♫ 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

♫ Dancing In The Street ♫

I hope you’re in the mood for a bit of something upbeat tonight, for I am greatly in need of what I think of as ‘happy music’, which often leads me to Motown, and tonight is no exception.

This song was written by Motown songwriters Marvin Gaye, Ivy Jo Hunter, and William “Mickey” Stevenson. It became the biggest hit and trademark song for Martha & the Vandellas.  According to the song’s co-writer Mickey Stevenson, the idea for dancing came to him while riding with Marvin Gaye through Detroit. During the summer, the city would open up fire hydrants and let the water out in the streets so they could play in the water to cool off. They appeared to be dancing in the water.  I actually remember one city I lived in as a child doing that … opening the fire hydrants on hot summer days!

Martha Reeves was the leader of the group.  Back in the early days, she was trying to get her foot in the door at Motown, but they wouldn’t even give her an audition, so she applied for and got a job as secretary.  Part of her secretarial duties was singing lyrics to new songs onto tapes so backup singers could learn the words. This led to fill-in work as a backup singer, where she impressed Motown executives with her voice.  She convinced them to hire her friends, Annette Sterling and Rosalind Ashford, and thus was born Martha and the Vandellas!  After backing up Marvin Gaye on some of his songs, Motown gave them songs to sing on their own, including the hit Heat Wave.

Martha Reeves told the story behind this song …

“Marvin Gaye had recorded ‘Dancing in the Street” when I first heard it, and he had put a real smooth vocal on there, sort of like (jazzy singing) ‘Calling all around the world, are you ready for a brand new beat baby?’ and for some reason, Marvin said, “let’s try this song on Martha.” I was in the office and they let me hear the song, but I couldn’t quite feel it that way. I had been to Rio De Janeiro, I had travelled to New Orleans during Carnival time, so I just knew it had to be somewhere about dancing in the street. I said, ‘Can I sing it the way that I feel it?’ And they said, ‘Go ahead.’

So, I sang it (singing on the beat) ‘calling all around the world are you ready for a brand-new beat,’ and, they loved it. There was all kinds of congratulatory hand slaps and ‘hey man, we got a hit in that window up there,’ and the engineer, Lawrence Horn, looked and said, ‘I didn’t turn the machine on.’

I had to sing it again. So, the second time I sang it, there’s a little bit of anger there because I had to repeat it. It was a straight performance and that’s why it sounds live. I think that’s the secret of the success of the hit – the fact that I had to do it again, and I did it without a mistake or without any interruption, and the feeling was just right on that song.”

The song took on a different meaning when riots in inner-city America led to many young black demonstrators citing the song as a civil rights anthem to social change which also led to some radio stations taking the song off its play list because certain black advocates such as H. Rap Brown began playing the song while organizing demonstrations.

The British press aggravated Reeves one time when someone put a microphone in her face and asked her if she was a militant leader. The British journalist wanted to know if Reeves agreed, as many people had claimed, that Dancing in the Street was a call to riot. To Reeves, the query was patently absurd. ‘My Lord, it was a party song,’ she remarked.

Like many a Motown hit, this song has been covered by many, including The Mamas and The Papas, Val Halen, Grateful Dead, David Bowie & Mick Jagger as a duet, and many more.  But to me, Martha and the Vandellas own this one.

Dancing in the Street
Martha and the Vandellas

Calling out around the world,
Are you ready for a brand new beat?
Summer’s here and the time is right
For dancing in the street.
They’re dancing in Chicago,
Down in New Orleans,
In New York City.

All we need is music, sweet music.
There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing,
Dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear,
Just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl.
Everywhere around the world
They’ll be dancing.
They’re dancing in the street.

It’s an invitation across the nation,
A chance for folks to meet.
There’ll be laughing, singing, and music swinging,
Dancing in the street.
Philadelphia, P.A.
Baltimore and D.C. now.
Can’t forget the Motor City.

All we need is music, sweet music.
There’ll be music everywhere.
There’ll be swinging and swaying and records playing,
Dancing in the street.
Oh, it doesn’t matter what you wear,
Just as long as you are there.
So come on, every guy, grab a girl.
Everywhere around the world
They’re dancing.
They’re dancing in the street.

Way down in L.A. ev’ry day,
They’re dancing in the street.
(Dancing in the street.)
Let’s form a big, strong line, get in time,
We’re dancing in the street.
(Dancing in the street.)
Across the ocean blue, me and you,
We’re dancing in the street.

Songwriters: Marvin Gaye / William Stevenson / Ivy Hunter
Dancing in the Street lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Carlin America 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

♫ 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

♫ Say You, Say Me ♫

Lionel Richie … ahhh … need I say more?

This song was both written and recorded by Lionel Richie for the film White Nights in 1985.

Motown refused to let Atlantic Records include this on the movie’s soundtrack album because they didn’t want Richie’s first release since his 1983’s Can’t Slow Down to be from a different label. Richie included the song on his next album, Dancing On The Ceiling (he was going to call it Say You, Say Me, but too much time passed between the single going to #1 in 1985 and the album’s release in 1986).

Say You, Say Me

Lionel Richie

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

I had a dream,
I had an awesome dream
People in the park
Playing games in the dark
And what they played
Was a masquerade
And from behind the walls of doubt
A voice was crying out

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

As we go down
Life’s lonesome highway
Seems the hardest thing to do
Is to find a friend or two
That helping hand
Someone who understands
That when you feel you lost your way
You’ve got someone there to say,
I’ll show you

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

So you think you know the answers, oh no
Well the whole world’s got you dancing
That’s right, I’m telling you
It’s time to start believing, oh yes
Believing who you are, you are a shining star

Say you, say me
Say it for always, that’s the way it should be
Say you, say me
Say it together, naturally

Say it together, naturallyWriter/s: Lionel Richie
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

♫ 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

♫ Rhythm Of The Night ♫

This was the first of songwriter Diane Warren’s many Top 10 hits that she wrote entirely herself, and was the biggest hit for the family group DeBarge.

By 1985, DeBarge had become pop/R&B sensations with mostly ballads making the repertoire of their hit catalog though they were as impressive as live performers with their mixture of their trademark soft ballads and a collection of dance material. Motown Records sought to produce DeBarge with a dance single to give them a bigger crossover success that mirrored that of label-mate Lionel Richie, who like DeBarge, had created his initial fan base on soft songs before the release of All Night Long, which included a catchy dance beat influenced by calypso. A similar influence would come in the production of Rhythm of the Night which featured more of El DeBarge’s deep tenor with flashes of his trademark falsetto. Richard Perry, the hit producer behind hit recordings for The Pointer Sisters, Harry Nilsson, and Carly Simon, among others, was appointed to produce the single with Diane Warren as its writer.

Rhythm of the Night
DeBarge

When it feels like the world is on your shoulders
And all of the madness has got you going crazy
It’s time to get out step out into the street
Where all of the action is right there at your feet

Well I know a place where we can dance the whole night away
Underneath electric stars
Just come with me and we can shake your blues right away
You’ll be doing fine once the music starts

Oh, to the beat of the rhythm of the night
Dance until the morning light
Forget about the worries on your mind
You can leave them all behind
To the beat of the rhythm of the night
Oh the rhythm of the night, oh yeah

Look out on the street now the party’s just beginning
The music’s playing a celebration’s starting
Under the street lights the scene is being set
A night for romance a night you won’t forget

So come join the fun this ain’t no time to be staying home
Oh there’s too much going on
Tonight is gonna be a night like you’ve never known
We’re gonna have a good time the whole night long

Oh, to the beat of the rhythm of the night
Dance until the morning light
Forget about the worries on your mind
You can leave them all behind
To the beat of the rhythm of the night
Oh the rhythm of the night, oh

Come join the fun this ain’t no time to be staying home
Ooh there’s too much going on, oh
Tonight is gonna be a night like you’ve never known
We’re gonna have a good time the whole night long, oh

To the beat of the rhythm of the night
Dance until the morning light
Forget about the worries on your mind
You can leave them all behind

To the beat of the rhythm of the night
Dance until the morning light
Forget about the worries on your mind

Oh, to the beat of the rhythm of the night
Forget about the worries on your mind
To the beat of the rhythm of the night
Forget about the worries on your mind
La la la la, la la la la la la
La la la la, la la la la la la
The music’s playin’, it’s a celebration
The music’s playin’, everybody dance
To the beat of the rhythm of the night
Forget about the worries on your mind (you can leave them all behind)
To the beat of the rhythm of the night (dance until the morning light)
Forget about the worries on your mind (you can leave them all behind)
To the beat of the rhythm of the night (oh, oh, oh, oh)

Songwriters: Diane Warren
Rhythm of the Night lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group