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  1. #1

    Lamont Dozier Talks "Band Of Gold," Reimagination In New Interview

    Posted this Lamont Dozier interview yesterday:

    Many thanks to reese and marybrewster for sleuthing out the gospel singer who did "Reach Out" (BeBe Winans).

    Dozier talked a lot about the feelings behind the songs, and how he arrived at them. He would even break up with girls just so he could go through that experience and write a song about it. He and the Holland brothers covered so many topics so well, they had to get creative, like when they came up with the "honeymoon in separate rooms" story for "Band Of Gold." Was interesting to hear exactly what was going on in that story.

    He also talks about recording outside of the Motown confines for the first time. Los Angeles had plenty of great musicians, but Motwon had a familiarity that made these productions special. H-D-H used the same group of guys whenever possible.

    Reimagination is his latest album - a collection of his songs reinterpreted in ballad form with lots of guest musicians, including Cliff Richard, Graham Nash, Lee Ann Womack and Todd Rundgren.

  2. #2
    Thank you for this Ndugu!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ndugu View Post
    "honeymoon in separate rooms" story for "Band Of Gold." Was interesting to hear exactly what was going on in that story.
    You know, I always wondered what had gone on with that bride and groom. Many people thought (correctly, it turns out) that the groom couldn't perform because of his confused sexuality. Others thought he was banished from the bridal room by a wife who was frightened to the point of frigidity. Either way, it was a pretty bold concept for the time.

  4. #4
    Just goes to show you , you never know what to believe even if hearing it directly from the horses mouths.
    Lamont's telling of the storyline behind BAND OF GOLD is 180į different from what Ron Dunbar has said for years. RIP.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-23-2018 at 03:33 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Just goes to show you , you never know what to believe even if hearing it directly from the horses mouths.
    Lamont's telling of the storyline behind BAND OF GOLD is 180į different from what Ron Dunbar has said for years. RIP.
    How bizarre. When I researched it further, I see you're correct: Dunbar insisted that "hypothesis #2" was the real story. (Groom banished from the bridal chamber by a bride who was frightened to the point of frigidity.) How would someone not remember the back-story of a song he, himself, wrote? Dementia?

  6. #6
    Regardless of what Dunbar claims, the storyline “we kissed......but that night” makes no sense if she banished him. Why is she waiting in the darkness? I always thought it was cuz hubby was gay...... maybe Dunbar was a phobe and didn’t want to have “that” in his song. Maybe even hiding something in his own life - but whatever reason, it makes no sense the other way. I thought everyone knew that - it was talked about enough at the time.

  7. #7
    I had never thought about the lyrics like that, nor had I heard or read what they were about, so this is totally new to me! Wow!

  8. #8
    I'd always heard and read the frigidity theory and, though I bought it, I sometimes wondered if impotence was more the issue. Lamont Dozier's explanation is very enlightening.
    IMO either explanation serves the song well.
    For 1970, the impotence/gay theme was especially bold.
    Band of Gold has always been one of my favorites from Invictus/Hot Wax but now it sits at the top.

  9. #9
    I'm a little skeptical about the mythology that's built up around this song. Wasn't there supposed to be an extra/cut verse that would have "explained everything"? Did it every turn up as an outtake?

  10. #10
    According to Wikipedia (not always the most accurate source, of course)...

    "An earlier studio recorded version of the song includes some lyrics which were cut from the seven-inch single, which reveal the story as somewhat different. The couple were young, the girl was either a virgin or sexually inexperienced. She was still living at home ("You took me from the shelter of my mother"), the boy was her first boyfriend ("I had never known or loved any other"), and the relationship was probably unconsummated ("and love me like you tried before".) The couple rush into marriage and the relationship crashes on the wedding night, when the woman rejects her groom's advance ("And the night I turned you away" - an allusion that she was frigid), emotionally wounding him, resulting in him leaving her. After the hurt she had caused, they spend their wedding night in separate rooms. She then expresses her regret at her mistake ("And the dream of what love could be, if you were still here with me"). These (lyrics) were removed from the first verse: "And the memories of our wedding day, and the night I turned you away.” These were effectively substituted with, "And the memories of what love could be, if you were still here with me"; and a larger bridge - "Each night, I lie awake and I tell myself, the vows we made gave you the right, to have a love each night." - which is repeated again later in the song, cutting 18 seconds twice over from the song."

  11. #11
    I use Wiki for dates and things, but there’s a lot of spin as well. I think i’ll Stick with what Lamont says as it always made sense to me. I don’t know why he’d make it up.

  12. #12
    The alternate take that was issued on the 2CD Freda Payne set a few years ago: -



  13. #13
    Thanks for posting the video, Paul.

    Perhaps Dozier wanted to feature the gay male angle but he was shot down by his co-writer(s). The sexually inexperienced/frightened wife may have become the focus in a subsequent stage of the writing.

    "Gay Husband" is more headline grabbing than "Frightened Wife", so it doesn't surprise me that the former angle would be emphasised by Dozier or anyone else in discussing the song.

  14. #14
    Ron Dunbar has been on record for years as saying he was shocked when some people back then were telling him they heard a gay angle to this record as that had never been the point to the storyline. By numerous editings of the song to suit his satisfaction and to condense it for radio time, Ron realized he had eliminated key details of the song's story, leaving it vague. That's been his explanation for the entirety of his life and what would be his reason for making that up?

    The wrinkle to this that I find intriguing is that I'm not aware of Lamont Dozier commenting on this once, not in all these years. I've not seen anything, anyone else?

    Rob Dunbar passed away a couple of months ago and now this alternate version is now being expressed? Intriguing.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-25-2018 at 02:28 PM.

  15. #15
    Here's a 2015 quote from Lamont Dozier:

    Because we were contracted to Motown and were in court, we could only produce songs, not write them. So it’s credited: “R Dunbar - E Wayne”. Ron Dunbar was in our A&R department, Edythe Wayne also worked at the company. Neither were writers – we just had to put somebody’s name on the thing! Everyone knew it was really Holland-Dozier-Holland. Brian and I would come up with the tunes on the piano. I’d also do titles and themes, while Eddie would turn them into lyrics.

  16. #16
    Nothing specifically about BAND OF GOLD though?

  17. #17
    Lamont Dozier:
    The song is about two newlyweds working out their differences. The guy isnít sure he did the right thing getting married. Even though it was written by three young guys, itís from the womanís perspective. Because my father wasnít around, I was raised by women. I used to sit in my grandmotherís home beauty shop and listen to all the women while I was sweeping up hair. There were lots of stories about romantic disappointment, being mistreated. These stayed with me and went into our songs.
    smallworld - this is in that same interview. Just three years ago Lamont Dozier was being as ambiguous as the song itself.

    Added: Does the link Bradburger supplied of a longer version work for others? Doesn't play for me .Would love to hear it.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-25-2018 at 04:53 PM.

  18. #18
    Here's another link for the Alternate Version:

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by smallworld View Post
    Here's another link for the Alternate Version:

    Very, very different from, and weaker than, the released version. Dunbar said the released track required much cobbling-together of something like forty-odd different takes (and assorted lyrics!) before they got something which worked. (Even Freda couldn't make heads or tails of the meaning of the lyrics and was told, "Don't worry about that; just sing it.")

    My college roommate worked at the campus radio station and had gotten a promo of the released version, which he gave me about six months before it became a hit, so I had listened to it dozens of times before it hit the airwaves, and, to be honest, I never paid a lot of attention to the lyrics. I knew, of course, that it was about a gal getting abandoned by her new husband on their wedding night, but it didn't cause me to scratch my head.

    It was a quantum leap for Freda after "The Unhooked Generation," which I did like, but this song (along with the Chairmen's "Give Me Just A Little More Time") set the bar for Invictus — a bar which, to me, they never really surpassed.
    Last edited by BigAl; 06-26-2018 at 12:31 PM.

  20. #20
    I agree about those two records - they had as close as humanly possible to Levi, I suppose, Give Me would have been huge on The Tops.

    I love love love love having this version of BOG - it’s not as concise or strong as you say, but it is so interesting to hear what didn’t make it - and it’s not bad at all. Loving this thread.

  21. #21
    Isn’t the difference on the released version not Freda’s great delivery or the lyrics? I thought it was the backing singers who provided a great pillow of sound which underpinned the entire song from the very first moments. That’s what beefed it up for me...

  22. #22
    BigAl, enjoyed reading your personal experience regarding this record.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMotownManiac View Post

    I love love love love having this version of BOG - i
    I agree! 😎😎
    It's quite a learning experience, after fifty years of hearing this record a certain way , and now hearing this raw version and realizing how much work Ron Dunbar had cut out for him to cull from it what he did. It took a lot of editing and a lot of extracting (including that awkward bridge x2) & rearranging to come up with such a seemless tight product. Listening to the original, Ron is the real hero of this hit. And Freda Payne should be particularly grateful at how good she winds up sounding.. She's more often off than on in that original and Ron did a heck of a job of extracting and repeating the useable parts of her vocals.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 06-28-2018 at 02:45 AM.

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