Band of Gold (Freda Payne song)

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"Band of Gold"
Single by Freda Payne
from the album Band of Gold
A-side "Band of Gold"
B-side "The Easiest Way to Fall"
Released 1970
Genre Soul
Length 2:53
Label Invictus
Writer(s) Edythe Wayne
Ron Dunbar
Producer(s) Brian Holland
Lamont Dozier
Freda Payne singles chronology
"Unhooked Generation"
(1970)
"Band of Gold"
(1970)
"Deeper and Deeper"
(1970)
"Band of Gold"
Single by Charly McClain
from the album The Woman in Me
Released April 1984
Format 7"
Recorded 1983
Genre Country
Length 2:51
Label Epic
Charly McClain singles chronology
"Candy Man"
(with Mickey Gilley)
(1984)
"Band of Gold"
(1984)
"The Right Stuff"
(with Mickey Gilley)
(1984)
"Band of Gold"
Single by Belinda Carlisle
featuring Freda Payne
from the album Belinda
Released 1986
Genre Pop
Length 3:42
Label I.R.S.
Writer(s) Ron Dunbar and Edyth Wayne
Producer(s) Michael Lloyd
Belinda Carlisle singles chronology
"I Feel the Magic"
(1986)
"Band of Gold"
(1986)
"Since You've Gone"
(1986)
"Band of Gold"
Single by Bonnie Tyler
from the album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
Released 1986
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Hi-NRG, rock
Label CBS Records / Columbia Records
Producer(s) Jim Steinman
Bonnie Tyler singles chronology
"If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)"
(1986)
"Band of Gold"
(1986)
"Rebel Without A Clue"
(1986)
"Band of Gold"
Single by Kimberley Locke
from the album Based on a True Story
Released Aug. 13, 2007 (radio)
Oct. 23, 2007 (remixes)
Format Digital, radio
Length 3:01
Label Curb
Producer(s) Michael Lloyd
Mike Curb
Kimberley Locke singles chronology
"Change"
(2007)
"Band of Gold"
(2007)
"Frosty the Snowman"
(2007)

"Band of Gold" is a popular song written by former Motown producers, Holland–Dozier–Holland (under the pseudonym of Edythe Wayne) and Ron Dunbar. It was a major hit when first recorded by Freda Payne in 1970 for the Invictus label, owned by H-D-H. The song has been covered by numerous artists, notably competing 1986 versions by contrasting pop divas Belinda Carlisle and Bonnie Tyler, and a 2007 version by Kimberley Locke.

The legendary songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland used the name Edythe Wayne because of a lawsuit they had with Motown. Ron Dunbar was a staff employee and producer for Invictus. According to Freda Payne,[1] Dunbar actually contributed to the song. When they first offered the song to Freda Payne, she balked at the idea of recording it, finding the material more appropriate for a teenager or very young woman. Payne reluctantly gave in after much persuasion by Dunbar.[2] Almost immediately following its release, the Payne record became an instant pop smash, reaching number three in the US and number one on the UK singles chart and remaining there for six weeks in September 1970, giving Payne her first gold record.

After Holland/Dozier/Holland left Motown in 1967, they were still in contact with Motown's house band, the Funk Brothers. When Holland/Dozier/Holland started their own recording company, with the intention of self-producing the songs they wrote, they asked the Funk Brothers to play on those songs.

Golden World/Motown session singers Pamela Wilson, Joyce Vincent Wilson, and Telma Hopkins provided the background vocals on the record. Joyce and Telma would later go on to form the group Tony Orlando & Dawn. Also singing in the background is Freda Payne's sister and future member of the Supremes, Scherrie Payne, who was also signed to Invictus at the time as a member of the Glass House group.

The distinctive electric sitar part is played by New York studio musician Vinnie Bell. Lead guitar on the track is by Ray Parker, Jr.[2]

In 2004, Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" was voted number 391 in Rolling Stone magazine's listing of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Topic and controversy[edit]

The song tells a story which is open to a number of interpretations - based on the lyrics in the most commonly heard version of the song, which is the seven-inch single, the story is of a recently married woman whose husband is incapable of loving her (even though he tried), resulting in the couple sleeping in separate rooms on their honeymoon, to her dismay. It would appear that the marriage ended in the husband's abandoning his bride, leaving her with no more than the titular 'band of gold' (and the dreams she invested in it). Controversial allusions to the husband either being impotent or gay have been suggested as the cause of the breakdown of the relationship.

An earlier studio recorded version of the song includes some lyrics which were cut from the seven-inch single, which reveal the story as somewhat different. The couple were young, the girl was either a virgin or sexually inexperienced. She was still living at home, the boy was her first boyfriend, and the relationship was probably unconsummated. The couple rush into marriage and the relationship crashes on the wedding night, when the woman rejects her groom's advance ("And the night I turned you away" - an allusion that she was frigid), emotionally wounding him, resulting in him leaving her. After the hurt she had caused, they spend their wedding night in separate rooms. She then expresses her regret at her mistake ("And the dream of what love could be, if you were still here with me").

According to Ron Dunbar, when interviewed in the documentary Band of Gold - The Invictus Story, he encouraged Payne to learn the lyrics to the song despite her reluctance, Payne saying "this makes no sense to me." Dunbar told her, "you don't have to like it, just sing it!" Dunbar continues, "I dubbed that tune 25, maybe 30 times just to get enough parts of it that we could edit to get the song."

Dunbar continued, "They said this song is a smash in the gay community. And I said, gay community? They said, yeah man, it's a smash. And I says, why is it that? And they said, well it's what the lyrics are saying. She said the guy couldn't make love to her so they figured he had to be gay! And I said oh no! And I remembered when they said that to me and I listened back to the song and there was a part in there... because I remembered when we were editing that tune, it was too long, so we had to cut a section out of the tune so the section we cut out of the song really brought the whole song [story] together."

The lyrics which Dunbar cut in the final edit which he was referring to were made to reduce the length of the single from three minutes 43 seconds down to the final two minutes 53 seconds. These were taken from the first verse - "And the memories of our wedding day, and the night I turned you away" - these were effectively substituted with, "And the memories of what love could be, if you were still here with me"; and a larger bridge - "Each night, I lie awake and I tell myself, the vows we made gave you the right, to have a love each night." - which is repeated again later in the song, cutting 18 seconds twice over from the song. With further refinements in the arrangements a further 14 seconds were shaved off the final seven-inch single.

Cover versions[edit]

Despite both coming off major hits and working with noted musicians, neither the Belinda Carlisle nor the Bonnie Tyler versions were major hits. Tyler's was produced by Jim Steinman, the man behind earlier hits by Tyler and Meat Loaf, and later hits by Celine Dion, and the track was given a slew of Hi-NRG remixes. The song was the third single off her Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire, which also features the hit "Holding Out for a Hero". Carlisle's version was also given dance remixes featuring vocals by Freda Payne herself, that appear on a 2003 CD re-issue of the album Belinda, which features the hit "Mad About You".

In 1970 Anne Renée (fr) recorded the French-language rendering "Le Jonc d'amitié".

In 1983, "Band of Gold" was recorded by Disco/Hi-NRG singer Sylvester on Megatone Records and released as a 12" single. Sylvester's version reached number 18 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart[3] and number 67 on the UK Singles Chart.[4]

The song was a covered in 1980 by the Australian group The Reels on their hit EP Five Great Gift Ideas.

UK Salsa group Modern Romance covered "Band of Gold" on their compilation album, Party Tonight (1983).

Also in 1983, country singer Charly McClain recorded a cover version of "Band of Gold" for her album The Woman in Me. McClain's version reached No. 22 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in June 1984.

American singer-songwriter Anna Nalick recorded a version of "Band of Gold" that is included on the 2005 Hollywood Records release, Music from and Inspired by Desperate Housewives.

Kimberley Locke released her version of "Band of Gold" to radio on August 13, 2007 as the second single from her album Based on a True Story. It became Locke's second single to hit number one on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart and her seventh to go top 10 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. In December 2009, Billboard included Kimberley's version of the song at number 45 on their list of the top 50 Dance Club Play songs of the decade.[5] Locke had previously performed the song alongside Frenchie Davis during "Hollywood week" on the second season of American Idol, and later performed it again during her final performance week on the show.

Track listings and formats (Locke version)[edit]

  • US remixes maxi single - CURBD-2062
  1. "Band of Gold" (Dave Audé radio edit) – 3:12
  2. "Band of Gold" (Bimbo Jones radio edit) – 3:22
  3. "Band of Gold" (Almighty radio edit) – 2:57
  4. "Band of Gold" (Scotty K radio edit) – 3:49
  5. "Band of Gold" (Dave Audé Mixshow edit) – 6:06
  6. "Band of Gold" (Bimbo Jones mix) – 7:17
  7. "Band of Gold" (Almighty extended mix) – 6:51
  8. "Band of Gold" (Scotty K extended Klub mix) – 6:45
  9. "Band of Gold" (Dave Audé club mix) – 8:25
  10. "Band of Gold" (Dave Audé dub) – 7:08
  • UK promotional remixes maxi single - Almighty remixes
  1. "Band of Gold" (Almighty radio mix) – 2:55
  2. "Band of Gold" (Almighty 12" club mix) – 6:49
  3. "Band of Gold" (Almighty 12" dub) – 6:38
  4. "Band of Gold" (Almighty 12" instrumental) – 6:47

An additional remix by Piper was later released in the digital remix package for Locke's next single, "Fall".

In 2012 U.K. band Bucky recorded a version for a fund raising cd titled "Super Hits Of The Seventies" for radio station WFMU.

Personnel[edit]

Freda Payne version[edit]

Charts[edit]

Freda Payne version
Charts (1970) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 1
US Pop Singles 3
US Black Singles 20
Bonnie Tyler version
Chart (1986) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 81
Billboard Hot Dance Breakouts Singles Sales [6] 06
Belinda Carlisle version
Chart (1986/87) Peak
position
US Hot Dance Club Play 26
US Hot Dance Singles Sales 38
Canadian Singles Chart 91
Kimberley Locke version
Chart (2007/08) Peak
position
US Hot Dance Club Play 1
UK Commercial Club 6
US Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 9
US Billboard Top Dance Songs of 2008 11
US Hot Adult Contemporary Recurrents 19
Canadian Adult Contemporary 21
US Billboard Top AC Songs of 2008 36
US Billboard Top AC Songs of 2007 39
UK Upfront Club 52

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Freda Payne Interview, liner notes for Freda Payne, Unhooked Generation - The Complete Invictus Recordings, Castle Music, 2001
  2. ^ a b "Band of Gold" at songfacts.com
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco 1974-2003, (Record Research Inc.), page 252.
  4. ^ Sylvester UK Singles Chart info Chartstats.com. Retrieved 16 July 2009.
  5. ^ Best of 2000s Dance/Club Play Songs Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 11 December 2009
  6. ^ Billboard 27.12.1986
Preceded by
"The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles
UK Singles Chart number one single (Freda Payne version)
September 19, 1970 (6 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Woodstock" by Matthews Southern Comfort
Preceded by
"No, No, No" by Ono
Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single (Kimberley Locke version)
January 19, 2008
Succeeded by
"Stars" by Erika Jayne