He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'

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"He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'"
Single by The Velvelettes
B-side "Throw a Farewell Kiss"
Released 28 December 1964
Format 7"
Recorded November 1964 (Version 1)
December 1964 (Version 2)
Genre Pop, Soul
Length 2:30
Label V.I.P. (Motown)
V.I.P. 21503
The Velvelettes chronology
"Needle In a Haystack"
"He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'"
"Lonely, Lonely Girl am I"
"Really Saying Something"
Banana rss.jpg
Single by Bananarama with Fun Boy Three
from the album Deep Sea Skiving
B-side "Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares
Released April 1982
Format 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1981
Genre New wave
Length 2:45
Label London
Writer(s) Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Edward Holland, Jr.
Producer(s) Dave Jordan, Fun Boy Three
Bananarama chronology
"It Ain't What You Do...."
"Really Saying Something"
"Shy Boy"


"Really Saying Something (Solasso remix)"

"Move in My Direction"
Fun Boy Three singles chronology
"It Ain't What You Do...."
"Really Saying Something"
"The Telephone Always Rings"

"He Was Really Sayin' Somethin' is a soul song written by Motown songwriters Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Edward Holland, Jr. in 1964.[1] The song is notable in both a 1964 version by American Motown girl group the Velvelettes, and a 1982 hit version (with the title altered to "Really Saying Something") by British girl group Bananarama.


Velvelettes version[edit]

The original version of the song was recorded by Motown group the Velvelettes in December 1964. An alternate version recorded in October/November had been discarded. Produced by Norman Whitfield, the Velvelettes' version was released on Motown's V.I.P. label on December 27, 1964, and was a minor hit for the group in early 1965. "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'" peaked at number 64 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, and at number 21 on the then recently reinstated Billboard R&B Singles chart.[2][3] The single was the second most successful release for the Velvelettes, a minor Motown act which never released a full-length album.

"Throw a Farewell Kiss", composed by Whitfield and Holland and produced by Whitfield, had been recorded in October 1962 and was issued as the B-side of "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'". Six years later, Whitfield had the Temptations record "Farewell Kiss" for their 1971 album Sky's the Limit.

Bananarama version[edit]

In 1982, the British girl group Bananarama recorded a cover version of the song and released it as the first single from their debut album Deep Sea Skiving. Providing background vocals is Fun Boy Three, a male vocal trio who had a hit with Bananarama earlier in the year with another cover, "T'ain't What You Do (It's the Way That You Do It)".

The 1982 single became the second consecutive top-five hit for both Bananarama and Fun Boy Three, peaking at number five in the UK singles chart. It also received heavy play on the then-young MTV network in America. "Really Saying Something" was both groups' second chart entry in Australia, peaking at number seventy-four. The B-side, "Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares", has been issued on CD for the first time on the 2007 UK reissue of Deep Sea Skiving as one of five bonus tracks. It also became the groups first single to chart in America but only became a minor hit peaking at #108.

The song was revived in 2005 by Solasso, who remixed the song and released it as a bootleg remix. It was later included on Bananarama's album Drama.

Buffalo G version[edit]

"We're Really Saying Something"
Buffalo G We're Really Saying Something CD1.jpg
Single by Buffalo G
Released 29 May 2000
Format CD, cassette
Genre Pop, pop rap
Length 3:18
Label Epic
Writer(s) Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Edward Holland, Jr.
Alternative cover
CD2 cover

The Irish girl group Buffalo G released a rap cover version of the song in 2000, reaching the top 20 in both the Irish and UK charts.

Shakespears Sister version[edit]

"Really Saying Something"
"Really Saying Something" cover
Promotional single by Shakespears Sister
Released April 2011 (2011-04)
Format CD single, digital download
Genre Pop, rock
Length 2:36
Label SF
Writer(s) Norman Whitfield, William "Mickey" Stevenson, and Edward Holland, Jr.

In late February 2011, Siobhan Fahey's current project, Shakespears Sister announced that they were releasing their own version of "Really Saying Something", as a special anniversary single, celebrating 30 years since Bananarama recorded their first single. The single was available exclusively on Shakespears Sister's web site as a digital download and a limited edition CD single.[4] Copies of the CD single are no longer in production, and it is now one of Shakespears Sister's rarest collectibles to date.

Track listing[edit]

  • CD single / Digital download[4]
  1. "Really Saying Something" — 2:36
  2. "A Loaded Gun" — 4:15
  • 2013 digital download[4]
  1. "Really Saying Something" — 2:36
  2. "A Loaded Gun" — 4:15
  3. "A Loaded Gun" (Early Version)


UK 7" single NANA1
  1. "Really Saying Something" 2:41
  2. "Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares" 2:44
US 7" single LD201
  1. "Really Saying Something" (US Version) 3:44
  2. "Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares" 2:44
UK 12" vinyl NANX1
  1. "Really Saying Something" (Extended Mix) 5:40
    Remixed by Fun Boy Three
  2. "Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares" (Extended Version) 4:25
UK 12" vinyl - stickered limited edition NANX1
  1. "Really Saying Something" (Extended Mix) 5:40
    Remixed by Fun Boy Three
  2. "Aie A Mwana" (Extended Version) 5:46
US 12" vinyl LLD101
  1. "Really Saying Something" (Extended US Version) 7:50
  2. "Aie A Mwana" (Extended US Version) 6:46
  3. "Aie A Mwana" (Dub Mix) 4:38
German 12" vinyl 6400 606
  1. "Really Saying Something" (Extended Mix) 5:40
  2. "Give Us Back Our Cheap Fares" (Extended Version) 4:25
2005 versions
  1. "Really Saying Something" (Solasso Mix) 5:58 Taken from the album Drama
  2. "Really Saying Something" (Solasso Radio Edit)
  3. "Really Saying Something" (Solasso Dirty Dub) 5:58
  4. "Really Saying Something" (Hardino Radio Edit)
  5. "Really Saying Something" (Hardino Remix) 6:20
  6. "Really Saying Something" (DJ Bomba & Soulseekerz Remix) 6:37
  7. "Really Saying Something" (Kenny Hayes Sunshine Funk Remix) 5:34
  8. "Really Saying Something" (Giresse Breakbeat Remix) 5:21
  9. "Really Saying Something" (Shanghai Surprise Radio Edit) 3:21
  10. "Really Saying Something" (Shanghai Surprise Club Mix) 6:44


Velvelettes version[edit]

Chart (1965) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 64
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles 21

Bananarama version[edit]

Chart (1982) Peak
UK Singles Chart[5] 5
US Billboard Dance/Disco Top 80 16
US Billboard Bubbling Under the Hot 100[6] 108
Australia (Kent Music Report)[7] 74
Dutch Singles chart 16

Buffalo G version[edit]

Chart (2000) Peak
UK Singles Chart 13
Irish Singles Chart 13


  1. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 4: 1964 [liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records
  2. ^ http://www.musicvf.com/song.php?title=He+Was+Really+Sayin%27+Something%27+by+The+Velvelettes&id=48020
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. 
  4. ^ a b c "Shop". Shakespears Sister. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  5. ^ "UK Official Charts: Bananarama". Officialcharts.com. Official Charts Company. 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2016. 
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1998). Bubbling Under Singles & Albums. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 24. ISBN 0-89820-128-4. 
  7. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). Sydney: Australian Chart Book. p. 25. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 

External links[edit]