♫ Break Up To Make Up ♫

A few days ago in a conversation with David, he mentioned in passing a song called ‘Make Up to Break Up’ and said he thought it was by The Stylistics.  It vaguely rang a bell with me, so I trotted over to Google to find it and listen.  Well, the song is actually Break Up to Make Up and David was right, it is by The Stylistics.  Now, I love the Stylistics, have played their music at least a few times here before, but I’ve never played this one, for while I don’t dislike it, it isn’t my favourite — a bit too slow for my tastes, I think.  Thus, it would have ended there and you would be seeing an entirely different song tonight, but … once I listened to it, I found it stuck in my head … even in my sleep!  Only … I kept singing it backward, as “make up to break up …”  So, if you like this one, thank David, and if you hate it, you can blame him!

Unfortunately, I don’t have much background trivia about this song, but I do have a bit of background about The Stylistics.  The Philadelphia soul group formed in 1968 and achieved their greatest success in the 1970s.  The original lineup was comprised of singers Russell Thompkins Jr., Herb Murrell, Airrion Love, James Smith, and James Dunn. All of their US hits were ballads characterized by the falsetto of Russell Thompkins Jr. and the production of Thom Bell.

In 1974, the year after Break Up to Make Up, Thom Bell stopped working with the Stylistics and the group began to struggle after that.  Their U.S. success began to wane, while their popularity in Europe, and especially the United Kingdom, increased.  Their single, Can’t Give You Anything (But My Love) went to #1 in the UK, but only reached #51 in the U.S.

In 1980 the group reunited with Thom Bell and signed with Philadelphia International Records subsidiary TSOP Records. They released the single Hurry Up This Way Again that year which brought them back into the R&B Top 20 (peaking at #18).  Both James Dunn and James Smith departed due to conflicts over the direction of the group. The group continued, recruiting new member Raymond Johnson. But Johnson departed in 1985, leaving the group a trio. Love, Murrell and Thompkins continued to tour until 2000, when Russell Thompkins, Jr. left the group.

Released in February 1973, this was written by Thom Bell, Linda Creed, and Kenneth Gamble.  The song hit #5 in the U.S., #34 in the UK, and only #37 in Canada.  It was also recorded in the same year by Johnny Mathis, and though I much prefer The Stylistics version, I will offer both here.

Break up to Make Up
The Stylistics

Tell me what’s wrong with you now, tell me why I
Never seem to make you happy though heaven knows I try
What does it take to please you? Tell me just how
I can satisfy you woman, you’re drivin’ me wild

Break up to make up, that’s all we do
First you love me then you hate me
That’s a game for fools
Break up to make up that’s all we do
First you love me then you hate me
That’s a game for fools

When I come home from workin’, you’re on the phone
Talkin’ about how bad I treat you, now tell me I’m wrong
You say it’s me who argues, I’ll say it’s you
We have got to get together or baby, we’re through

Break up to make up, that’s all we do
First you love me then you hate me
That’s a game for fools
Break up to make up, that’s all we do
Yeah, first you love me then you hate me
That’s a game for fools

Break up to make up, that’s all we do
Yeah, first you love me then you hate me
That’s a game for fools

Break up to make up, that’s all we do
First you love me then you hate me
That’s a game for fools

Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Kenny Gamble / Thom Bell / Linda Creed
Break up to Make Up lyrics © Warner-tamerlane Publishing Corp.

♫ Betcha By Golly, Wow ♫

A couple of weeks ago, I played You Make Me Feel Brand New by The Stylistics, and a reader commented that it was his favourite of The Stylistics songs, along with Betcha By Golly, Wow.  I couldn’t recall ever hearing the latter, but I went in search of and found that I definitely recognized the song, just not the title.

What I did not know, however, is that this song was first recorded under the title Keep Growing Strong by Connie Stevens in 1970!  It was two years later that The Stylistics released their more successful version under the title Betcha By Golly, Wow.

The song was written by Linda Creed and Thom Bell, who wrote a number of songs for The Stylistics.  Not much other backstory out there about this one, but I am amazed at the number of people who have covered this one, including Prince, Aaron Neville, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Dionne Warwick and others.

So, do you guys want to hear the Connie Stevens’ version too, or not?  Oh … okay, then you’ll get both … listen to one or both … your choice!

Betcha By Golly, Wow
The Stylistics

There’s a spark of magic in your eyes
Candyland appears each time you smile
Never thought that fairy tales came true
But they come true when I’m near you
You’re a genie in disguise
Full of wonder and surprise

And betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growin’ strong
Keep growin’ strong

If I could I’d catch a falling star
To shine on you so I’ll know where you are
Order rainbows in your favorite shade
To show I love you, thinking of you
Write your name across the sky
Anything you ask I’ll try, ’cause

Betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growin’ strong
Keep growin’ strong

Betcha by golly, wow
You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you keep growin’ strong
Keep growin’ strong

Betcha by golly, wow

You’re the one that I’ve been waiting for forever
And ever will my love for you

Songwriters: Linda Creed / Thomas Bell
Betcha By Golly, Wow lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ You Make Me Feel Brand New ♫

I was looking for something from the ’60s tonight … I found several I liked, but none of them felt quite right, or else I had already played them, and I’m trying hard to keep these music posts free of repetition, with a few notable exceptions, such as Ebony and Ivory, or Lennon’s Imagine, songs that I think have a message that bears repeating from time to time.  Anyway, tonight’s selection isn’t from the sixties, but it’s close …

Released in 1973, this is The Stylistics at their finest.  This was written by the Philadelphia songwriters Linda Creed and Thom Bell. Both songwriters made huge contributions to the Philadelphia Soul sound, writing many hits for The Stylistics and The Spinners. Bell also produced this track.  Stylistics tenor Airrion Love starts out the song and then alternates with Russell Thompkins, Jr.

I didn’t find much background info about the song, its origins, etc., but I did find that the song was used in TV commercials for Woolite in the mid 1980s and in TV advertisements for Australian department store Myer in the late 1980s. In Britain a version was used to advertise BioTex stain removal powder.  Hmmmm … I guess that makes it a ‘clean’ song, eh?

You Make Me Feel Brand New
The Stylistics

My love,
I’ll never find the words my love, to tell you how I feel my love.
Mere words, could not explain.

Precious love,
You held my life within your hands, created everything I am,
Taught me how to live again.

Only you,
Cared when I needed a friend, believed in me through thick and thin,
This song is for you, filled with gratitude and love

God bless you, you make me feel brand new,
For God blessed me with you, you make me feel brand new,
I sing this song ’cause you, make me feel brand new.

My love,
When ever I was insecure, you built me up and made me sure,
You gave, my pride, back to me.

Precious friend,
With you I’ll always have a friend, you’re someone who I can depend,
To walk a path that sometimes bends.

Without you,
Life has no meaning or rhyme, like notes to a song out of time,
How can I repay, you for having faith in me

God bless you, you make me feel brand new,
For God blessed me with you, you make me feel brand new,
I sing this song ’cause you, make me feel brand new.

Songwriters: Linda Diane Creed / Thomas Randolph Bell
You Make Me Feel Brand New lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ 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