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|
|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. The BBC ranked "Where Did Our Love Go" at number 59 on The Top 100 Digital Motown Chart, which ranks Motown releases by their all time UK downloads and streams.
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 did not 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 were not 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 did not have the hook to make it successful, they decided that they had no 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 fresh yet smooth tones 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 struck a chord in the United States, with a group which would become the most successful chart-topping American popular music group of the 1960s. Billboard described the song as having an "unbeatable beat" and a "true rockin'-blues groove." 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 John F. Kennedy, racial tension, and a harbinger of 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.
- In 1981, Soft Cell covered the song in a medley with "Tainted Love" on their album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. It charted #1 in the UK.
Digital sales and streams only
- Benjaminson, Peter (2008). "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard". Chicago: Lawrence Hill Books. ISBN 1556527055.
- 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: 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.
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 76 (34): 20. 1964. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Nielsen Company. 76 (35): 22. 1964. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- 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.[dead link]
- "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.
- "The Top 100 Digital Motown Chart". BBC. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
- 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.
- "Singles Reviews" (PDF). Billboard. July 4, 1964. p. 18. Retrieved 2021-05-01.
- 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).
- "Every Unique AMR Top 100 Single of the 1964". Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- "The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
- "The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go" (in French). Ultratop 50.
- "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4713." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
- "The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts.
- "Billboard HITS OF THE WORLD". Billboard. 7 November 1964. p. 28.
- "The Irish Charts – Search Results – The Supremes". Irish Singles Chart.
- "The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
- "flavour of new zealand - search lever". Flavour of New Zealand.
- "The Supremes – Where Did Our Love Go". VG-lista.
- "Billboard HITS OF THE WORLD". Billboard. 7 November 1964. p. 29.
- "Supremes: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
- "The Supremes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
- "The Supremes Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
- "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Cashbox. August 29, 1964. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- "The CASH BOX Top 50 In R&B Locations". Cashbox. September 5, 1964. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- "100 TOP POPS: Week of August 22, 1964" (PDF). Record World. worldradiohistory.com. August 22, 1964. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
- "TOP 40 R&B: Week of August 15, 1964" (PDF). Record World. worldradiohistory.com. August 15, 1964. p. 21. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
- "The Supremes Chart History (R&B Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via Billboard.com.
- "The Supremes Chart History (R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 23 February 2021 – via Billboard.com.
- "FOREIGN HITS IN JAPAN 1960-1969". Billboard. December 19, 1970. p. J-32. Retrieved 2016-09-27.
- "Top 100 1964 - UK Music Charts". uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
- "TOP RECORDS OF 1964". Billboard. January 2, 1965. p. 6. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1964". Cashbox. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1964". Cashbox. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
- "Billboard Hot 100 60th Anniversary Interactive Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
- "The Supremes Chart History | Billboard (GREATEST OF ALL TIME SONGS OF THE SUMMER)". Billboard. Retrieved 22 August 2021.
- Copsey, Rob (August 26, 2019). "The Official Top 100 Motown songs of the Millennium". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
- MAKE IT BIG first girl vocal trio to make million-seller record list with three consecutive hits. Ebony. 20. Johnson Publishing Company. June 1965. p. 81. ISSN 0012-9011. Retrieved 23 January 2020.