Reach Out I'll Be There

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"Reach Out I'll Be There"
Four-tops-reach-out-1966.jpg
Artwork for US single
Single by the Four Tops
from the album Reach Out
B-side"Until You Love Someone"
ReleasedAugust 18, 1966
Format7" single
Recorded1966
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
GenreSoul
Length3:01
LabelMotown
Songwriter(s)Holland–Dozier–Holland[1]
Producer(s)Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier[1]
The Four Tops singles chronology
"Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"
(1966)
"Reach Out I'll Be There"
(1966)
"Standing in the Shadows of Love"
(1966)

"Reach Out I'll Be There" (also formatted as "Reach Out (I'll Be There)") is a song recorded by the Four Tops from their fourth studio album Reach Out (1967). Written and produced by Motown's main production team, Holland–Dozier–Holland,[2] the song is one of the best known Motown tunes of the 1960s, and is today considered The Tops' signature song.

It was the number one song on the Rhythm & Blues chart for two weeks,[3] and on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, from October 15–22, 1966. The track also reached number one in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Motown's second UK chart-topper after The Supremes' 1964 release "Baby Love".[4] It reached number one in October 1966, and stayed there for three weeks.[5]

Rolling Stone later ranked this version number 206 on its list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Billboard ranked the record as the number four song for 1966.[6]

Writing and recording[edit]

In 1966, Holland, Dozier and Holland were writing new songs for the Four Tops to record for an album. Lamont Dozier said that he wanted to write "a journey of emotions with sustained tension, like a bolero. To get this across, I alternated the keys, from a minor, Russian feel in the verse to a major, gospel feel in the chorus." He developed the lyrics with Eddie Holland, aiming for them to sound "as though they were being thrown down vocally". Dozier said that they were strongly influenced by Bob Dylan at the time, commenting: "We wanted Levi [Stubbs] to shout-sing the lyrics... as a shout-out to Dylan".[7]

For the recording, the writers and producers intentionally put Stubbs at the top of his vocal range, according to Abdul Fakir of the Four Tops, "to make sure he'd have that cry and hunger and wailing in his voice". Arranger Paul Riser overdubbed instruments including a piccolo and flute in the intro, and a drum pattern made by using timpani mallets on a tambourine head. After the recording was completed and on hearing the final version, the group begged Berry Gordy not to release it; according to Fakir, "for us, the song felt a little odd". However, Gordy insisted that it be issued as a single.[7]

Style[edit]

Lead singer Levi Stubbs delivers many of the lines in the song in a tone that some suggest straddles the line between singing and shouting,[2] as he did in 1965's "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)". AllMusic critic Ed Hogan praises Stubbs' vocal, as well as the song's "rock-solid groove" and "dramatic, semi-operatic tension and release."[8] Critic Martin Charles Strong calls the song "a soul symphony of epic proportions that remains [the Four Tops'] signature tune."[9]

In 2014, interviewed by The Guardian, Four Tops singer Duke Fakir said:

Eddie realised that when Levi hit the top of his vocal range, it sounded like someone hurting, so he made him sing right up there. Levi complained, but we knew he loved it. Every time they thought he was at the top, he would reach a little further until you could hear the tears in his voice. The line "Just look over your shoulder" was something he threw in spontaneously. Levi was very creative like that, always adding something extra from the heart.[10]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[32] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[33] Gold 500,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Diana Ross cover[edit]

"Reach Out I'll Be There"
Single by Diana Ross
from the album Surrender
B-side"(They Long To Be) Close to You"
Released1971
Format7" single
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
Length
  • 5:34 (album version)
  • 4:03 (single version)
LabelMotown
Songwriter(s)Holland–Dozier–Holland
Producer(s)Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson
Diana Ross singles chronology
"Remember Me"
(1970)
"Reach Out I'll Be There"
(1971)
"Surrender"
(1971)

Diana Ross covered "Reach Out, I'll Be There" in 1971.[34] Her version, which would be released from her LP Surrender, reached number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 35 in Canada.

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1971) Peak
position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[35] 35
US Billboard Hot 100[36] 29
US Best Selling Soul Singles[37] 17
US Cash Box[38] 19
US Easy Listening[39] 16

Gloria Gaynor cover[edit]

"Reach Out, I'll Be There"
Reach Out I'll Be There - Gloria Gaynor.jpg
Artwork for German single, also used for Portugal and Yugoslavian releases
Single by Gloria Gaynor
from the album Never Can Say Goodbye
B-side"Searchin'"
Released1975
FormatSingle
LabelMGM
Songwriter(s)Holland–Dozier–Holland
Gloria Gaynor singles chronology
"Never Can Say Goodbye"
(1974)
"Reach Out, I'll Be There"
(1975)
"Walk on By"
(1975)

"Reach Out, I'll Be There" was covered by Gloria Gaynor in 1975. It was the third of three singles released from her LP Never Can Say Goodbye.

Gaynor's version of "Reach Out, I'll Be There" became an international hit. It reached number 60 in the U.S. and number 16 in Canada. It did best in Europe, where it reached number 14 in the UK and number five in Germany.

Charts[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 105. ISBN 0-85112-250-7.
  2. ^ a b Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 50 – The Soul Reformation: Phase three, soul music at the summit. [Part 6]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 212.
  4. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 170. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  5. ^ "All The Number One Singles 1966". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Top 100 Hits for 1966". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  7. ^ a b Myers, Marc (2016). Anatomy of a Song. Grove Press. pp. 67–71. ISBN 978-1-61185-525-8.
  8. ^ "Reach Out (I'll Be There) – Song Review". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  9. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2004). The Great Rock Discography. Canongate. p. 556. ISBN 978-1-8419-5615-2.
  10. ^ Simpson, Dave (April 7, 2014). "The Four Tops: how we made Reach Out (I'll Be There)". The Guardian. Retrieved December 16, 2014.
  11. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989". Australian-charts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – The Four Tops – Reach Out I'll Be There" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  13. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5729." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Reach Out I'll Be There". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  15. ^ "Indice per Interprete: F" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Creative Commons. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – 4 Tops - Reach Out I'll Be There" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  17. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – The Four Tops – Reach Out I'll Be There" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  18. ^ "Search listener". Flavour of New Zealand. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  20. ^ a b "The Four Tops – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  21. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending OCTOBER 15, 1966". Archived from the original on October 4, 2012.. Cash Box.
  22. ^ "100 Top Pops" (PDF). Record World. October 15, 1966. p. 19. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – The Four Tops – Reach Out I'll Be There". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved February 28, 2019. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON The Four Tops"
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Reach Out". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  25. ^ "[1988&cat=s Charts.nz – The Four Tops – Reach Out I'll Be There [1988]"]. Top 40 Singles. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  26. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  27. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 1793." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  28. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1966" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  29. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1966" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  30. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1966". Archived from the original on October 4, 2012.. Cash Box.
  31. ^ "The RPM Top 100 A\C Tracks of 1993". RPM. Vol. 58 no. 23. Library and Archives Canada. December 18, 1993. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  32. ^ "British single certifications – Four Tops – Reach Out I'll Be There". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved March 1, 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Type Reach Out I'll Be There in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  33. ^ "American single certifications – The Four Tops – Reach Out, I'll Be There". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved March 1, 2019. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  34. ^ "Spotlight Singles". Billboard. April 24, 1971. p. 56. ISSN 0006-2510.
  35. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5390." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  36. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. May 29, 1971. p. 68. ISSN 0006-2510.
  37. ^ "Best Selling Soul Singles". Billboard. May 22, 1971. p. 32. ISSN 0006-2510.
  38. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles: Week ending JUNE 5, 1971". Cash Box. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012.
  39. ^ "Top 40 Easy Listening". Billboard. June 5, 1971. p. 32. ISSN 0006-2510.
  40. ^ "Forum – ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts – CHART POSITIONS PRE 1989, part 2". Australian-charts.com. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  41. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Gloria Gaynor – Reach Out, I'll Be There" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  42. ^ "Ultratop.be – Gloria Gaynor – Reach Out, I'll Be There" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  43. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 3962a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  44. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 16, 1975" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  45. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Gloria Gaynor – Reach Out, I'll Be There" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  46. ^ "South African Rock Lists Website SA Charts 1969 – 1989 Acts (G)". Rock.co.za. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  47. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  48. ^ a b c "Gloria Gaynor – Awards". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 2, 2016.
  49. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending APRIL 12, 1975". Cash Box. Archived from the original on October 3, 2012.
  50. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Gloria Gaynor – Reach Out, I'll Be There". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 1 January 2018. To see peak chart position, click "TITEL VON Gloria Gaynor"
  51. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1975" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  52. ^ "1975 Wrap Up". RPM. Vol. 24 no. 14. December 27, 1975. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  53. ^ "Jahrescharts – 1975". Offiziellecharts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Archived from the original on May 9, 2015.
  54. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1975" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  55. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1975" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Hung Medien. Retrieved August 6, 2018.
  56. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 0-89820-142-X.

External links[edit]