Love Child (song)

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"Love Child"
Single by Diana Ross & the Supremes
from the album Love Child
B-side"Will This Be the Day"
ReleasedSeptember 30, 1968
RecordedHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); September 17, September 19, and September 20, 1968
Length2:54 (album/single version )
3:14 (2003 remix)
M 1135
Songwriter(s)R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards
Producer(s)The Clan
(R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards) and Henry Cosby
Diana Ross & the Supremes singles chronology
"Some Things You Never Get Used To"
"Love Child"
"I'm Gonna Make You Love Me"
Love Child track listing
12 tracks
Side one
  1. "Love Child"
  2. "Keep an Eye"
  3. "How Long Has That Evening Train Been Gone"
  4. "Does Your Mama Know About Me"
  5. "Honey Bee (Keep on Stinging Me)"
  6. "Some Things You Never Get Used To"
Side two
  1. "He's My Sunny Boy"
  2. "You've Been So Wonderful to Me"
  3. "(Don't Break These) Chains of Love"
  4. "You Ain't Livin' Till You're Lovin'"
  5. "I'll Set You Free"
  6. "Can't Shake It Loose"
External media
"Love Child" (audio) on YouTube
"Love Child" (The Ed Sullivan Show, January 5, 1969) on YouTube
Alternative cover

"Love Child" is a 1968 song released by the Motown label for Diana Ross & the Supremes. The second single and title track from their album Love Child, it became the Supremes' 11th (and penultimate) number-one single in the United States, where it sold 500,000 copies in its first week and 2 million copies by year's end.[1]

The record took just three weeks to reach the Top Ten of Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart, which eventually it topped for two weeks (issues dated November 30 and December 7, 1968),[2][3] before being dethroned by an even bigger Motown single, Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine". "Love Child" also performed well on the soul chart — where it spent three weeks at no. 2 (behind Johnnie Taylor's "Who's Making Love") — and paved new ground for a major pop hit with its then-controversial subject matter of illegitimacy.[4] It is also the single that finally knocked the Beatles' "Hey Jude" off the top spot in the United States after its nine-week run. The Supremes debuted the dynamic and intense song on the season premiere of the CBS variety program The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday, September 29, 1968.[5][6] In Billboard's special 2015 chart of the Top 40 Biggest Girl Groups of All Time on the Billboard Hot 100, "Love Child" ranked highest among the Supremes' six entries.[7]



In 1967, Diana Ross & the Supremes dropped Florence Ballard, engaged new member Cindy Birdsong and added Ross's name to the billing. Following this string of changes, the Supremes had mixed success on the pop charts. "Reflections" peaked at no. 2 on the Billboard's Hot 100 and "In and Out of Love" peaked at 9, but the group's next two singles did not reach the Top 20.

This prompted Motown label chief Berry Gordy to hold a special meeting in a room at the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit, which was attended by a team of writers and producers at the label, including R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards, and Henry Cosby. The group, calling themselves the Clan, set to work on a hit single for Diana Ross & the Supremes. Instead of composing another love-based song, the team decided to craft a tune about a woman who is asking her boyfriend not to pressure her into sleeping with him, for fear they would conceive a "love child". The woman, portrayed on the record by Diana Ross, is herself a love child, and, besides not having a father at home, had to endure wearing rags to school and growing up in an "old, cold, run-down tenement slum." The background vocals echo this sentiment, asking the boyfriend to please "wait/wait won't you wait now/hold on/wait/just a little bit longer."

As was nearly always the case on singles released under the "Diana Ross & the Supremes" name, Supremes members Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong do not perform on the record; Motown session singers The Andantes performed the background vocals. All lead vocals were by Diana Ross, who would leave the group in a year for a solo career.

Reaction and response[edit]

The public responded immediately to "Love Child" when it was released as a single on September 30, 1968, reaching number one on Billboard's Hot 100 and becoming the third biggest selling Supremes' single behind "Baby Love" and "Someday We'll Be Together." The feat was repeated in Canada, where it also reached number one in the RPM 100 national singles chart.[8] In the UK singles chart, the record peaked at no. 15, and no. 3 in Australia. Given that the single spent a then lengthy 11 weeks in the Top Ten of Billboard's Hot 100 (the longest of any Supremes hit), its 1968 year-end ranking of 27 is low-seeming. But the ranking, which covers the period up to and including the issue dated December 14, 1968, is based on only nine of its 16 weeks on the Hot 100 (and four of the unused seven weeks were spent in the Top Ten). The track's parent LP Love Child was released on November 13, 1968.

Cash Box said that "Diana Ross clicks with a contemporary narrative message which (accompanied by up-tempo beat and pop arrangements) open up a new top forty image for the act."[9]

Track listing[edit]

  • 7" single (30 September 1968) (North America/United Kingdom)
  1. "Love Child" – 2:59
  2. "Will This Be the Day" – 2:50
  • 7" single (1968) (Netherlands)
  1. "Love Child" – 2:59
  2. "Misery Makes Its Home in My Heart " – 2:52


Chart history[edit]


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States 2,000,000[1]

Notable cover versions[edit]

Use in popular culture[edit]

In 1992, World Industries released a skateboard video entitled Love Child.[37] The soundtrack for the video consisted entirely of music from the late 1960s era (unusual for a skateboard video); the featured segment with Daewon Song was set to "Love Child" and after that, "One Bad Apple" by The Osmonds. To this day Love Child is considered one of the best skateboard videos ever made.[citation needed]

Taken from the 1993 album 'Janet.', the 1994 single You Want This by Janet Jackson opens with a prominent sample of the first bar of Love Child

In 1996, a foreign version of the song known as "Halila", performed by the artist Laladin, was featured in the Demi Moore film Striptease.

In 2003, the song was featured prominently in The Wire episode "Backwash".

In 2010 Korean-born American professional skateboarder Daewon Song recreated the first part of his Love Child run trick-for-trick for a DVS Shoes promotional video.[38]

In 2016, "Love Child" was featured on the in-game radio in Mafia III.[39]

See also[edit]


  • Chin, Brian and Nathan, David (2000). "Reflections Of..." The Supremes [CD Box Set]. New York: Motown Record Co./Universal Music.
  • Posner, Gerald (2002). Motown : Music, Money, Sex, and Power. New York: Random House. ISBN 0-375-50062-6.
  • Wilson, Mary and Romanowski, Patricia (1986, 1990, 2000). Dreamgirl & Supreme Faith: My Life as a Supreme. New York: Cooper Square Publishers. ISBN 0-8154-1000-X.


  1. ^ a b Joseph Murrells (1984). Million Selling Records from the 1900s to the 1980s: An Illustrated Directory. London: B.T. Batsford. p. 272. ISBN 0-7134-3843-6.
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 80, no. 48. Nielsen Company. 1968. p. 90. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 80, no. 49. Nielsen Company. 1968. p. 60. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  4. ^ "Show 50 - The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 6] : UNT Digital Library". University of North Texas. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  5. ^ Bronson, Fred: The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits, page 248. Billboard Books, 2003.
  6. ^ "Jefferson Airplane, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Red Skelton". The Ed Sullivan Show. Season 22. Episode 1. New York City. 29 September 1968. CBS. WCBS.
  7. ^ Lipshutz, Jason (2014-04-28). "Top 40 Girl Group Songs Of All Time". Billboard. Nielson Business Media, Inc. Retrieved 2015-02-28.
  8. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  9. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. October 12, 1968. p. 20. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  10. ^ "Go-Sets National Top 40". Go-Set. 22 January 1969. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  11. ^ "Every Unique AMR Top 100 Single of the 1968". Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5830." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  13. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Supremes". Irish Singles Chart.
  14. ^ "ホームシュープリームスシングル売上TOP1作品 | ORICON NEWS". Oricon (in Japanese). Retrieved December 4, 2022.
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Supremes The" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  16. ^ "Diana Ross & The Supremes – Love Child" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  17. ^ "Flavour of New Zealand: Diana Ross and The Supremes - Love Child" (1968) NZ Listner charts". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  18. ^ "Diana Ross And The Supremes - Se alla lȧtar och listplaceringer - NostalgiListan". Kvällstoppen (in Swedish). Retrieved January 30, 2022 – via
  19. ^ "Diana Ross & The Supremes – Love Child". Swiss Singles Chart.
  20. ^ "Supremes: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "BRITAIN'S TOP R&B SINGLES" (PDF). Record Mirror. December 7, 1968. p. 11. Retrieved October 31, 2021 – via
  22. ^ "The Supremes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  23. ^ "The Supremes Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  24. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Cashbox. December 7, 1968. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  25. ^ "The CASH BOX Top 50 In R&B Locations". Cashbox. November 30, 1968. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  26. ^ "100 TOP POPS: Week of December 14, 1968" (PDF). Record World. December 14, 1968. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  27. ^ "TOP 50 R&B: Week of December 14, 1968" (PDF). Record World. December 14, 1968. p. 35. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  28. ^ "Top 100 Singles: AMR Top Singles of 1968". Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 6 August 2021.
  29. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1968/Top 100 Songs of 1968". Retrieved 2016-10-02.
  31. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 17 July 2013. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  32. ^ "FOREIGN HITS IN JAPAN 1960-1969". Billboard. December 19, 1970. p. J-32. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
  33. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1969". Cashbox. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  34. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1969". Cashbox. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  35. ^ "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  36. ^ "Sweet Sensation - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  37. ^ Video on YouTube
  38. ^ "TransWorld SKATEboarding | Skateboard News, Videos, Photos and Events". Archived from the original on 2014-01-15. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  39. ^ "Mafia 3's Excellent Soundtrack Revealed, Contains These 100-Plus Songs". GameSpot. Retrieved 2021-07-10.

External links[edit]