It's the Same Old Song
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|"It's the Same Old Song"|
|Single by Four Tops|
|from the album Four Tops' Second Album|
|B-side||"Baby I Need Your Lovin'" (Netherlands); "Your Love Is Amazing" (selected countries, namely in the West German, American and Australian markets); "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" (on one copy in the UK)|
|Released||July 9, 1965|
|Recorded||Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); July 8, 1965|
|Four Tops singles chronology|
"It's the Same Old Song" is a 1965 hit single recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song is today one of The Tops' signature songs, and was notably created—from initial concept to commercial release—in 24 hours. It reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart. It also reached #34 in the UK.
Writing and recording
After "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" hit #1 in June 1965, The Four Tops' former label, Columbia Records, wanting to cash in on the group's success, re-released the Tops' 1960 Columbia single "Ain't That Love". Berry Gordy ordered that a new Four Tops single had to be released within a day's time.
At 3 o'clock that afternoon, the Holland brothers and Lamont Dozier wrote "It's the Same Old Song". Four Tops tenor Abdul "Duke" Fakir recalled:
|“||Lamont Dozier and I were both a little tipsy and he was changing the channels on the radio. He said, 'It sounds like the same old song.' And then he said, "Wait a minute." So he took "I Can't Help Myself" and reversed it using the same chord changes. The next day, we went to the studio and recorded it, and then they put it on acetate and released to radio stations across the country." ||”|
The engineering team worked around the clock perfecting the single's mix and making hand-cut vinyl records so that Berry Gordy's sister Esther in the Artist Development department could critique them and select the best ones for single release. By 3 P.M. the next day, 1500 copies of "It's the Same Song" had been delivered to radio DJs across the country, and the song eventually made it to number five on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number two on the R&B chart.
"It's the Same Old Song" is very similar in melody and chord progressions to "I Can't Help Myself", which in turn is even more similar in melody and chord progressions to "Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes, who also covered "It's The Same Old Song" in 1967. Critic Maury Dean disputes that there is much in common with "I Can't Help Myself," saying that it is "a dynamic NEW treatment, with just a hint of Benny Benjamin's thundering drums echoing" "I Can't Help Myself."
Allmusic critic Ron Wynn calls "It's the Same Old Song" "a tidy little number" with "one of the greatest lyrical hooks -- and titles -- ever." Fellow critic Steve Leggett calls it "wise beyond its era."
Pop music writers and bloggers have noted the similarity of the song's main instrumental riff with the marimba riff in the Rolling Stones song "Under My Thumb" which was first released almost a year later, on April 15, 1966, as part of their album Aftermath. 
In 1975 The Armada Orchestra included an instrumental version on their debut self-titled LP.
- The group appeared in a 1997 Velveeta Shells & Cheese commercial when they spoofed the song to "Not The Same Old Side."
- The song appears in the 1984 Coen Brothers film Blood Simple, in both the 99-minute theatrical release and the 96-minute 2001 and 2008 DVD releases. The song is not featured on the official soundtrack for the film, and is not on the 1995 99-minute VHS release.
- Lead vocals by Levi Stubbs
- Background vocals by Abdul "Duke" Fakir, Renaldo "Obie" Benson, Lawrence Payton, and The Andantes: Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps
- Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (strings)
- Written by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr.
- Produced by Brian Holland and Lamont Dozier
- "It's the Same Old Song The Four Tops - 45cat Search". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 25 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 4]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu.
- "Four Tops Awards". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- "Four Tops charts". officialcharts.com. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
- Bronson, F. (1997). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits. Billboard Books. p. 209. ISBN 0823076415.
- "The Four Tops". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
- Dean, M. (2003). Rock 'n' Roll Gold Rush. Algora. p. 164. ISBN 0875862071.
- Wynn, R. "Second Album". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- Leggett, S. "The Definitive Collection". Allmusic. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
- Beckett, david (March 27, 2013). "Blood Simple – Director's Cut (2013) DVD". Film 365.
- Dennis, Robert (1998). Our Motown Recording Heritage, Part 3: Emergency Release. Recordingeq.com.