Operator (Motown song)

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Single by Mary Wells
from the album Vintage Stock
A-side"Two Lovers"
Format7" single
M 1035
Songwriter(s)Smokey Robinson
Producer(s)Smokey Robinson
Single by Brenda Holloway
B-side"I'll Be Available"
Format7" single
T 54115
Songwriter(s)Smokey Robinson
Producer(s)Smokey Robinson
Brenda Holloway singles chronology
"When I'm Gone"
"You Can Cry On My Shoulder"

"Operator" is a Motown song recorded by Motown vocalists Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. The Wells version was the b-side to her top ten hit, "Two Lovers"[1] while Holloway's was issued as a single in 1965.[2]


Song information[edit]

In the song, written by Smokey Robinson of The Miracles, the narrator talks of wanting the phone operator to reach her boyfriend, who is supposedly on the other end of the line, but much to her chagrin, the operator is having problems reaching the other line, which reports static and throughout the difficulties, the narrator begs the operator to "put him on the line".

Chart status[edit]

Brenda Holloway's version of the song, which is produced under a more soulful rendition than Wells' teen pop-styled version from three years before, reached number 78 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 36 on the R&B singles chart.[3][4]

Chart Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 78
U.S. Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles 36


Mary Wells version[edit]

Brenda Holloway version[edit]


  1. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol 3: 1963 [CD liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records.
  2. ^ The Complete Motown Singles Vol 5: 1965 [CD liner notes]. New York: Hip-O Select/Motown/Universal Records.
  3. ^ Operator at AllMusic
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 8th Edition (Billboard Publications), page 289.