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
ReleasedNovember 4, 1964
RecordedJuly 24, 1964
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
Marvin Gaye singles chronology
"What Good Am I Without You"
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
"I'll Be Doggone"
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - Marvin Gaye" on YouTube

"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" is a song recorded by American soul singer Marvin Gaye from his fifth studio album of the same name (1965). It was written in 1964 by the Motown songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, and produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier. The song title was inspired by one of the actor and comedian Jackie Gleason's signature phrases, "How Sweet It Is!" [citation needed]

Marvin Gaye version[edit]

Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier, the song was released as a single in September 1964. It peaked at number six on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in January 1965 and at number three on US 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 various instruments, including piano and percussion. Gaye also released a German-language version of the song entitled "Wie Schön Das Ist".

Cash Box described it as "a medium-paced, rollicking chorus-backed ode about a fella who's on top of the world since he met up with Miss Right."[4] 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.[5] Ankeny commented on the soulfulness of the song, and particularly noted the piano riff.[5]

Gaye's recording has subsequently been released on many greatest hits albums.[5]


Chart history[edit]

James Taylor version[edit]

"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
Single by James Taylor
from the album Gorilla
B-side"Sarah Maria"
ReleasedJune 1975
GenreSoft rock, blue-eyed soul
LabelWarner Bros.
Producer(s)Russ Titelman, Lenny Waronker
James Taylor singles chronology
"Walking Man"
"How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)"
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) - James Taylor" on YouTube

James Taylor released his version of "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)" as the lead single from his album Gorilla (1975).[11] Taylor's 1975 single has been the most successful remake of the song to date, hitting number one on the Easy Listening chart and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.[12] In addition to James Taylor on lead vocals and guitar, other personnel include his then-wife Carly Simon on harmony vocals, Danny Kortchmar on guitar, David Sanborn on saxophone, Clarence McDonald on piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano and possibly ARP String Ensemble, Lee Sklar on bass guitar and both Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel on drums with Kunkel doubling on tambourine.[13] Author Ian Halperin believes that the song was included on Gorilla as a tribute to Simon, who was then his wife.[14] It was produced by Lenny Waronker and Russ Titelman.[14] After his success with "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)," Taylor continued to record R&B hits applying his soft rock approach.[11]

Rolling Stone critic Bud Scoppa described Taylor's version as "a relaxed rendition" and considered it to be Taylor's way of acknowledging Gaye as a source of inspiration for Taylor's romantic point of view at the time.[15] Music critic Robert Christgau regarded Taylor's version as a "desecration of Marvin Gaye."[16] Taylor biographer Timothy White described it as "music for the park on Sunday."[13] Cash Box said that the "orchestration is tastefully executed" and that "vocally Taylor puts an oh so mellow coating to this surefire winner."[17]

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).[18][19][20][21] Live versions have been included on Live and Live at the Beacon Theater.



Chart history[edit]

Other versions[edit]

In 1966, Junior Walker & the All Stars released the song as a single, which reached number 3 on the R&B Singles chart and No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. According to Jason Ankeny of AllMusic, this version makes up in grit what it lacks in Gaye's grace, increasing the "celebratory" feel of the song.[5] Ankeny described the version as "a rollicking floor-shaker fueled by his smoldering saxophone."[5] The drums are played by James Graves (1941-1967).[32] The song was also recorded by Michael Bublé & featured regularly in Jerry Garcia Band sets. There is also a fine a cappella arrangement of the song for four voices by Kirby Shaw.

Tyrone Davis also did a version in 1980 that was released as a single from the "I just can't keep on going" album. The track was produced by Leo Graham and released on Columbia Records.

In popular culture[edit]

Parts of the song, mainly the chorus, are used in Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, sung by Katie Primm, played by Constance Wu to her stepson, Josh, at the wedding of her and Joseph (Scoot McNairy), in videos on her phone that she watches as she gets sad about Josh growing up. It is then reprised by the title character, voiced by Shawn Mendes, in an attempt to show Katie that he isn't as harmful as she initially thinks, though she still doesn't accept it at first.


  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. University of North Texas Libraries.
  4. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. November 21, 1964. p. 30. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  5. ^ a b c d e Ankeny, J. "How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)". AllMusic. Retrieved 2014-04-14.
  6. ^ "UK Official Singles Chart". UK Official Charts Company. December 16, 1964. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  7. ^ a b Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  8. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Chart - Billboard". Billboard. January 9, 1965. Retrieved March 2, 2019.
  9. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 Singles, January 30, 1965". Retrieved 18 April 2018.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1965/Top 100 Songs of 1965". Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Ruhlmann, W. "Gorilla". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 239.
  13. ^ a b White, T. (2009). Long Ago and Far Away. Omnibus Press. pp. 233–235. ISBN 9780857120069.
  14. ^ a b Halperin, I. (2003). Fire and Rain: The James Taylor Story. Citadel. pp. 166–167. ISBN 978-0806523484.
  15. ^ Scoppa, B. (July 17, 1975). "Gorilla". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  16. ^ Christgau, R. "James Taylor". Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  17. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. June 21, 1975. p. 22. Retrieved 2021-12-11.
  18. ^ Ruhlmann, W. "Greatest Hits". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  19. ^ Woodstra, C. "Classic Songs". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  20. ^ Jurek, T. "The Best of James Taylor". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  21. ^ Collar, M. "The Essential James Taylor". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  22. ^ "Classic Tracks: "How Sweet It Is (to Be Loved by You)"". 16 November 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  23. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. Australian Chart Book, St Ives, N.S.W. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  24. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". 1975-09-06. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
  25. ^ "RPM Weekly Top Singles August 23, 1975 (Volume 23, No. 26)". Library and Archives Canada. RPM Weekly (archived). 2013-07-17. Archived from the original on February 12, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  26. ^ New Zealand Top 40 Singles, 20 October 1975
  27. ^ "Adult Contemporary Chart - Billboard", Billboard, retrieved January 10, 2017
  28. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 8/16/75". Archived from the original on 20 June 2015. Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  29. ^ Lyttle, Brendan (2013-07-17). "Top 200 Singles of 1975". Library and Archives Canada. RPM Weekly (archived). Retrieved February 25, 2018.
  30. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1975/Top 100 Songs of 1975". Retrieved 20 August 2017.
  31. ^ "The Cash Box Year-End Charts - 1975". December 27, 1975. Archived from the original on October 22, 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  32. ^ Talevski, Nick (7 April 2010). Rock Obituaries - Knocking On Heaven's Door. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857121172. Retrieved August 20, 2017 – via Google Books.