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  1. What does "Stairway To Heaven" have to do with "I Can't Believe You Love Me"?

    I've always been a huge fan of Tammi Terrell's "I Can't Believe You Love Me" but one thing that's always driven me nuts is trying to figure out what was going on in those breaks where everything sort of stops, then you have just the bass and guitar playing what sounds like an oddly-timed riff. I could never figure out if this was some kind of 3/3 or 3/4 or whatever time signature if my ears was just making it more complex than it really was.

    I asked a friend who is a musician and really knows about writing music and time signatures and he said it just sounds like a 4/4 time, nothing unusual. Well, now that really confused me, because since there is no drum going, that part seems to just get me disoriented as far as where the beat is supposed to be. This has been going on for years.

    Tonight, by coincidence, I see a YouTube video entitled "Where's The Beat" and it's about the break in Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" where there is no drum, just guitar. The poster discusses how nearly every musician and group plays this part wrong because they aren't quite getting where the downbeat is. He then goes on to discuss at great length the difference between an "upbeat" and a "downbeat." Very interesting. Well, I need to watch it a few more times because a lot of it still went over my head BUT, at the same time, something clicked.

    I listened to "I Can't Believe You Love Me" and, applying what I learned about upbeats and downbeats, I now think I've figured out my problem is that my perception in the beat is being thrown off because there is no drum to map out the downbeat. I think what's going on during those breaks is the either the bass and guitar is switching up and playing on the "UPBEAT" and then going back to playing on the "DOWNBEAT" or vice-versa. Or, I'm just completely out of my mind on this whole thing!

    Yes, this is such a little thing, but it has intrigued the heck out of me all these years. I've never heard a riff like this one anywhere else, and The Funk Brothers play it like they are eating candy. Who came up with this odd little riff- was it spur of the moment or did the songwriters specifically ask for it.

  2. A GREAT commentary on this song. Oh how I miss not getting new posts from this guy...
    https://motownjunkies.co.uk/2014/01/11/656/

  3. #3
    So now you listen to it differently, not like before. No downbeats or Elgin's.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    So now you listen to it differently, not like before. No downbeats or Elgin's.
    I see what you just did there...very clever. VERY!

  5. #5
    Well WaitingWatching, I agree, this song definitely has something about it. It's very distinctive. Especially those breaks.

    You know I don't think I liked the track that much when I first listened to it. (Think I might have read that review where the guy gave it a '9' beforehand ) I'd say it's one of those you need to give a few listens to appreciate.

    Just listened to "Stairway To Heaven" for the first time and yes I hear the similarity in guitar too!!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Just listened to "Stairway To Heaven" for the first time and yes I hear the similarity in guitar too!!
    Holy moly that's one hell of a song. I even listened to the whole thing. Not sure I'll be revisiting it any time soon though

  7. Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Well WaitingWatching, I agree, this song definitely has something about it. It's very distinctive. Especially those breaks.

    You know I don't think I liked the track that much when I first listened to it. (Think I might have read that review where the guy gave it a '9' beforehand ) I'd say it's one of those you need to give a few listens to appreciate.

    Just listened to "Stairway To Heaven" for the first time and yes I hear the similarity in guitar too!!
    I really liked the song, but to me, it struck me as a song that I'd never peg as being a contender for #1, but still one of those tunes you like regardless of chart potential. It is a challenging song for certain and I'll be it gave a lot of people pause, like "what IS this?"

    Some songs are across-the-board favorites that you just like instantly, while others sort of split the audience: some will love it at first listen, others, like you said, will require some time just to warm up to it! I can see this one as being the latter type of a song.

  8. Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Holy moly that's one hell of a song. I even listened to the whole thing. Not sure I'll be revisiting it any time soon though
    Yes.... it is a bit of a test of a listener's stamina! One of those things you appreciate artistically more than you actually enjoy it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    Yes.... it is a bit of a test of a listener's stamina! One of those things you appreciate artistically more than you actually enjoy it.
    Yes, exactly WW! Musically impressive but not really enjoyable, for me anyway.

  10. #10
    "I Can't Believe You Love Me" is a class song (easily worth 9/10). The whole "Irresistible" album is very enjoyable - one of Motown's very best IMHO. It hangs together really well.

    For me, grafting Marvin Gaye's vocal on to Tammi's recording of ICBYLM kinda spoilt it but at the time it was a needs must. I suspect it would have been a good song for Barbara McNair. The song always reminded me of something else from around that time but to this day I don't think I've figured out what. Not many solo Tammi's on the 16 Big Hits series, but this was one of them.
    Last edited by mysterysinger; 11-25-2018 at 04:31 AM.

  11. #11
    I don't know if anyone else agrees with me, but Tammi Terrell's Motown singles material always reminded me of the stuff Teddy Randazzo was writing.

  12. Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    "I Can't Believe You Love Me" is a class song (easily worth 9/10). The whole "Irresistible" album is very enjoyable - one of Motown's very best IMHO. It hangs together really well.

    For me, grafting Marvin Gaye's vocal on to Tammi's recording of ICBYLM kinda spoilt it but at the time it was a needs must. I suspect it would have been a good song for Barbara McNair. The song always reminded me of something else from around that time but to this day I don't think I've figured out what. Not many solo Tammi's on the 16 Big Hits series, but this was one of them.
    What made me scratch my head about how they turned this song into another duet was when the discovery was made of Marvin and Tammi duetting on "We'll Be Satisfied." Why wasn't that one used as it seemed more of a genuine duet, AND it was something original as opposed to retrofitting an existing song. I guess this sort of second-guessing could go on forever, but I wasn't too keen either on the duet version of ICBYLM.

    And while we're at it..."All I Do Is Think About You," "My Heart." HOW IN THE WORLD DID THOSE GET SHELVED?

  13. #13
    I first heard "I Can't Believe You Love Me" as a duet.

    It was released in the UK as the B-Side of "The Onion Song", which itself was a smash hit in the UK and a truly joyous track.

    I really liked the duet and was surprised many years later to find out that this was a rehash of a Tammi solo outing with the verses running in reverse order and with Marvin's vocal simply dubbed on.

    Because I know the duet version so well, however, I always find myself missing Marvin when I hear the original Tammi solo version.

    I must admit, however, that both versions make me want to sing along.

    Great track!!!

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