♫ 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

♫ Baby I Need Your Loving ♫

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

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

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

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

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

Baby I Need Your Loving
Four Tops

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

♫ Running With The Night ♫

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.

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

♫ For Once In My Life ♫

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

♫ Where Did Our Love Go ♫

Several nights ago I was planning a Supreme’s song, but got side-tracked, and now I cannot remember which one it was that I was planning for that night.  So, after a quick overview of some of their best songs, I settled tonight on this one, Where Did Our Love Go.

Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, this one was the first single by the Supremes to go to the number-one position in the U.S. in 1964.  It was also the first of five Supremes songs in a row to reach number one (the others being “Baby Love”, “Come See About Me”, “Stop! In the Name of Love”, and “Back in My Arms Again”).

According to Lamont Dozier …

“I originally cut this track with the Marvelettes in mind. In fact, I cut it in Gladys Horton’s key, the lead singer, which was much lower than Diana Ross’. At that time, at Motown, the policy was that the songwriters had to pay for the tracks we cut if it didn’t get recorded by one of their artists. It never entered my mind that the Marvelettes wouldn’t like the song. I had the chorus and went to the office to talk with Gladys and played it for her. She said, ‘Oh, honey, we don’t do stuff like that. And it’s the worst thing I ever heard.’ She was adamant about it. I was shocked.

I knew I was in deep trouble if I didn’t hurry and get someone to do the song because I wasn’t about to pay for the track. I went through the Motown artist roster and went all the way to the bottom of the list and there were the Supremes, better known in those days as the ‘no hit Supremes.’ I told them it was tailor made for them, knowing that they had nothing going on at the time and needed a song. Much to my surprise, they said no. Gladys (Horton of the Marvelettes) told them I was looking for someone to record it. I wasn’t giving up. Brian (Holland), Eddie (Holland) and I finally persuaded them to do it, convincing them that it was their saving grace and they couldn’t refuse it. We had already had Top 40 hits with Martha & the Vandellas but they hadn’t had recordings of any significance yet.

They were so annoyed that they agreed to do it that, in the studio, they had a really bad attitude. Diana (Ross) said it was in the wrong key, that it was too low. (Of course it was – I wrote it in Gladys’ key.) Since the track was already cut, she had to sing it in that key and she’d never sung that low before. It turned out that her bad attitude and the low key were exactly what the song needed! I’d worked out intricate background vocals but the girls refused to learn them. Finally I said, ‘Just sing ‘Baby, baby, baby’.’ It worked to their advantage and worked perfectly.

They didn’t necessarily agree. Diana and I were throwing obscenities back and forth and she went running to Berry (Gordy, Jr.) and told him I said something off-color about him. He came down to the studio to see what was wrong and while he was there, he asked to hear the song. He thought it was really good, but said that he didn’t know if it was a hit, but that he thought it would be Top 10.

The song was released and flew up the charts to #1. From then on, one hit followed another. It was the first of 13 consecutive #1s we did on the Supremes. The next time the Hollands and I saw the girls was at the airport. They were getting off a plane with their Yorkshire terriers, in mink stoles. We started laughing. It was so funny to see them turn into stars overnight.”

Where Did Our Love Go
The Supremes

Baby, baby, baby don’t leave me
Ooh, please don’t leave me all by myself
I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning feelin’ inside me
Ooh, deep inside me and it hurts so bad

You came into my heart (baby, baby) so tenderly
With a burning love (baby, baby)
That stings like a bee (baby, baby)
Now that I surrender (baby, baby) so helplessly
You now want to leave (baby, baby)
Ooh, you wanna leave me (baby, baby)
Ooh (baby, baby)

Baby, baby, where did our love go?
Ooh, don’t you want me?
Don’t you want me no more (baby, baby)?
Ooh, baby

Baby, baby, where did our love go?
And all your promises of a love forevermore!
I’ve got this burning, burning, yearning feelin’ inside me
Ooh, deep inside me, and it hurts so bad

Before you won my heart (baby, baby)
You were a perfect guy
But now that you got me
You wanna leave me behind (baby, baby)
Ooh, baby

Baby, baby, baby don’t leave me
Ooh, please don’t leave me all by myself (baby, baby)
Ooh baby, baby, baby

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
Where Did Our Love Go lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Just My Imagination ♫

Released in 1971, this was the last single for the Temptations with Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams in the group. Eddie started a solo career and in 1973 scored his biggest hit with Keep On Truckin’. Williams remained on salary as an advisor, but was plagued with personal problems – he was separated from his wife, owed back taxes and was being treated for alcoholism. He committed suicide in 1973 at age 34.

Motown writers Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong wrote Just My Imagination in the late ’60s, but since psychedelic songs were popular at the time, they decided to wait a few years before releasing it. Whitfield pulled it out of the mothballs after the relative failure of The Temptations’ Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World), which hit #33 in 1970 (unacceptable by their standards). Whitfield felt they needed to change direction to stay on top of the game, so he steered Temptations away from their string of socially relevant songs and had them record this airy ballad. The strategy worked, and the song rose to #1 in the U.S.

Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)
The Temptations

Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by
I say to myself you’re such a lucky guy,
To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true
out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me.
But it was Just my imagination,
once again runnin’ away with me.
It was just my imagination runnin’ away with me. Oo
Soon we’ll be married and raise a family (Oh yeah)
A cozy little home out in the country with two children maybe three.

I tell you I can visualize it all
this couldn’t be a dream for too real it all seems;
But it was Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.
Ev’ry night on my knees I pray Dear Lord, Hear my plea;
Don’t ever let another take her love from me or I would surely die.

Her love is heavenly, when her arms enfold me,
I hear a tender rhapsody; but in reality she doesn’t even know me.

Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.
no, no, no, no, no, no, no, can’t forget her
Just my imagination once again runnin’ way with me.
Tell you it was just my imagination runnin’ away with me.

Songwriters: Barrett Strong / Norman Whitfield / Norman J. Whitfield
Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC