Hello, my friends, old and new! It's time for the continuation of the Motown countdown. We are still counting down the lower positions, but you will find both great songs, as well as big hits.
At #240 we find one of Motown's biggest superstars, the late, great, Marvin Gaye, with one of his many fine songs in the mid-1960s, Baby Don't You Do It (1964). It was a #27 hit on the Hot 100 and a #14 hit on the US R&B chart. Written by Motown's star songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, this song discusses a man who is at a standstill with his girlfriend, who he feels is neglecting his love stating "Don't break my heart/...I've tried to do my best". This is the original studio version:
A stage favorite of The Who from the 1964/65 era, this Marvin Gaye classic was perhaps an unusual choice for revival for Lifehouse. Played at the Young Vic and in the concert act for the remainder of 1971, this version was recorded at the Record Plant, New York on March 16, 1971. Leslie West (of Mountain) guested on lead guitar:
The song was also a favorite of the Band, being a regular concert staple of theirs. More importantly, the song appeared in one of the best music documentaries of all-time, Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz. If you haven't seen it, you should. This is the excerpt in question:
At #239 is another song written by Holland–Dozier–Holland. (I'm A) Road Runner was recorded by Jr. Walker & The All-Stars, it was released as a single in 1966 and reached the top twenty in both the US and the UK. Walker plays the distinctive tenor saxophone solo, backed by Mike Terry on baritone saxophone with Willie Woods on guitar. During production of the record, it was discovered that Walker could play the song only in two keys. So Walker sang in a key that he couldn't play, and after being recorded, the saxophone track was sped up to match.
The pictorial single sleeve used a running bird similar to the Road Runner cartoon character. Here it is:
Fleetwood Mac recorded the song with Dave Walker on lead vocals for their 1973 album Penguin:
James Taylor performed his version, in September 1976, in episode 1, season 2 of Saturday Night Live. Taylor also included the song on his 2008 album Covers:
Frank Wilson was one of Motown's busiest songwriters and record producers. His portfolio includes, among others, Stevie Wonder's Castles In The Sand, Brenda Holloway's You've Made Me So Very Happy, The Temptations' All I Need, Marvin Gaye's Chained, Diana Ross & the Supremes' Love Child, and The Four Tops' Still Water (Love).
Talk to a serious Motown 45s collector, and they'll bring up Frank Wilson's Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), the only single Wilson released before moving into songwriting and producing at Motown Records. According to the BBC, there are only two known copies left on Earth - Berry Gordy reportedly destroyed the rest. The record was discovered after being played in Britain's Northern Soul nightclubs in the 1970s. One copy fetched an astounding £25,742 at auction in 2009. This is the song, our #238:
Chris Clark also recorded for Motown. Clark became famous in England as the "white negress" (a nickname meant as a compliment), because the six-foot platinum blonde, blue-eyed soul singer toured with fellow Motown artists, who were predominantly black. Clark recorded a great cover version of the song:
At #237 is the theme from a successful movie, Franco Zeffirelli's Endless Love (1981). The film starred Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt. The film's theme song, a duet between Motown's most successful female act, Diana Ross, with the Commodores' frontman, Lionel Richie, who also wrote the song, was a huge US #1, spending 9 weeks at the top of the Hot 100. It was also a #1 hit in Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. It peaked at #7 in the UK:
A cover of the song by Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey was released in 1994 and peaked at #2 in the US. The song was also a success outside the US, reaching the top of the chart in New Zealand (for five weeks) and the top five in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands:
Finally for today, at #236, we find a song by the post-Diana Ross Supremes. Automatically Sunshine is a song written by Smokey Robinson and was released by The Supremes as the second single from their popular album Floy Joy in 1972. Mary Wilson and Jean Terrell shared lead vocals on this sexy number which should have charted higher - it peaked at #37 on the US Hot 100 and at #21 on the US R&B chart. It did make the top 10 in the UK though:
An American bossa nova/pop musical duo composed of Bill DeMain and Molly Felder, Swan Dive, covered the song in the 2000s:
Now, let's continue with last week's statistics; the pattern continues; after a rise, there is a fall. So it was this week, with a 3.5% drop over last week's visits. The second installment of the Motown countdown was less visited than the first - and the second part of the 1979 Oscars was also less visited than the first, which is strange, as it included a lot more information. The United States and Canada were the week's winning countries, while France and Turkey suffered minor losses. I'm happy to welcome Vietnam in the top 10 for the first time. The other major players kept their percentages more or less stable.
Here are this week's Top 10 countries:
1. the United States
2. the United Kingdom
Here are the other countries that graced us with their presence since our last statistics (alphabetically): Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Aruba, Austria, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, French Polynesia, FYR Of Macedonia, Ghana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kenya, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Venezuela, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Happy to have you all!
And here's the all-time Top 10:
1. the United States = 28.5%
2. France = 22.8%
3. the United Kingdom = 13.0%
4. Greece = 6.7%
5. Russia = 2.6%
6. Germany = 1.8%
7. Canada = 1.6%
8. Italy = 1.2%
9. Turkey = 0.95%
10. Cyprus = 0.87%
That's all for today, folks. Till the next one!