Friday, October 31, 2014

50 years ago: The Supremes hit #1 with “Baby Love”

First posted 3/12/2021.

Baby Love

The Supremes

Writer(s): Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland (see lyrics here)

Released: September 17, 1964

First Charted: October 3, 1964

Peak: 14 US, 12 CN, 14 HR, 14 RB, 12 UK, 10 CN, 26 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, 0.25 UK, 1.25 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 21.0 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Song:

The Supremes first topped the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1964 with “Where Did Our Love Go.” When “Baby Love” also made it to #1, it made the trio the first Motown act to top the Billboard Hot 100 two times. They would top the chart a dozen times total, more than any other Motown act or American pop music group. WK This was the first #1 in the UK for a Motown group and the Supremes’ only chart-topper there. It “catapulted [them] to the top of Motown’s artist roster.” BR1

The song was written by the Motown writing team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland. The trio wrote many of the Supremes chart-toppers, including “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” “Back in My Arms Again,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” They also wrote #1 songs for the Four Tops (“Reach Out (I’ll Be There),” “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)”) and the Marvelettes (“Please Mr. Postman”).

Dozier explained that this song was about “my first love who I never really got over.” He said many of the songs he wrote for Motown were inspired by her. SF Brian Holland explained “We pictured a simple story about a girl whose boyfriend has left her and who loves him very dearly and would like the boy to come back.” SF

Motown head honcho Berry Gordy insisted that the Holland-Dozier-Holland team produce a sound-a-like follow-up for “Where Did Our Love Go.” That mean more of Diana Ross’s “cooing lead vocal and oohing, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson’s ‘baby-baby’ backup, the Funk Brothers’ instrumental track, and teenager Mike Valvano’s footstomping.” WK The stomping percussion became a trade mark on early Supremes’ songs. SF

The song received a Grammy nomination for Best Rhythm & Blues Recording.

Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Supremes
  • BR1 Fred Bronson (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (5th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 159.
  • SF Songfacts
  • WK Wikipedia

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