It's a Shame (The Spinners song)

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"It's a Shame"
Single by The Spinners
from the album 2nd Time Around
B-side "Together We Can Make Such Sweet Music" (1st ver.)
Released June 11, 1970
Recorded 1970, Golden World (Studio B)
(Detroit, Michigan)
Genre Soul
Length 3:12
Label V.I.P.
Writer(s) Stevie Wonder
Lee Garrett
Syreeta Wright
Producer(s) Stevie Wonder
The Spinners singles chronology
"Message from a Black Man"
"It's a Shame"
"We'll Have It Made"

"It's a Shame" is a song co-written by Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright and Lee Garrett and produced by Wonder as a single for The Spinners on Motown's V.I.P. Records label. The single became the Detroit-reared group's biggest single on the Motown Records company since they had signed with the company in 1964 and also their biggest hit in a decade.

The lineup of the Spinners include original members Pervis Jackson, Henry Fambrough, Billy Henderson and Bobby Smith and lead vocalist G.C. Cameron. The quintet recorded the single in 1970.

The song, which is about a man who complains about a lover's "messin' around" on him, became a huge hit for the group reaching number-fourteen on the Billboard Hot 100 and number-three on the R&B singles chart, making it their biggest hit to date. The song was the first song Wonder produced for another act by himself.

Two years later, the group would leave Motown for a contract with Atlantic Records on the advice of fellow Detroit native Aretha Franklin, also an artist on that label. Cameron, who was having an affair with Gwen Gordy (sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy) decided to stay in Motown and the group hired Cameron's cousin Philippé Wynne to replace him. Later, Cameron moved with the Gordys to Los Angeles, and stayed with Motown for over a decade.

Chart performance[edit]

Covers and samples[edit]

  • Jamaican reggae and rocksteady innovator Alton Ellis covered the song in 1971
  • Hip-hop group and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five included a cover version on their 1982 debut album The Message.
  • In 1990, the song was sampled and covered by rapper Monie Love with the hit song of the same name.
  • In 1994, the song was sampled for the remix of R. Kelly's "Summer Bunnies"
  • In 1988, the song was sampled for "Just say no" by Toddy Tee featuring Mix Master Spade
  • In 2002, Former 5ive member Abs Breen sampled the song for his single "Shame", which only received a release in Australia and New Zealand
  • In 2003, the song was covered by contemporary musician Paul Jackson, Jr. on the album, Still Small Voice.
  • The song "Try", recorded by Sounds of Blackness in both 1999 and 2005, reuses the melody of this song.
  • It was also sampled in Lethal Bizzle's song "Fire".
  • It was covered by Raphael Saadiq for the Levi's Pioneer Sessions in 2010.
  • It was performed in music video form during the closing credits of The Three Stooges by Sean Hayes, Will Sasso and Chris Diamantopoulos (who play the Stooges in the film) and Jennifer Hudson (who plays Sister Rosemary). The performance is credited to "The Spinners and The Three Stooges", but also includes uncredited vocals by Hudson.
  • The base of the reggae version by Alton Ellis is used by the Italian rap group Club Dogo in the track "Note Killer", from their first album "Mi Fist" of 2003.



External links[edit]