Band of Gold (Freda Payne song)

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"Band of Gold"
Band of Gold - Freda Payne.jpg
Single by Freda Payne
from the album Band of Gold
B-side"The Easiest Way to Fall"
ReleasedFebruary 1970[1]
Songwriter(s)Edythe Wayne
Ron Dunbar
Producer(s)Brian Holland
Lamont Dozier
Freda Payne singles chronology
"Unhooked Generation"
"Band of Gold"
"Deeper and Deeper"
"Band of Gold"
Single by Charly McClain
from the album The Woman in Me
ReleasedApril 1984
Songwriter(s)Ron Dunbar and Edyth Wayne
Charly McClain singles chronology
"Candy Man"
"Band of Gold"
"The Right Stuff"
"Band of Gold"
Single by Belinda Carlisle
featuring Freda Payne
from the album Belinda
Songwriter(s)Ron Dunbar and Edyth Wayne
Producer(s)Michael Lloyd
Belinda Carlisle singles chronology
"I Feel the Magic"
"Band of Gold"
"Since You've Gone"
"Band of Gold"
Bonnie Tyler - Band of Gold artwork.jpg
Single by Bonnie Tyler
from the album Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire
GenreHi-NRG, rock
LabelCBS Records / Columbia Records
Songwriter(s)Ron Dunbar and Edyth Wayne
Producer(s)Jim Steinman
Bonnie Tyler singles chronology
"If You Were A Woman (And I Was A Man)"
"Band of Gold"
"Rebel Without A Clue"
"Band of Gold"
Single by Kimberley Locke
from the album Based on a True Story
ReleasedAug. 13, 2007 (radio)
Oct. 23, 2007 (remixes)
Songwriter(s)Ron Dunbar and Edyth Wayne
Producer(s)Michael Lloyd
Mike Curb
Kimberley Locke singles chronology
"Band of Gold"
"Frosty the Snowman"

"Band of Gold" is a popular song written and composed 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 recorded by numerous artists, notably competing 1986 versions by contrasting pop singers 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 in which they were embroiled with Motown. Ron Dunbar was a staff employee and producer for Invictus. 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 while she was nearly 30 years old. 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 and when they 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 Vincent, 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 Dennis Coffey. The lead guitar on the selection is performed by Ray Parker Jr.,[2] who later headed the team Raydio before becoming a solo recording artist in his own right.

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 'band of gold' of the title (and the dreams she invested in it). Allusions to the husband either being impotent or gay have been suggested as the cause of the breakdown of the relationship. Steve Huey's article on deciphers the song as being about the man being impotent – "being unable to perform".[3]

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 ("You took me from the shelter of my mother"), the boy was her first boyfriend ("I had never known or loved any other"), and the relationship was probably unconsummated ("and love me like you tried before"). 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”)[citation needed] 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,[4] 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!"[5] 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."[citation needed] – which is repeated again later in the song, cutting 18 seconds twice over from the song. With further refinements in the arrangements, including a heavier, richer bassline, and a different vocal take, a further 14 seconds were shaved off the final released seven-inch single.

Other versions[edit]

  • 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[6] and number67 on the UK Singles Chart.[7]
  • Also in 1983, country singer Charly McClain recorded a country version of "Band of Gold" for her album The Woman in Me. McClain's version reached number 22 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in June 1984.[8]
  • In 1986, both Belinda Carlisle and Bonnie Tyler released their cover versions of "Band of Gold". Despite both coming off major hits and working with noted musicians, neither the Carlisle nor Bonnie Tyler versions were especially commercially successful.
    • Tyler's "Band of Gold" cover 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 Tyler's Secret Dreams and Forbidden Fire, which also features the hit "Holding Out for a Hero". This version of "Band of Gold" reached number 81 in the UK, and did not chart elsewhere.
    • Carlisle's version was originally included on her Belinda album, but was revised for single release with Freda Payne adding prominent backing vocals. This newly-cut take on "Band of Gold" was a very minor hit in Canada, reaching number 91, but did not chart nationally elsewhere. Dance remixes of this track (also featuring vocals by Payne) met with some success on the US club scene.
  • In September 2005, singer-songwriter Anna Nalick recorded "Band of Gold". Nalick would perform the song live, despite the fact that it would not appear on any of her studio efforts. It was later included for release as part of the Desperate Housewives soundtrack (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.[9] 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".[citation needed], •. “Band of Gold” was also recorded by Boris Gardiner in 1970, in Jamaica on the Dynamic records Label-(DYN 404-B)- produced by Byron Lee.


Freda Payne version

Chart performance[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Freda Payne - Band of Gold".
  2. ^ a b "Band of Gold by Freda Payne Songfacts". Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  3. ^ Steve Huey. "Band of Gold – Freda Payne". AllMusic. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  4. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  5. ^ Dave Simpson. "Freda Payne: how we made Band of Gold | Culture". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco 1974–2003, (Record Research Inc.), page 252.
  7. ^ "Official Charts Company". Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  8. ^ "Charly McClain Chart History - Hot Country Songs". Billboard. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  9. ^ "Best of the 2000s: The Decade In Charts and More". Billboard. 2009-12-07. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  10. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly – Library and Archives Canada". 17 July 2013. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  11. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Band of Gold". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  12. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1970" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  13. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website - SA Charts 1969 - 1989 Songs (A-B)".
  14. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/01/70". 1970-08-01. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  15. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 453.
  16. ^ "UK Official Charts".
  17. ^ "Billboard Hot Dance/Disco" (PDF).
  18. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  19. ^ "Item Display – RPM – Library and Archives Canada".
  20. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1970" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  21. ^ "All the Number One Singles: 1970". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1970/Top 100 Songs of 1970". Retrieved 2016-07-07.
  23. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles – 1970". 1970-12-26. Archived from the original on 2012-09-22. Retrieved 2016-07-07.

External links[edit]