♫ 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

♫ The Happening ♫

Tonight I just thought we all needed something really upbeat, and I can’t think of a single song that is more upbeat than this one by The Supremes.

This song was written for the 1967 movie The Happening, which starred Anthony Quinn, George Maharis, Michael Parks, Robert Walker Jr., and Faye Dunaway. The film flopped, but the song went to #1 in the US, giving The Supremes their 10th chart-topper in that country.  The songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland co-wrote this with Frank DeVol, who was the musical director for the film.

So now, how ’bout I shut up and just play the song …

The Happening
The Supremes

Hey! Life, look at me, I can see the reality,
‘Cause when you shook me, took me outta my world, I woke up.
Suddenly I just woke up to The Happening.

When you find that you left the future behind.
‘Cause when you got a tender love you don’t take care of,
then you better beware of,
The Happening.

One day you’re up, when you turn around,
You find your world is tumbling down.
It happened to me and it can happen to you.

I was sure, I felt secure until love took a detour.
Yeah! Riding high on top of the world, it happened.
Suddenly it just happened,

I saw my dreams torn apart
when love walked away from my heart.
And when you lose a precious love you need to guide you
something happens inside you,
The Happening.

Now I see life for what it is.
It’s not of dreams, it’s not of bliss.
It happened to me and it can happen to you

And then it happened.
Oo, and then it happened.
Oo, and then it happened.

Is it real? Is it fake?
Is this game of life a mistake?
‘Cause when I lost the love I thought was mine for certain,
Suddenly it starts hurtin’.

I saw the light too late when that fickle finger of fate.
Yeah! It came and broke my pretty balloon,
I woke up, suddenly I just woke up, so sure,
I felt secure until love took a detour.
‘Cause when you got a tender love you don’t take care of,
then you better beware of,
The Happening.
The Happening.

Songwriters: FRANK DE VOL, EDDIE HOLLAND, BRIAN HOLLAND, LAMONT DOZIER
The Happening lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ I Can’t Help Myself ♫

This song was written by the successful Motown team of Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland and Eddie Holland, who wrote most of The Supremes hits. The melody of this song is very similar to Where Did Our Love Go, which Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote for The Supremes. According to Lamont Dozier, the title came about because he couldn’t help himself from working with the same tune.

The story behind the song …

“I stayed with my grandmother when I was a kid. She owned her own home beauty shop, and when the women would come up the walkway to get their hair done, my grandfather would be pedaling around in the garden. He was a bit of a flirt, and would say, ‘How you doin’, sugar pie? Good morning, honey bunch.’ He was one of those types of guys. My grandmother had a big bay window to the front of the house. She’d say, ‘Look at that old codger – he thinks I don’t see. I know what he’s doing.’ He was just flirting with his big smile. I’m sitting there on the porch watching this – I’m probably 11 or 12. I was like a sponge, soaking it up.

Years later, at Motown, I’m sitting at the piano. I’d take these mind trips back to my childhood, and I’m trying to see what this piano part is telling me. Sure enough, there my grandfather is, pedaling in the garden. That memory comes to my mind’s eye, and I know where the song is supposed to go. I hear him saying, ‘Good morning, sugar pie. How you doin’, honey bunch?’ That’s what started it.”

This was the first US #1 hit for The Four Tops, and it was a big one, topping the Hot 100 for two weeks and the R&B chart for an amazing nine. The group had paid their dues: they formed in 1953 and didn’t get a Motown deal until 10 years later. Their first Motown single, Baby I Need Your Loving,  did very well, but this one established them as one of the top acts in the company.

I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)
Four Tops

Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else
In and out my life
You come and you go
Leaving just your picture behind
And I kissed it a thousand times
When you snap your finger or wink your eye
I come a-running to you
I’m tied to your apron strings
And there’s nothing that I can do
I can’t help myself
No, I can’t help myself
Sugar pie, honey bunch
I’m weaker than a man should be
I can’t help myself
I’m a fool in love, you see
Want to tell you I don’t love you
Tell you that we’re through
And I’ve tried
But ev’ry time I see your face
I get all choked up inside
When I call your name
Girl, it starts the flame
(Burning in my heart
Tearing it all apart)
No matter how I try
My love I cannot hide
‘Cause sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I’m weak for you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else
Sugar pie, honey bunch
Do anything you ask me to
I can’t help myself
I want you and nobody else
Sugar pie, honey bunch
You know that I love you
I can’t help myself
I love you and nobody else

Songwriters: Edward Jr. Holland / Lamont Dozier / Brian Holland
I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

♫ Part-Time Lover ♫

I had two choices on this one … the studio recording, the quality of which is superior, or the live version.  I chose the live version, because the energy, the emotion, I think adds more to the song than can ever come through on a studio recording.  That isn’t always the case, but Stevie Wonder is an entertainer, not just a singer, and he knows how to engage his audience, his energy is contagious.

According to Songfacts:

Wonder was a pioneer when it came to making and recording music using electronics and computers. This is an early example of digital audio recording, which Wonder put together at his own Wonderland Studios.

One of the devices he used was a LinnDrum, a popular drum machine/sampler. “He bought the second drum machine I ever made,” Roger Linn said in a Songfacts interview. “I think he used my drum machine very well on ‘Part-Time Lover.'”

According to Wonder, he drew on two songs by The Supremes as a musical influence for this one: “You Can’t Hurry Love” and “My World Is Empty Without You.”

Syreeta Wright, who was Wonder’s wife at the time, sang backing vocals. She co-wrote Wonder’s 1970 song “If You Really Love Me” and had her own Top 10 hit with her duet with Billy Preston, “With You I’m Born Again.”

Also featured on this track is Luther Vandross, who can be heard humming at the end of the verses.

Part-Time Lover
Stevie Wonder

Call up, ring once, hang up the phone
To let me know you made it home
Don’t want nothing to be wrong with part-time lover
If she’s with me I’ll blink the lights
To let you know tonight’s the night
For me and you my part-time lover

We are undercover passion on the run
Chasing love up against the sun
We are strangers by day, lovers by night
Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right

If I’m with friends and we should meet
Just pass me by, don’t even speak
Know the word’s “discreet” when part-time lovers
But if there’s some emergency
Have a male friend to ask for me
So then she won’t peek its really you my part-time lover

We are undercover passion on the run
Chasing love up against the sun
We are strangers by day, lovers by night
Knowing it’s so wrong, but feeling so right

I’ve got something that I must tell
Last night someone rang our doorbell
And it was not you my part-time lover
And then a man called our exchange
But didn’t want to leave his name
I guess that two can play the game
Of part-time lovers
You and me, part-time lovers
But, she and he, part-time lovers

Songwriters: Stevie Wonder
Part-Time Lover lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Saturday Surprise — Music, Music, Music

I had all but forgotten that today is Saturday, as I was preparing to write my a.m. post last night.  With all the news popping up yesterday, I was still trying to catch my breath and decide which direction I needed to go, when it hit me that it would be Saturday in just a few short hours and I hadn’t even thought of a theme for my Saturday surprise.  Along about then, a friend sent me a music clip to listen to, and as I listened, I found my mind drifting and wondering:  what were we listening to 50 years ago?

Then I remembered that when I was asking for suggestions for this new feature, several of the suggestions involved music.  I didn’t think it would be too fun to put only a bunch of music clips, but I am combining some things … a few clips, some interesting ‘this day in history’ facts pertaining to music, and a blurb or two about some of the songs that we were listening to 50 years ago.  So let’s start with the #1 song of 1967 by a Scottish singer named Lulu … the song is, of course, To Sir With Love

 

The song was, of course, the title song in the movie, based on a book of the same name,  a 1959 autobiographical novel by E. R. Braithwaite  In the movie, Sidney Poitier had the starring role as an unemployed black engineer who takes a job teaching an unruly class of white students in London’s East End. By the end of the film he has won over the undisciplined youngsters and has taught them to have self-respect.

Although To Sir With Love was never released as a single in the UK, it was the flip side of Neil Diamond’s The Boat That I Row in the U.S., and Lulu fared far better than Diamond on that one, spending five weeks in the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100, from October 21st through November 25th.

Other notable songs on the charts around this time in 1967 included two from the Monkees, I’m a Believer, and Daydream Believer. Also, a few that I still remember and like …

How about a bit of trivia?  On this day, December 2nd, in …

  • 1957, Al Priddy a DJ on US radio station KEX in Portland was fired after playing Elvis Presley’s version of ‘White Christmas’ The station management said, ‘it’s not in the spirit we associate with Christmas’. Wow …
  • 1967, The Monkees album, ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones Ltd’ went to No.1 on the US album chart. It was their fourth album to sell over a million copies, following ‘The Monkees’, ‘More Of The Monkees’ and ‘Headquarters’.
  • 1969, Cindy Birdsong of The Supremes was kidnapped at knifepoint by a maintenance man who worked in the building she lived in. She later escaped unharmed by jumping out of his car on the San Diego freeway. The kidnapper was arrested in Las Vegas four days later.
  • 1976, The first day of the photo shoot for the forthcoming Pink Floyd Animals album cover took place at Battersea Power Station in London, England with a giant inflatable pig lashed between two of the structure’s tall towers. A trained marksman was hired ready to fire if the inflatable escaped, but was not needed on this, the first day. Unfortunately the following day the marksman hadn’t been rebooked, so when the inflatable broke free from its moorings, it was able to float away, eventually landing in Kent where it was recovered by a local farmer, reportedly furious that it had ‘scared his cows.’

I hope you enjoyed a musical trip down memory lane this morning.  Have a great weekend, my friends!  And I end this post with one of my favourites, Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder