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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Supremes - Where did our love go

Video of The Supremes singing "Where did our love go"

"Where Did Our Love Go" is a 1964 hit song recorded by The Supremes for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, "Where Did Our Love Go" was the first single by the Supremes to go to the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, a position it held for two weeks, from August 16 to August 29, 1964. It was also the first of five Supremes songs in a row to reach number one (the others are "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", and "Back in My Arms Again").
This version was ranked #472 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time



Holland–Dozier–Holland had originally composed the song and prepared the instrumental track for The Marvelettes to record it. The Marvelettes rejected the song, thinking it childish, and H–D–H offered it to the Supremes, who by early 1964 had only one top-forty hit, When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes, and eight failed singles. Although the Supremes were apprehensive at first about the song, they decided that they really didn't have a choice in the matter.

Upon learning the Supremes had chosen to record "Where Did Our Love Go", the Marvelettes warned the girls to stand up for themselves and not just take anything H–D–H would give them. As a result, when the song was recorded on April 8, 1964, there was a bit of animosity on the part of the Supremes towards singing the song. Lamont Dozier was forced at one point to redo the arrangement of the background vocals, replacing the original, more complex backing with simple repetitions of the word "baby".

One of the most famous aspects of "Where Did Our Love Go" was its rhythm section, comprised primarily of footstomps. The sound effect was performed by an Italian-American teenager named Mike Valvano, who stomped down upon two wooden boards suspended by strings, to create the aural illusion of a group of foot-stompers. Handclaps were overdubbed for the 45 RPM single mix of the song.

Since the lead vocal was originally written to be sung by the Marvelettes' lead singer Gladys Horton, it was arranged in a register lower than the Supremes' lead singer Diana Ross' natural register. The resulting vocal track had a sensual appeal not present in Ross' earlier songs, and she elatedly rushed to Motown chief Berry Gordy's office, and dragged him to the basement studio at Hitsville U.S.A. to hear it. Upon hearing the finished song, Gordy remarked that the song had potential, possibly enough to make it to the top ten.

Release and reaction

"Where Did Our Love Go" was released as a single on June 17, 1964, and entered the Hot 100 at number seventy-seven. Six weeks later, while the Supremes were on tour as part of Dick Clark's "American Bandstand Caravan of Stars", the song made it to number one for two weeks. The girls began the tour at the bottom of the bill; by the conclusion of the tour, they were at the top.

The song became the focal point and title track of the group's second album, Where Did Our Love Go, released later that year. A German language version of the song was recorded by the Supremes for German-speaking markets overseas.

While not exactly a true cover, the melodic and chordal progressions of labelmates the Four Tops' "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" are very similar to those of "Where Did Our Love Go". "I Can't Help Myself" reached number one in 1965.


Lead vocals by Diana Ross
Background vocals by Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson
All instruments by the Funk Brothers
Footstomps by Mike Valvano

Source: Where did our love go (Wikipedia)

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