Where Did Our Love Go
|"Where Did Our Love Go"|
|Single by The Supremes|
|from the album Where Did Our Love Go|
|B-side||"He Means the World to Me"|
|Released||June 17, 1964|
|Format||Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)|
|Recorded||April 8, 1964|
|Studio||Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)|
|The Supremes singles chronology|
|Where Did Our Love Go track listing|
"Where Did Our Love Go"
Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, "Where Did Our Love Go" was the first single by the Supremes to go to the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the United States, a spot it held for two weeks, from August 16 to August 29, 1964. It was also the first of five Supremes songs in a row to reach #1 (the others being "Baby Love", "Come See About Me", "Stop! In the Name of Love", and "Back in My Arms Again"). It also reached No. 1 on the Cash Box R&B singles chart.
The Supremes' version is ranked #475 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time and was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry in 2016 due to its "cultural, historic, or artistic significance." Billboard named the song #4 on its list of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time.
According to Brian Holland, "Where Did Our Love Go" was written with The Supremes in mind. Though Supremes member Mary Wilson would later write that the song had been originally given to The Marvelettes, Holland would deny this claim, as would the Marvelettes themselves. Marvelettes member Katherine Anderson-Schnaffer later said that the song didn't quite fit her group's repertoire because it was produced under a slower beat and their music was more uptempo. When the Supremes were eventually given the song, the group members weren't pleased with the record, with member Florence Ballard later stating that they had wanted a stronger single similar to the Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman". Although the group felt the song didn't have the hook to make it successful, they decided that they really didn't have a choice and prepared to record it.
Initially, the producers argued over who should sing the song, as it had been cut in the same key as Mary Wilson's voice but, since Berry Gordy had assigned the lead singer role to Diana Ross, the producers eventually gave the song to her; she sang it in her usual high register in the recording studio on April 8. As a result, Ross was told to sing the song in a lower register and begrudgingly complied with Holland/Dozier/Holland's "to the letter" formula. Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard's vocal contribution was significant in bringing a fresh yet hypnotic sexiness to the overall sound of the song while remaining true to the backup arrangements that Lamont Dozier had set down.
Upon hearing the song's playback, an excited Ross rushed to Gordy's office and told him to come to the studio to listen. Upon hearing playback, a satisfied Gordy nodded, saying to the producers and the group that the song had potential to be a top ten hit.
Release and reaction
"Where Did Our Love Go" was released as a single on June 17, 1964, and entered the Hot 100 at #77. Six weeks later, while the Supremes were on tour as part of Dick Clark's "American Bandstand Caravan of Stars", the song made it to #1 for two weeks, spending a total of 9 weeks in the Billboard Top Ten. The girls began the tour at the bottom of the bill; by the conclusion of the tour, they were at the top. They performed the song on the NBC variety program, Hullabaloo! on Tuesday, January 26, 1965.
The song became the focal point and title track of the group's second album, Where Did Our Love Go, released later that year. A German language version of it titled "Baby, Baby, wo ist unsere Liebe" was recorded by the Supremes for German-speaking markets overseas and released as the b-side to their German recording of "Moonlight and Kisses" in April 1965.
The song seemed to strike a chord in the United States, with a group which would become the most successful chart-topping American popular music group of the 1960s. The first of their American chart toppers, the song peaked just weeks after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, critically remarked as capturing the spirit of an America reeling from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, racial tension, increased United States involvement in Vietnam, and foreseeing the end of the early optimism of the 1960s.
- Lead vocals by Diana Ross
- Background vocals by Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson
- All instruments by The Funk Brothers
- In 1971, this song was covered by Donnie Elbert on his album Where Did Our Love Go, and charted at #15 with it. On the R&B chart, it peaked at #6. In Canada, it reached #55.
- In 1976, The J. Geils Band covered the song on their live 1976 album Blow Your Face Out, and also charted at #68 with it.
- In 1993 Sinitta released The Supreme EP which featured the song along with two other Supremes hits and the 1970 Diana Ross single "Remember Me". It charted at #49 in the UK.
- Benjaminson, Peter (2008). "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard". Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books. ISBN 1556527055.
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- 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: My Life As a Supreme". New York: Cooper Square Publishers. ISBN 0-8154-1000-X.
- Cosgrove, Stuart (2015). Detroit 67: The year that changed soul. Polygon. p. 72.
- John, Gilliland. "Show 26 - The Soul Reformation: Phase two, the Motown story. [Part 5]". Digital Library. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
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- Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942–2004. Record Research. p. 558.
- "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". RollingStone.com. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
- "New Entries to National Recording Registry". Loc.gov. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "100 Greatest Girl Group Songs of All Time: Critics' Picks". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2017.
- Unsung: The Marvelettes, TV One, 2012
- Benjaminson 2008, p. 65. sfn error: no target: CITEREFBenjaminson2008 (help)
- Unsung: Florence Ballard, TV One, 2010
- Hoffer, Jason; Mary Wilson. "Mary Wilson of the Supremes interview – Getting biographical with Mary Wilson (Part 2 of 2)" (audio). 1:52: Going Thru Vinyl Ltd. Retrieved 18 August 2012.CS1 maint: location (link)
- Host: George Hamilton (January 26, 1965). "Show #3". Hullabaloo. Season 1. Episode 3. Burbank, California. NBC. KNBC.
- Taraborrelli, J. Randy. Call Her Miss Ross ISBN 1-55972-006-9 pp 98
- Wilson, Mary (2018-04-02). "This interview with MARY WILSON was conducted by the Library of Congress on April 2, 2018" (PDF). U.S. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
People were playing it all over the world. Even NASA beamed it up to astronauts, Gordon Cooper and Peter Conrad, on Gemini 5, as they orbited around the earth.
- Liner notes. The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 4: 1964, Hip-O Select – B0005946-02, USA, 24 Feb 2006
- Flory, Andrew. ‘I Hear a Symphony: Motown and crossover R&B’, University of Michigan Press, 2017, USA, p222
- Leszczak, Bob (10 October 2013). Who Did It First?: Great Rhythm and Blues Cover Songs and Their Original Artists. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810888678. Retrieved 8 April 2018 – via Google Books.
- Donnie Elbert- Where Did Our Love Go (1971) album review by Andrew Hamilton, credits & releases at AllMusic
- "RPM Top 100 Singles - January 8, 1972" (PDF).
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1964-09-01. Retrieved 2020-04-14.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Where Did Our Love Go". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
- Flavour of New Zealand, 17 September 1964
- "Top 100 Hits of 1964/Top 100 Songs of 1964". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
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