Tuesday Temptations: Diana Ross and The Supremes, “Baby Love”
By: Bari Finkel
The anticipation, cheer, and warmth of the holiday season has passed, leaving us with nothing but the remaining bitter cold months of winter. It seems cruel, but not all is lost. Tuesday Temptations is continuing to oblige by its rule to warm your soul with the classics even in the harshest of weather. With the help of The Funk Brothers’ instrumentals and Holland-Dozier-Holland’s songwriting talents, three women were able to burst through the projects of Detroit and land a record making twelve number one singles for Motown Records.
The Supremes, later known as Diana Ross and the Supremes, was one of the biggest groups to come out of Hittsville, USA. Their determination to become Motown’s next hit group drove them to become beyond Motown successful. Their songs were topping the national charts outside of just R&B. The first of their twelve US number one hits was “Where Did Our Love Go” which was followed by the Tuesday Temptation song of the week, “Baby Love” in 1964.
Though Motown songs often follow a pattern of hand clapping, “Baby Love” offers a different take on percussion. Listen closely in the beginning and you will hear the prominent sounds of foot stomping just before Diana Ross starts singing. Also different from other Motown acts is the lack of choreography in The Supremes act. Simply swaying side to side and snapping, The Supremes are able to beautifully harmonize as Ross takes lead in vocals. Though her voice sounds timid in this recording, Diana Ross is known as one of the most successful female singers of our time.
During this recording the group is called The Supremes but soon after their name is changed to Diana Ross and The Supremes because of her obvious lead vocal abilities. During the late 60’s many other Motown bands had their names changed so that when they were billed for a live performance they could be billed for two acts rather than one. This way, when someone would pay for The Supremes, they also were paying separately for Diana Ross (same with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles). The backing vocals of The Supremes in this video are by Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson, who carry the song with their echoing “baby”s and “don’t throw our love away”s. The compilation of The Funk Brothers, Wilson, Ballard and Ross leave no question behind as to why “Baby Love” was number one for four consecutive weeks as well as being number 324 on The Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
“Baby Love” can be found on a variety of Diana Ross and The Supremes’ greatest hits albums.
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