Baby, I'm for Real

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"Baby, I'm for Real"
Single by The Originals
from the album Green Grow the Lilacs
Released 1969
Format 7" single
Recorded 1969, Hitsville USA (Studio A), Detroit, Michigan
Genre Soul, doo-wop
Length 3:22
Label Soul
Writer(s) Marvin Gaye
Anna Gordy Gaye
Producer(s) Marvin Gaye
The Originals singles chronology
"You're the One"
(1969)
"Baby I'm For Real"
(1969)
"The Bells"
(1970)

"Baby, I'm for Real" is a soul ballad written by Marvin Gaye and Anna Gordy Gaye, produced by Marvin and recorded and released by American Motown vocal group The Originals for the Soul label issued in 1969.

History[edit]

The Originals version[edit]

By the late sixties, male vocal quintet the Originals had been recording mostly background vocals for Motown artists most notably backing up brothers Jimmy Ruffin ("What Becomes of the Brokenhearted") and David Ruffin ("My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)") respectively. They also were as known for providing background vocals to some of Marvin Gaye's late sixties recordings such as "Chained". But their own singles up until then had failed to generate interest. Having befriended Gaye during recording sessions, the singer promised the group that he'll find them the hit they were searching for. With music written with his wife Anna, Marvin wrote the lyrics to what would be "Baby I'm For Real". Different from most Motown recordings of the period, directed by the psychedelic soul productions of Norman Whitfield, the song was a return to a back-to-basics doo-wop inspired approach which was championed by Gaye, who took creative control of the recording as the song's producer. Gaye had each member of the band provide a lead vocal on each of the verses while also singing along in the background. The singer would also produce another song titled "You're the One". While that song failed to chart, he pushed ahead for "...Real". Gaye had protested to Motown CEO Berry Gordy that he wanted to produce his own material and he used the Originals to help get his point across that he can provide a hit as he eventually did for the Originals as "Baby I'm For Real" reached number one on the Billboard Top Black Singles chart and reached number fourteen on the Pop Singles chart,.[1] eventually selling over a million copies and putting the Originals on the map for a brief period as recording artists. The song's success paved the way for two more successful Gaye-helmed productions: 1970's similar "The Bells" and "We Can Make It".

Cover versions[edit]

Esther Phillips version[edit]

Esther Phillips recorded a version which peaked at position 38 on Billboard's R&B chart in 1972.

Bohannon version[edit]

In 1980, percussionist Hamilton Bohannon (Let's Start The Dance) recorded it as a duet with Caroline Crawford and the tune appeared on his Music In The Air lp.

Sherrick version[edit]

Los Angeles-based R&B singer/balladeer Sherrick, released a version of the song on single, which peaked at #53 on Billboard's Hot R&B\Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. It was taken from his 1987 album entitled Sherrick for Warner Bros. Records. On January 22, 1999, Sherrick died at the age of 41, of unknown causes in Los Angeles, California.[2]

After 7 version[edit]

In 1992, R&B group After 7 sought to revive this song while recording their Takin' My Time album. Issued as the first release off that album, they also covered parts of Bloodstone's "Natural High". The song returned to the upper reaches of the R&B charts some twenty-three years after it was first recorded, eventually peaking at number five.

Personnel[edit]

The Originals version[edit]

After 7 version[edit]

  • Lead and background vocals by Melvin Edmonds, Keith Mitchell and Kevon Edmonds

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 443. 
  2. ^ Kyleigh. "Rare and Obscure Music: May 2008". Musicrareobscure.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-01-15. 
Preceded by
"I Can't Get Next to You" by The Temptations
Billboard's Best Selling Soul Singles number one single (The Originals version)
November 8, 1969 - December 6, 1969
Succeeded by
"Someday We'll Be Together" by Diana Ross & the Supremes