Lookin' for a Love

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"Lookin' for a Love"
Single by The Valentinos
Released March 1962
Format 7", 45 RPM
Recorded 1961
Genre Doo-wop, R&B, soul
Length 3:15
Label SAR
Writer(s) J. W. Alexander, Zelda Samuels
Producer(s) Sam Cooke
"Lookin' for a Love"
Single by Bobby Womack
from the album Lookin' for a Love Again
B-side "Let It Hang Out"
Released January 1974
Format 7" 45 RPM
Recorded 1973
Genre R&B, soul, funk
Length 2:37
Label UA
Writer(s)

J. W. Alexander

Zelda Samuels
Producer(s) Bobby Womack

"Lookin' for a Love" is a song written by J. W. Alexander and Zelda Samuels and was the debut hit of the family group The Valentinos, which featured Bobby Womack. The song was a hit for the Valentinos, climbing to number eight on the R&B chart and crossing over to number 72 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962, released on Sam Cooke's SAR label.

The song originally came off from another song, a gospel composition by Bobby titled "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray", recorded and released in 1961 when they were still known as The Womack Brothers. Sam Cooke produced that session as well as the sessions for "Lookin' For a Love". Following the release of "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray" and convinced that 17-year-old Bobby Womack would "go places", Cooke hired his staff writers J. W. Alexander and Zelda Samuels to rewrite the song as a doo-wop dance number, basing the song's chord structure on the melodic motif found in "Pray".

When the brothers were presented with the song, they protested initially fearing a backlash from their minister father, Friendly Womack. However, Cooke convinced them that the song would be a hit and guarantee the Womacks some financial success as well as commercial. Like "Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray", the song featured Bobby on lead. Prior to its release, Cooke suggested a name change, thinking the change would do wonders for their career as it had done for him. Cooke settled on The Valentinos and released the song that spring.

After its success, the group opened for James Brown where they won fans. In 1971, rock band the J. Geils Band covered the song as one of its first releases and the song became a top 40 hit for them, peaking at number thirty-nine. In 1973, Bobby used "Lookin' for a Love" as a warm-up song to help loosen up his vocal cords during a recording session. Womack recorded one take of the song - with his brothers again providing background vocals - but had no plans of putting it out as a single. However, after some convincing, he released the song in early 1974 and the song went on to be his most successful single to date, and was his first number-one single on the Hot Soul Singles chart and his first and only top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100, where it peaked at #10.[1] The single was later certified gold by the RIAA for sales of one million copies. This resulted in the song later selling more than two million copies. The song's success came bittersweetly, however: the song's background vocalist Harry Womack later died from stab wounds from his girlfriend the week before it hit number-one.

Credits (Bobby Womack versions)[edit]

1962 original[edit]

  • Lead vocal by Bobby Womack
  • Background vocals by The Valentinos: Friendly Womack, Jr., Curtis Womack, Harry Womack and Cecil Womack
  • Instrumentation by SAR Records staff musicians, Bobby Womack (guitar) and Harry Womack (bass)
  • Produced by Sam Cooke

1974 version[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 634. 
  • "Lookin' for a Love" song review [1] on Allmusic website

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Mighty Love" by The Spinners
Billboard's Hot Soul Singles number one single
March 16–30, 1974
Succeeded by
"Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me" by Gladys Knight & the Pips