It's the Same Old Song

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"It's the Same Old Song"
Single by Four Tops
from the album Four Tops' Second Album
B-side "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" (The Netherlands); "Your Love Is Amazing" (selected countries, namely in the West German, American and Australian markets); "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" (on one copy in the UK)[1]
Released July 9, 1965
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); July 8, 1965
Genre Soul/pop
Length 2:46
Label Motown
M 1081
Writer(s) Holland–Dozier–Holland
Producer(s) Brian Holland
Lamont Dozier
Four Tops singles chronology
"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)"
(1965)
"It's the Same Old Song"
(1965)
"Something About You"
(1965)

"It's the Same Old Song" is a 1965 hit single performed by the Four Tops for the Motown label.[2] Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song is today one of The Tops' signature songs, and was notably created—from initial concept to commercial release—in 24 hours. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.[3] It also reached #34 in the UK.[4]

Writing and recording[edit]

After "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" hit #1 in June 1965, The Four Tops' former label, Columbia Records, wanting to cash in on the group's success, re-released the Tops' 1960 Columbia single "Ain't That Love". Berry Gordy ordered that a new Four Tops single had to be released within a day's time.[5]

At 3 o'clock that afternoon, the Holland brothers and Lamont Dozier penned "It's the Same Old Song". Four Tops tenor Abdul "Duke" Fakir recalled:

The next day, we went to the studio and recorded it, and then they put it on acetate and released to radio stations across the country.

The engineering team worked around the clock perfecting the single's mix and making hand-cut vinyl records so that Berry Gordy's sister Esther in the Artist Development department could critique them and select the best ones for single release. By 3 P.M. the next day, 1500 copies of "It's the Same Song" had been delivered to radio DJs across the country, and the song eventually made it to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number two on the R&B chart.

"It's the Same Old Song" is very similar in melody and chord progressions to "I Can't Help Myself", which in turn is even more similar in melody and chord progressions to "Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes, who also covered "It's The Same Old Song" in 1967. Critic Maury Dean disputes that there is much in common with "I Can't Help Myself," saying that it is "a dynamic NEW treatment, with just a hint of Benny Benjamin's thundering drums echoing" "I Can't Help Myself."[7]

Allmusic critic Ron Wynn calls "It's the Same Old Song" "a tidy little number" with "one of the greatest lyrical hooks -- and titles -- ever."[8] Fellow critic Steve Leggett calls it "wise beyond its era."[9]

Cover versions[edit]

John Lennon sang a bit of the song in The Beatles annual Christmas Message for 1965. They sent these records to members of their fan club every year. George Harrison can be heard cutting Lennon off for fear of copyright infringement.

In 1967, Australian singer Ray Brown (following his split with The Whispers), took his version into the Australian Top 10.

In 1971 Jonathan King covered the song with a completely different arrangement under the name The Weathermen and his version reached the UK Top 20 selling over 250,000 copies.

Later in the 1970s, KC and the Sunshine Band also covered the song.

Claude François released a cover version of the song in French called "C'est la même chanson".

In 1996, The Four Tops appeared in a Velveeta commercial, where they spoofed "It's the Same Old Song" with a song called "It's Not the Same Old Side" (as in the Velveeta side dish, Shells and Cheese). The Four Tops also spoofed "It's the Same Old Song" with a song called "It's Not the Same Old Show" for a promo on The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

The song features prominently in the Coen Brothers' film Blood Simple.

As well as Rod Stewart's cover on his Soulbook album, a mash-up with Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" was used as runway-soundtrack for the 2009 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

It was recorded in French as "C'est la Même Chanson" by Claude François (1971).

Personnel[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "It's the Same Old Song The Four Tops - 45cat Search". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 25 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 4]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  3. ^ "Four Tops Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  4. ^ "Four Tops charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  5. ^ Bronson, F. (1997). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. p. 209. ISBN 0823076415. 
  6. ^ "The Four Tops". Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  7. ^ Dean, M. (2003). Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 164. ISBN 0875862071. 
  8. ^ Wynn, R. "Second Album". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-15. 
  9. ^ Leggett, S. "The Definitive Collection". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]