Never My Love
|"Never My Love"|
|Single by The Association|
|from the album Insight Out|
|B-side||"Requiem for the Masses"|
|Released||9 August 1967|
|Genre||Baroque pop, sunshine pop, psychedelic pop|
|Songwriter(s)||Don Addrisi, Dick Addrisi|
|The Association singles chronology|
|"Never My Love"|
|Single by The 5th Dimension|
|from the album The 5th Dimension/Live!!|
|Songwriter(s)||Don Addrisi, Dick Addrisi|
|The 5th Dimension singles chronology|
"Never My Love" is a pop standard written by American siblings Don and Dick Addrisi, and best known from a hit 1967 recording by The Association. The Addrisi Brothers had two Top 40 hits as recording artists, but their biggest success as songwriters was "Never My Love." Recorded by dozens of notable artists in the decades since, in 1999 the music publishing rights organization Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) announced it was the second most-played song on radio and television of the 20th century in the USA.
The first recording of "Never My Love" to achieve success was by The Association, an American sunshine pop band from California. Their version of the song, recorded with members of The Wrecking Crew, including Hal Blaine on drums, Joe Osborn on bass, Larry Knechtel on keyboards, and Al Casey and Mike Deasy on guitar, also including producer Bones Howe on tambourine, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, kept out of the number one spot by "The Letter" by The Box Tops, and hit number one on the Cashbox charts in October 1967, one of the band's five top-ten hits in the late 1960s. Their third #1 on the Cashbox Top 100 Singles Chart, following "Cherish" (1966) and "Windy" (1967), it was featured on the band's album Insight Out (1967). The song also reached number one in Canada's RPM charts.
By the time The Association's record was certified Gold by the RIAA for one million copies sold as of December 1967, Billboard noted that sixteen artists had recorded the song. Their third number one single had made them a top concert act and highly in demand by the TV variety series, specials, and talk shows that were a predominant format at the time, and they performed the hit on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Andy Williams Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Hollywood Palace, The Dean Martin Show, Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Hullabaloo, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Dick Cavett Show, The Joey Bishop Show, The Steve Allen Show, and a Carol Channing special.
AllMusic's Stewart Mason wrote of the "laid-back and dreamy" single with a "sleek and sophisticated" tune that "the dual lead vocals, by Terry Kirkman and Larry Ramos, are supported by wordless harmonies as effortlessly airy as whipped cream." Mason credited Ray Pohlman's "clever arrangement (with adding) space to the sound through juxtaposing disparate elements like the five-note bass riff that introduces the verses and the electric piano lick that ornaments the chorus, rather than jamming them on top of each other." Mason observed that it sounded "like Pohlman had been paying particular attention to Burt Bacharach's work with Dionne Warwick, a resemblance The 5th Dimension later amplified on their cover of the song."
- The Association
Notable cover versions
That cover by the American pop group The 5th Dimension was produced by the same man behind The Association's record, Bones Howe. Recorded live in 1971, their version reached number 12 on the Hot 100 in November of that year. The recording also hit number one on the Billboard Easy Listening chart, the group's fourth to top that chart, following "Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In" (1969), "Wedding Bell Blues" (1969), and "One Less Bell to Answer" (1970). The group's version of "Never My Love" reached #45 on the Billboard R&B chart. This version also hit #9 in the Canadian charts. Allmusic's Matthew Greenwald wrote of The 5th Dimension's single, "This version, a vocal solo from Marilyn McCoo, is a great vehicle for her powerful pop voice... A song that has one of the most direct, straightforward loving messages, it remains one of the most-played and performed songs of the pop era, and for good reason."
The Swedish rock band Blue Swede covered "Never My Love" in 1974. This version peaked at number seven on the Hot 100 and remained in the Top 40 for eight weeks and was the third hit version of the song. This version reached #7 in Canada. Their version was an upbeat take on the song.
The Addrisi Brothers themselves recorded the song three times: The first recording from 1970 remained unreleased until 2001, when Varèse Sarabande released the CD Never My Love - The Lost Album Sessions. The second recording was released as an album-track on their 1972 debut album We've Got To Get It On Again on Columbia Records. The third recording was released in late 1977 as a single on Buddah Records which peaked at number 80 on the Hot 100 and number 28 on Billboard's Easy Listening chart and was also included on their second album Addrisi Brothers.
Barry Manilow covered the song for his album Summer of '78 (1996). Additional versions of the song that reached the Billboard charts in the U.S. include The Sandpebbles (#98 pop, 1968); Vern Gosdin and Janie Fricke (#9 country, 1978); and Chill Factor (#62 R&B, 1988).
Other versions were recorded by popular artists as diverse as Hans Christian (a.k.a. Jon Anderson, Later of Yes) in 1968, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, Vikki Carr, Percy Faith, Peter Nero, The Four Tops, Lou Christie, Billy Crawford, Astrud Gilberto, Etta James, Steve Lawrence, Brenda Lee 1974, The Lennon Sisters, The Lettermen, The Sandpipers, David Hasselhoff, Pekinška Patka, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mathis, Della Reese, Smokey Robinson, Donny Hathaway, Tinkerbells Fairydust, Tom Scott, Sylvia, Cal Tjader, The Ventures, Kathy Troccoli, Andy Williams, Boris Gardiner, Sarah Vaughan, Vern Gosdin, Samantha Jones, Spencer Day. The Casuals
The Quebec crooner Raymond Berthiaume covered "Never My Love" in French (Non, non jamais) in 1968
Mexican band Los Freddy's covered "Never my Love" in 1968 as (Vuelve mi Amor) traduced by Arturo Cisneros in Spanish.
In 1999, the song was recognized as the second most-played song in history, with performances of more than seven million, according to BMI. The #2 rank on the Top 100 Songs of the Century, listing the most-played songs on American radio and television, placed "Never My Love" between the #1 song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'", written by Barry Mann, Phil Spector, and Cynthia Weil, and the #3 song "Yesterday" by Lennon–McCartney. BMI estimated that the song had received, as of 1999, what amounted to about 40 years of continuous airplay in its 32 years.
In August 2006, music critic David Raposa placed the song at #152 on Pitchfork's list of the 200 greatest songs of the 1960s, writing "While the Association’s happy-together harmonies might make them seem like just another chirpy pop group aching to be hoisted upon Charles Manson’s petard, there’s a wispy melancholy to “Never My Love” that lifts it above the rabble. This reassuring affirmation of amour is a California dream that knows the alarm could go off at any time, which, in a world of silly love songs, makes all the difference."
Television and film
In 2020, historical drama Outlander features this song during the opening of its season 5 finale episode, the episode also being titled "Never My Love".
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