Tuesday Temptations: You Really Got A Hold On Me
By: Bari Finkel
The first few weeks of December are a juggling act. It is hard not to drop all the balls when trying to remember an entire semester’s worth of knowledge for finals, finishing all that is needed to be done before vacation, and not to mention figuring out gifts for loved ones. Within this month, thoughts can be messy, information is jumbled together, and you might even confuse a cover song for an original song. This week I’m going to be easing three overwhelming early December stresses. By looking into the soft soulful rendition of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” you will gain the knowledge of a great song for studying, perhaps an addition to a mix cd for a gift, and you will find out who does the original and who did the covers.
In 1960, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were signed to Motown Records, and label was never quite the same. Though Robinson was just a teenager when he was signed, he was already composing the music that The Miracles were recording at Motown. Berry Gordy (the president and founder of Motown) saw Smokey as a promising young musician and businessman. Robinson soon became Vice President of Motown Records and one of the greatest American songwriters of all time. Smokey Robinson’s crisp tenor voice and The Miracle’s complex harmonies became a staple of Motown’s early sound.
In 1962, Robinson successfully wrote his second Top Ten on Billboard Hot 100 Chart hit, “You Really Got A Hold On Me” (the first being “Shop Around”). The quick, infamous staccato piano part distinguishes itself from the slow bellowing of the horns creating a beautifully composed love song. The close, precise harmonies are belted from the very core of Smokey Robinson on lead vocals and Bobby Rogers on co-lead vocals. Their cries deep love, where even being treated unfairly could not alter their emotions, are echoed by the backup vocalists Ronnie White and Peter Moore. Styled in identical suits and dancing with a rhythmic grapevine step, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles were the building blocks for many more Motown artists such as The Temptations (whom Smokey worked closely with). The guitar in this song truly makes the song memorable, leading to many noticeable covers.
Motown is a music that was not only popular on the R&B charts of its time; their relatable music was embraced by America. Country singers, other Motown artists, and most notably, The Beatles all covered “You Really Got A Hold On Me.” Because of its soothing music and loving lyrics, “You Really Got A Hold On Me” has remained one of my favorite songs and one of the most covered Motown songs out there.
“You Really Got A Hold On Me” by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles can be found on a number of greatest hits albums as well as the original album The Fabulous Miracles.
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