How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)

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"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
Single by Marvin Gaye
from the album How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You
B-side "Forever"
Released November 4, 1964
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); July 24, 1964
Genre Soul; early pop rock
Length 2:57
Label Tamla
Writer(s) Holland–Dozier–Holland
Producer(s) Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier
Marvin Gaye singles chronology
"Baby Don't You Do It"
(1964)
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)"
(1964)
"I'll Be Doggone"
(1965)
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
Single by James Taylor
from the album Gorilla
B-side "Sarah Maria"
Released 1975
Format 7"
Recorded 1975
Genre Folk rock, soft rock
Length 3:33
Label Warner Bros.
Producer(s) Russ Titelman, Lenny Waronker
James Taylor singles chronology
"Walking Man"
(1974)
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
(1975)
"Mexico"
(1975)

"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" is a 1964 song written by the Motown songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland and first recorded by American soul singer, Marvin Gaye.

Marvin Gaye (1964)[edit]

Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, Marvin Gaye released the song as a single in September 1964. It peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in January 1965 and No. 4 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart.[1] Up to that point, it was Gaye's most successful single with record sales exceeding 900,000 copies.[2] The song's personnel includes Marvin Gaye on lead vocals,[3] The Andantes on background vocals, and The Funk Brothers on rhythm and percussion. Gaye also released a German-language version of the song entitled "Wie Schön Das Ist".

Allmusic critic Jason Ankeny described the song as a "radiant pop confection," noting that it was unusual for Gaye in being a "straightforward love song" that doesn't reflect Gaye's usual demons.[4] Anekny commented on the soulfulness of the song, and particularly noted the piano riff.[4]

Gaye's recording has been subsequently released on many greatest hits albums.[4]

Notable cover versions[edit]

Since Marvin Gaye's original 1964 release, "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" has been covered by artists in an array of genres including soul, pop, gospel, folk, and country.

Junior Walker & the All Stars (1966)[edit]

In 1966, Junior Walker & the All Stars released the song as a single, which reached No. 3 on the R&B Singles chart and No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to Ankeny, this version makes up in grit what it lacks in Gaye's grace, increasing the "celebratory" feel of the song.[4] Ankeny particularly noted the saxophone part of this version.[4]

James Taylor (1975)[edit]

James Taylor released a cover version of "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" on his 1975 album Gorilla and also as the lead single from the album.[5] Taylor's 1975 single has been the most successful cover version to date, hitting No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[6] In addition to James Taylor on lead vocals and guitar, other personnel include Carly Simon on harmony vocals, David Sanborn on saxophone, Clarence McDonald on piano, Lee Sklar on bass and both Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel on drums.[7] Author Ian Halperin believes that the song was included on Gorilla as a tribute to Simon, who was then his wife.[8] It was produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman.[8] After his success with "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)," Taylor continued to cover R&B hits applying his soft rock approach.[5]

Rolling Stone Magazine critic Bud Scoppa described Taylor's version as "a relaxed rendition" and considered the cover to be Taylor's way of acknowledging Gaye as a source of inspiration for Taylor's romantic point of view at the time.[9] Music critic Robert Christgau regarded Taylor's version as a "desecration of Marvin Gaye."[10] Taylor biographer Timothy White described it as "music for the park on Sunday."[7]

Taylor's version has been released on many live and compilation albums. These include the compilation albums Greatest Hits (1976), Classic Songs (1990), The Best of James Taylor (2003) and The Essential James Taylor (2013).[11][12][13][14] Live versions have been included on Live and Live at the Beacon Theater.

Additional artists[edit]

Other notable cover versions have been released by the Jerry Garcia Band, Cissy Houston (whose gospel version appears on her 1966 album, Face to Face), Michael Bublé (included on his album It's Time), Karen Dalton (recorded for her 1971 folk album, In My Own Time), Joan Osborne (released on her album of the same title), Kenny Rogers, and Jimmy Needham (appearing on his album Nightlights).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Marvin Gaye awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 225. 
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 26 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 5]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Ankeny, J. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-14. 
  5. ^ a b Ruhlmann, W. "Gorilla". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 239. 
  7. ^ a b White, T. (2009). Long Ago and Far Away. Omnibus Press. pp. 233–235. ISBN 9780857120069. 
  8. ^ a b Halperin, I. (2003). Fire and Rain: The James Taylor Story. Citadel. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978 0806523484. 
  9. ^ Scoppa, B. (July 17, 1975). "Gorilla". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  10. ^ Christgau, R.. "James Taylor". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  11. ^ Ruhlmann, W. "Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  12. ^ Woodstra, C. "Classic Songs". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  13. ^ Jurek, T. "The Best of James Taylor". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  14. ^ Collar, M. "The Essential James Taylor". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"At Seventeen" by Janis Ian
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single (James Taylor version)
August 23, 1975
Succeeded by
"Fallin' in Love" by Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds