♫ For Once In My Life ♫ (Redux)

I started working on a post for a song by Paul Simon, an interesting song with an interesting background, but suddenly at 3:00 a.m., my body and mind both just began shutting down and I found I wasn’t understanding a single thing I was reading and at some point I even asked myself, “Who is Paul Simon?”  So, I quickly decided to switch gears and save that one for tomorrow night, find a great song to redux, and take my old worn-out body to bed!  Sorry, my friends, but there is just only so much of me.

Written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records’ Stein & Van Stock publishing company, the song was first recorded in 1965 by Barbara McNair, but was first released the following year by Jean DuShon.  Other early versions of the ballad were issued by The Four Tops, The Temptations, Diana Ross and Tony Bennett, whose recording was the first to reach the pop charts.  And then came Stevie …

All versions of the song to this point were long, drawn-out ballads. Stevie Wonder was the first to pick up the tempo and use a joyful arrangement. Wonder’s version, however, sat in the Motown vaults for nearly a year before being released in 1968.  Why?  Because Berry Gordy did not like Stevie’s version.  Gordy vetoed the single’s release, and the recording was shelved. Billie Jean Brown, the head of the Motown Quality Control department, finally coerced Gordy into allowing Wonder’s version to be released in October 1968.

Stevie’s version became the hit record and definitive version of the song, the one most people think of first.

For Once in My Life
Stevie Wonder

For once in my life
I have someone who needs me
Someone I have needed so long
For once unafraid
I can go where life leads me
And somehow I know I’ll be strong

For once I can touch
What my heart used to dream of
Long before I knew
Someone warm like you
Would make my dreams come true

For once in my life
I won’t let sorrow hurt me
Not like it’s hurt me before
For once I have something
I know won’t desert me
I’m not alone anymore

For once I can say
“This is mine, you can’t take it”
Long as I know I have love
I can make it
For once in my life
I have someone who needs me

For once I can say
“This is mine, you can’t take it”
As long as I know I have love
I can make it
For once in my life
I have someone
Someone who needs me

Songwriters: Miller Ronald Norman / MURDEN ORLANDO
For Once in My Life lyrics © Jobete Music Co. Inc., Stone Diamond Music Corp., Ipanema Music, Corcovado Music Corporation, Emi Music Publishing France, Tunecore Publishing, JOBETE MUSIC CO INC, REACH MUSIC PUBLISHING-DIGITAL OBO BELLBOTTOMS AND BEER MUSI, EMI MILLER CATALOG INC, UNIVERSAL-MCA MUSIC PUBLIS OBO UNIVERSAL – MCA MUSIC PUBL.,, VM ENTERPRISES, INC., SADAIC LATIN COPYRIGHTS OBO SACVEN VENEZUELA, STONE DIAMOND MUSIC CORP

♫ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough ♫

Since today is Juneteenth, and a special celebration since it is now officially a federal holiday, I thought it only appropriate to play some Motown — in my book some of the best music produced in the U.S.!  Of course, since I feature Motown songs and artists pretty often in these posts, I’ve already played most of my favourites at one point or another … some of them twice.  This one I’ve played only once, two years ago in 2019, so it will be new to many of you.   And Happy Juneteenth!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ You’re All I Need To Get By ♫

There are days … nights … when only Motown will do.  Those nights seem more and more frequent for me of late.

Released in 1968, this was one of the last songs Marvin Gaye recorded with his ailing duet partner Tammi Terrell, (who would die of a brain tumor in 1970).  Like most of their collaborations, it was written by the songwriting team Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.  Marvin and Tammi recorded the song at Hitsville. Ashford & Simpson later stated how the session was hard as Terrell was recovering from surgery on the malignant brain tumor that ultimately caused her death.

During moments in the recording, Gaye can be heard encouraging Terrell to sing her verses, ad-libbing come on Tammi several times. A year later, Gaye was performing this song with Stax vocalist Carla Thomas at the Apollo Theater, when Terrell, who was seated in the front row in her wheelchair, began singing along, prompting Gaye to leave the stage and sing the song with Terrell, who was offered a microphone. It was Terrell’s final performance before her death in March 1970. The song was played during Terrell’s funeral while Gaye gave a brief, tearful eulogy.  Awwww shoot … speaking of tears …

This song hit #7 in the U.S. and #19 in the UK where it stayed for 19 weeks.

You’re All I Need to Get By
Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

You’re all I need to get by.
Like the sweet morning dew, I took one look at you,
And it was plain to see,
You were my destiny.
With my arms open wide,
I threw away my pride
I’ll sacrifice for you
Dedicate my life for you

I will go where you lead
Always there in time of need
And when I lose my will
You’ll be there to push me up the hill

There’s no, no looking back for us
We got love sure ‘nough, that’s enough
You’re all, You’re All I need to get by.
I all, you’re all I want to strive for and do a little more
All, all the joys under the sun wrapped up into one
You’re all, You’re all I need to get by.

You’re all I need to get by.
Like an eagle protects his nest, for you I’ll do my best,
Stand by you like a tree, dare anybody to try and move me
Darling in you I found
Strength where I was torn down
Don’t know what’s in store but together we can open any door

Just to do what’s good for you and inspire you a little higher
I know you can make a man out of a soul that didn’t have a goal
Cause we, we got the right foundation and with love and determination
You’re all, You’re All I need to get by.

I all, you’re all I want to strive for and do a little more
All, all the joys under the sun wrapped up into one
You’re all, You’re all I need to get by.

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Ashford Nickolas / Simpson Valerie
You’re All I Need to Get By lyrics © Universal Music – Careers, Ramecca Publishing, Inc., Wu Tang Publishing, Inc.

♫ Back In My Arms Again ♫

It’s been a while, I think, since I played any Supremes’ songs and tonight I was in the mood for their upbeat style, so I went in search of (and found) one that I haven’t played here before!

This was The Supremes’ fifth consecutive #1 hit in the US.  It was, as most of The Supremes’ music was, written by the songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland, known collectively as Holland-Dozier-Holland.  I did not know this, but The Supremes were the most commercially successful of Motown’s acts and the most successful American vocal group, with 12 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100, all but one written by Holland-Dozier-Holland.

This was released in 1965 at a time when the friendship between the three — Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard — was becoming strained, as Mary and Florence became frustrated that Diana Ross was becoming the main focus of the group.  Perhaps as an appeasement, Mary and Florence’s names are mentioned in the third verse …

How can Mary tell me what to do
When she lost her love so true?
And Flo, she don’t know
‘Cause the boy she loves is a romeo

The song went to #1 in the U.S. and Canada, #40 in the UK.

Back in My Arms Again
The Supremes

All day long, I hear my telephone ring
Friends calling giving their advice
From the boy I love, I should break away
‘Cause heartaches, he’ll bring one day

I lost him once through friends’ advice
But it’s not gonna happen twice
‘Cause all advice ever gotten me
Was really long and sleepless nights
(Oooooh!)

But now, he’s back in my arms again
Right by my side
I got him back in my arms again
So satisfied
(Oooooh!)

It’s easy for friends to say let him go
But I’m the one who needs him so
It’s his love that makes me strong
Without him, I can’t go on

This time, I’ll live my life at ease
Being happy loving whom I please
And each time we make romance,
I’ll be thankful for a second chance
(Oooooh!)

‘Cause he’s back in my arms again
Right by my side
I got him back in my arms again
So satisfied
(Oooooh!)

How can Mary tell me what to do
When she lost her love so true?
And Flo, she don’t know
‘Cause the boy she loves is a Romeo

I listened once to my friends’ advice
But it’s not gonna happen twice
‘Cause all advice ever gotten me
Was really long and sleepless nights
(Oooooh!)

I got him back in my arms again
Right by my side
I got him back in my arms again
So satisfied
(Oooooh!)

I’m satisfied
So satisfied, I’m satisfied
I’m satisfied, so satisfied

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Herbert Dozier / Brian Holland
Back in My Arms Again lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ All Night Long (All Night) ♫ (Redux)

I do realize that I played this one just under a year ago, September 2020, but when I played Running with the Night a couple of nights ago, two of my music aficionados, David & Clive, mentioned this one, so I thought perhaps it is time to … play it again, Sam!  (Thanks, Keith … yes, I am still spouting Casablanca lines!)


Lionel Richie is among my top ten favourite artists, and I was amazed when earlier tonight it was brought to my attention that I hadn’t played any of his songs for a while (actually, it was just over three weeks ago when I played Endless Love, but heck, three weeks is a long time).  At any rate, since I do love Lionel, and since I haven’t yet played this one here …

Written by the man himself, this was Lionel Richie’s fourth solo single – the first being a duet with Diana Ross.  Released in 1983 on the Motown Label, co-produced with James Carmichael, it topped the Hot 100 for four weeks. The song also sold well internationally, and was performed by Richie at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Lionel said this one took him about two months to write because …

“I just couldn’t find the ending – I couldn’t find all night long to save my life. I had everything, the verses, the middle part, all the stuff. I just did not have all night long. It took me forever to find it. And finally one night, the heavens opened up and came through.”

As for the origin of the song, he says he got the vibe for this song from his vacations in the Caribbean …

“I’m one of those guys that – I don’t look for something new. I look for what people do everyday. And I noticed that, anytime I would come on vacation, everybody who can rap is on vacation doing a calypso dance. Everybody who’s singing Opera, they conform to some form of calypso or some form of reggae. So when I went back to do ‘All Night Long’ it was very simple. All I had to do was find that beat that everybody dances to when they go on vacation.”

There is a very multicultural vibe to this song, as Richie mentions joyful words in different languages. “Karamu” is a Swahili word for a party accompanied by a feast; “Liming” is a Caribbean term for getting together, and “Fiesta” is Spanish for party.  Richie explains the lyric “Tambo liteh sette mo-jah! Yo! Jambo jambo” …

“I called the UN and said ‘I need something African for the breakdown in this song I’m writing.’ They informed me that there are thousands of different African dialects. I couldn’t believe it. One region doesn’t have any idea what the other is taking about. So, ‘Tambo liteh sette mo-jah!’? I made it up on the spot. Now I think that ‘Jambo’ might have a meaning in Swahili, but you gotta be careful because it might mean ‘welcome’ in one dialect and you might get your head cut off for saying it in another.”

A young Richard Marx, before he found fame with his own hits such as Right Here Waiting, supplied backing vocals on this track. He said the “jambo” section was a moving target …

“It kept changing. He kept getting different notes from people saying, ‘That’s actually not what that means. Change this vowel.’ So, we had to do it a couple of times on different days.”

Lionel Richie was an early mentor to Richard Marx, who also lent his vocals to several of Richie’s other recordings, including Running With The Night and You Are. Said Marx …

“Working with him in the studio was always just fun. He makes everything fun. He has got an incredible energy about him – positive energy. I can’t say enough about him.”

This song became an anthem for the Iraqi people during the 2003 invasion. Richie told Q magazine July 2009: “Recently I met the commander of the 190 Brigade. He said his troops put speakers on their Humvees and played ‘Dancing On The Ceiling.’ they arrived to hear ‘All Night Long.’ The fall of Baghdad was played out to my songs, which is a bit frightening.”

This was the first Lionel Richie video to make an impact on MTV.

“When MTV started, it wanted nothing to do with black artists.  But then I gave them ‘All Night Long’ after Michael (Jackson) had broken down the door. And from then on I was on MTV.”

All Night Long (All Night)
Lionel Richie

Da Da, ooooh
Well, my friends, the time has come
To raise the roof and have some fun
Throw away the work to be done
Let the music play on (play on, play on, play on…)
Everybody sing, everybody dance
Lose yourself in wild romance
We’re going to Party, Karamu, Fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along!
We’re going to Party, Karamu, Fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along!

All night long (all night), All night (all night)
All night long (all night), All night (all night)
All night long (all night), All night (all night)
All night long! (all night), Ooh, yeah (all night)

People dancing all in the street
See the rhythm all in their feet
Life is good, wild and sweet
Let the music play on…(Play on, play on, play on…)
Feel it in your heart and feel it in your soul
Let the music take control
We’re going to Party, Liming, Fiesta, forever
Come on and sing along
We’re going to Party, Liming, Fiesta, forever
Come on and sing my song!

All night long (all night), oooh, (all night)
All night long (all night), yeaz, (all night)
All night long (all night), yeah, (all night)
All night long (all night)…(all night)

Yeah, once you get started you can’t sit down
Come join the fun, it’s a merry-go-round
Everyone’s dancing their troubles away
Come join our party, See how we play!

Come on! Come on!
Everybody dance like Jimmy
Come on!

Tam bo li de say de moi ya
Hey Jambo Jumbo
Way to parti o we goin’
Oh, jambali
Tam bo li de say de moi ya
Yeah, Jambo, jumbo

Oh, O, O, O, yes
We’re going to have a party! (Yeah… ugh)

All night long (all night), All night, (all night)
All night long (all night), All night, (all night)
All night long (all night), All night, (all night)
All night long (all night)…

Everyone you meet (all night)
They’re jamming in the street (all night)
All night long! (All night)

Everyone you meet (all night)
They’re jamming in the street (all night)
All night long! (All night)

Everybody come on!
Feel good! Feel good!
Come on!

Come on!

Sing about here, everybody!

All night long (all night), All night, (all night)
All night long (all night), All night, (all night)
Come on now
All night long (all night), All night, (all night)

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Lionel B., Jr. Richie
All Night Long (All Night) lyrics © Almo Music Corp., Larry Spier Music Llc, Brockman Music, Brenda Richie Publishing, Almo Music Corporation, Personal Music, Almo Music Corp. O/b/o Nuages Artists Music Ltd., Glenwood Music Corp, Emi U Catalog Inc, Brockman Music % Provident Financial Mgt, Nuages Music Ltd

♫ Running With The Night ♫ (Redux)

I’m in the mood for some Lionel Richie tonight … what do you say?

Richie co-wrote this with the lyricist Cynthia Weil, and co-produced it with James Anthony Carmichael. The electric guitar solo was played by Steve Lukather, best known as a member of the rock band Toto. Lukather sat down in the studio and the engineer played the basic tracks of the song, for him to hear for the first time, so he could plan his part. As the music played, he jammed along on his instrument. At the conclusion of the tune, he said to the engineer, “Okay, I’m ready for a take.” The producer replied, “That was a take.”  Some adult contemporary stations edited out Lukather’s guitar solo “to make the song less rock-sounding.”  That makes no sense to me, but what do I know?

When a young Richard Marx moved from Chicago to Los Angeles and was amassing rejection letters for his demos, Lionel Richie gave him a shot, and had him sing backup on this track. Before he hit it big as a solo artist, Marx lent his vocals to several other Richie recordings, including All Night Long.

This charted at #1 in the U.S., #9 in the UK, and #12 in Canada.

Running With the Night
Lionel Richie

The heart of the city street was beating
Light from the neons turned the dark to day
We were too hot to think of sleeping
We had to get out before the magic got away

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I, till the morning light
(We were running, running with the night) oh

You were looking so good girl, heads were turning
You and me on the town, ooh, we let it all hang out
The fire was in us, we were burning
We were gonna go all the way and we never had a doubt

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I, till the morning light
(We were running, running with the night) oh

We were so in love, you and me
On the boulevard wild and free
Giving all we got, we laid it down
Taking every shot, we took the town

We were running with the night
Playing in the shadows
Just you and I and it was so right
Girl, it was so right

Songwriters: Cynthia Weil / Lionel Richie
Running With the Night lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

♫ I Heard It Through The Grapevine ♫

Marvin Gaye.  Motown.  Sigh … they just don’t make it like that anymore, my friends.  In some ways, this is a redux, for I did play it here three years ago, but I have added some trivia and two additional versions (Glady’s Knight and the Pips, and Smokey Robinson) to the post.

This song was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966.  Strong first came up with the idea and asked the famous Motown songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland to work on it with them, but the team refused to credit another writer (egos, egos everywhere), so Whitfield and Strong it was.

The first recording of the song to be released was produced by Whitfield for Gladys Knight & the Pips and released as a single in September 1967 when it went to number two in the Billboard chart.  Smokey Robinson and the Miracles were the first to record the song, but theirs wouldn’t be released until years later on an album called Special Occasion. The Isley Brothers then took a crack at it, but their version wasn’t released. Whitfield and Strong then had Marvin Gaye record the song but still no luck: Motown head Berry Gordy chose Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Your Unchanging Love over Grapevine as his next single. Finally, a new Motown act Gladys Knight and the Pips recorded the song as a gospel rocker. Their version was a hit, entering the Top 40 in November 1967 and going to #2 in the U.S.

The Marvin Gaye version was placed on his 1968 album In the Groove, where it gained the attention of radio disc jockeys, and Motown founder Berry Gordy finally agreed to its release as a single in October 1968, when it went to the top of the Billboard Pop Singles chart for seven weeks from December 1968 to January 1969 and became for a time the biggest hit single on the Motown label.

Mavin Gaye’s version is, and will likely always be, my favourite, but Gladys Knight and Smokey Robinson certainly deserve honourable mention, so I have included them here.

I Heard It Through the Grapevine
Marvin Gaye

Ooh, I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew
‘Bout your plans to make me blue
With some other guy you knew before
Between the two of us guys you know I love you more
It took me by surprise I must say
When I found out yesterday
Don’tcha know that I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
Oh I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh)

I know a man ain’t supposed to cry
But these tears I can’t hold inside
Losin’ you would end my life you see
‘Cause you mean that much to me
You could have told me yourself
That you love someone else
Instead I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Oh I heard it through the grapevine
And I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh)

People say believe half of what you see, son
And none of what you hear
But I can’t help bein’ confused
If it’s true please tell me dear
Do you plan to let me go
For the other guy you loved before?
Don’tcha know I

Heard it through the grapevine
Not much longer would you be mine
Baby I heard it through the grapevine
Ooh I’m just about to lose my mind
Honey, honey yeah
(Heard it through the grapevine)
(Not much longer would you be my baby, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)

Honey, honey, I know
That you’re lettin’ me go
Said, I heard it through the grapevine
Heard it through the grapevine

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield
I Heard It Through the Grapevine (American Tour Live) lyrics © Stone Agate Music, Emi Music Publishing France, Jobete Music Co Inc, Stone Agate Music Corp

♫ Endless Love ♫

Tonight there is no song in my heart … and so I turn back to that which I last played 3 years ago … Lionel Richie never fails to put a song where there was none … this one is for … well, you know who you are.


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

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

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

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

Endless Love
Lionel Richie and Shania Twain

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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ Uptight (Everything’s Alright) ♫

You already know that when I need a lift, I turn to da man, Mr. Stevie Wonder.  Tonight I need a lift, and this song just conveniently popped into my head as I was unloading the dishwasher.  My feet began to tingle, needing to tap, and my head began to sway back and forth just as Stevie’s often does when he sings.  Sadly, tapping feet and a swaying head while hefting a stack of plates into the cabinet may not be the wisest thing!

I knew that Stevie had been something of a child prodigy, but I didn’t realize he had his first #1 hit at the age of only 13!  Blind since birth, Stevie has overcome all obstacles and has sold over 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has won 22 Grammy Awards. He was the first Motown artist and second African-American musician to win an Academy Award for Best Original Song, for the 1984 film The Woman in Red. Wonder has been inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame, and has received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday in the United States. In 2009, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2014, he was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  Whew!  That’s quite a list of accomplishments … no wonder he had to start young!

StevieThis song was released in 1965 when Stevie was a ripe ol’ 15 years of age, and it was the first single that Stevie co-wrote.  An accompanying album, Up-Tight (1966), was rushed into production to capitalize on the single’s success. It also garnered Wonder his first two career Grammy Award nominations for Best R&B Song and Best R&B Performance.

The single was a watershed in Wonder’s career for several reasons. Aside from the US number-one Fingertips (1963), only two of Wonder’s singles, Workout, Stevie, Workout (1963) and Hey Harmonica Man (1964) had both peaked inside of the top forty of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at #33 and #29 on that chart respectively. And despite receiving a modicum of chart success, the then 15-year-old Wonder was in danger of being let go. In addition, Wonder’s voice had begun to change, and Motown CEO Berry Gordy was worried that he would no longer be a commercially viable artist.

With the top Motown producers passing on Stevie, it was looking bleak until he started working with Sylvia Moy and Henry Cosby. Moy had Stevie play her different song ideas he had come up with, but wasn’t impressed with any of them. Pressing to make sure he didn’t have anything else, Wonder reluctantly played her something he had been working on: a ditty where he sang, “Everything is alright, uptight.” Moy likes what she heard and helped him develop the song along with Cosby. The song went to #3 in the US and from that point forward, Wonder was a regular at the top of the charts.

And now, get ready to tap your toes and sway your head, but put the dishes down first!

Uptight (Everything’s Alright)
Stevie Wonder

Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, out of sight

I’m a poor man’s son, from across the railroad tracks
Only shirt I own is hanging on my back
But I’m the envy of every single guy
Since I’m the apple of my girl’s eye
When we go out stepping on the town for a while
My money’s low and my suit’s out of style
But it’s all right if my clothes aren’t new
Out of sight because my heart is true

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, out of sight
Baby, everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight

She’s a pearl of a girl, I guess that’s what you might say
I guess her folks brought her up that way
The right side of the tracks, she was born and raised
In a great big old house, full of butlers and maids
She says no one is better than I, I know I’m just an average guy

No football hero or smooth Don Juan
Got empty pockets, you see I’m a poor man’s son
Can’t give her the things that money can’t buy
But I’ll never, never make my baby cry
And it’s all right, what I can’t do
Out of sight because my heart is true

She says, baby everything is alright, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, clean out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, hahahahaha, yeah
Baby, everything is all right, uptight, way out of sight
Baby, everything is all right, uptight-

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Wonder Stevie / Moy Sylvia Rose / Cosby Henry
Uptight (Everything’s Alright) lyrics © Black Bull Music, Stone Agate Music, Jobete Music Co. Ltd., Sawandi Music, Jobete Music Co Inc, Jobete Music Co., Inc.

♫ It’s The Same Old Song ♫

I chose this one for my final song in Black History Month.  Why?  Because I love it and as I was listening to a compilation of Motown songs in a tribute tonight, when this one came on, my feet immediately started tapping and I knew this was the one I wanted.  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