♫ Hello ♫ (Redux)

According to my records, I last played this one in September 2019, just two years ago.  I’m still reduxing this week to conserve my small amount of energy, but this one always brings a happy feeling to my heart … partly, of course, because … well, it’s Lionel!!!  And partly because it’s a beautiful song in my book.

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

♫ Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)♫

I can’t believe I haven’t already played this one, but I’m thankful that I haven’t.  It came to me this morning while performing morning chores like brushing teeth, taking meds, making the bed … and before it could scramble away as my ideas for music posts often do, I made a note in my phone so I could remember it 12 hours later when sitting down to find just that right song!

Many years before global warming became a hot topic, Marvin Gaye wrote this song about the environment and how we have an obligation to care for the Earth. For his What’s Going On album (1971), Gaye got away from love ballads and explored deeper social themes, which at first didn’t sit well with Motown boss Berry Gordy (to whose daughter Gaye was married at the time!), who thought these songs wouldn’t be marketable. The success of the title track proved otherwise, and Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) became a #1 R&B hit and soared to #4 on the Hot 100.

Gaye elaborated on this song and his spiritual quest in a 1976 interview …

“I am a student of Don Juan and Carlos Castaneda. I’ve read many books by many authors. My idea of living is, I would love to become an impeccable warrior, one who has no need for earthly things such as the wine, the women, the clothes and the diamonds, and the fine things to wear. I’d love to develop a distaste for those things and become only interested in knowledge and power that this earth will give us, if we’re only willing to put in the time and effort.

I would love to quit show-business and go after that knowledge and that power that the truly gifted sorcerer has. The power’s here, it’s in the rocks, it’s in the air, it’s in the animals. There are men of knowledge who could take these forces and elements and cause mysterious things to happen to the body, transform themselves and do many, many marvelous things. I would like to become a man of power, and I would like to use it in a good fashion.

The knowledge that we have is enough to catapult ourselves over the hurdle into super-knowledge, where we become super-beings. But at that point we always destroy ourselves. That will always happen because super-knowledge is only for the chosen few. But the few can be of a greater number, that’s why I talk about it. If only we would adhere to certain laws that Mother Nature… THAT’S THE KEY!

We appear to have reached the bottom line. And, just like Bunny says (here he’s referring to the Jamaican musician Bunny Wailer), it’s in obeying the laws of nature that this wisdom and freedom lies. Those songs aren’t written for nothing. A lot of the time, they don’t even know it as writers, but they’re just forced to put Mother Nature into the picture, like in ‘You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.'”

Marvin Gaye was shot to death by his own father while trying to break up an argument between his parents in 1984, at the age of only 44, one day short of his 45th birthday.

This song, written solely by Gaye, became regarded as one of popular music’s most poignant anthems of sorrow regarding the environment.  The song rose to #4 in the U.S. but I cannot find whether it charted in Canada or the UK.

Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)
Marvin Gaye

Here we have something for you folks, we hope
You enjoy it as we enter our social section, thank you

Woah, ah, mercy, mercy me
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Where did all the blue skies go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north and south and east

Woah mercy, mercy me, yeah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Oil wasted on the ocean and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury

Oh Jesus, yeah, mercy, mercy me, ah
Ah, things ain’t what they used to be (ain’t what they used to be)
Radiation underground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying

Hey, mercy, mercy me, oh
Hey, things ain’t what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can she stand?

Oh, na, na, na
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
Hey, ooh, woo

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gaye Marvin P

♫ 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