to #3 in Canada and #2 in the UK.

I offer both versions for your listening pleasure …

Oh, alright … lest I be accused of being biased toward U.S. artists, here is The Communards’ version, too …

Never Can Say Goodbye
The Jackson 5/Gloria Gaynor/The Communards

I never can say goodbye, no, no, no, no, now
Never can say goodbye

Even though the pain and heartache
Seem to follow me wherever I go
Though I try and try to hide my feelings
They always seem to show,

Then you try to say you’re leaving me
And I always have to say no
Tell me why is it so

That I never can say goodbye, no, no, no, no, now
Never can say goodbye

Every time I think I’ve had enough
And start heading for the door
There’s a very strange vibration
Piercing me right through the core
It says, turn around, you fool
You know you love him more and more
Tell me why is it so

Don’t wanna let you go
I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh baby (don’t wanna let you go girl)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no
Ooh, oh I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh ooh (don’t wanna let you go girl)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no, ooh

Never can say goodbye, no, no, no, no, now
Never can say goodbye

I keep thinking that our problems
Soon are all gonna work out
But there’s that same unhappy feeling
There’s that anguish, there’s that doubt
It’s the same old dizzy hangup
Can’t do with you or without
Tell me why is it so
Don’t wanna let you go

I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh baby (hey baby)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no
Ooh, oh I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh oh (hey baby)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no, ooh
I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh ooh baby (hey baby)
I never can say goodbye, no no no, no no no
Ooh, oh I never can say goodbye girl
Ooh oh (hey baby)

Songwriters: Clifton Davis
Never Can Say Goodbye lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Will Survive ♫

This song has become known as a “female empowerment” song, and most often it is associated with the break-up of two lovers.  But …

Dino Fekaris, the song’s lyricist, was a staff writer for Motown until he was fired.  Says Fekaris, of the inspiration for this song …

“They let me go after almost seven years. I was an unemployed songwriter contemplating my fate. I turned the TV on, and there it was: a song I had written for a movie theme titled Generation was playing right then (the song was performed by Rare Earth). I took that as an omen that things were going to work out for me. I remember jumping up and down on the bed saying, ‘I’m going to make it. I’m going to be a songwriter. I will survive!”

Freddie Perren was another former Motown songwriter, and he & Fekaris paired up on this song, and went on to form their own production duo and scored big with Peaches & Herb, taking Reunited to #1.

Gaynor sees this song as just a simple song about survival, regardless of what you have to overcome.

“I love the empowering effect, I love the encouraging effect. It’s a timeless lyric that addresses a timeless concern.”

I Will Survive
Gloria Gaynor

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And so you’re back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key
If I’d known for just one second you’d be back to bother me
Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive, hey, hey

It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh-so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high and you see me
Somebody new
I’m not that chained-up little person and still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in and just expect me to be free
Well, now I’m saving all my lovin’ for someone who’s loving me
Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive

Oh
Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
And I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive
I will survive

Songwriters: Dino Fekaris / Frederick J. Perren
I Will Survive lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group