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  1. #1

    Marvelettes ..Where Did Our Love Go

    Everyone has gone round and round if HDH wanted them to record this. If they had would we all be talking about them today as we do the Supremes?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Everyone has gone round and round if HDH wanted them to record this. If they had would we all be talking about them today as we do the Supremes?
    Was Diana Ross their lead singer? So the answer is no!! Diana Ross‘s voice was key to their cross over commercial success. IMO.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    Everyone has gone round and round if HDH wanted them to record this. If they had would we all be talking about them today as we do the Supremes?
    Possibly. The Marvelettes would have gotten the support from Motown that the Supremes enjoyed. I think the Supremes would have eventually gotten a hit, but there would not have been a big company push for it anymore. Well, unless Diane Ross continued to pursue Mr. Gordy and was successful at "landing him".

  4. #4
    The Marvelettes had the work ethic of Mary Wilson - so even if they had a magical, commercial voice - it wouldn't have made a lot of difference.

  5. #5
    At this point Motown had already shifted focus off of the marvelettes and onto The vandellas. But Gordy was still wanting to find SOMETHING to make a hit w the sups on because he felt from the beginning that Diana was special. That she could be his ticket to cross-over success.

  6. #6
    I am not sure the story of giving the song to the Marvelettes is even true. There was a story once that it was in hopes of having Mary Wilson sing it. I think when "lovelights" made a noise on the charts that Berry assigned HDH to the girls.

  7. #7
    Well first I would like to say The Marvelettes are my favorite group, IMO they give us here on the boards the most potential to discuss. Sure at the age of 16 - 17 I was a Supremes fan and the falling down came with "Forever came today", I love this track very much and I was very dissapointed as I noticed it was a Diana solo number.

    I would be very interested in how Gladys would have sung the song. The Marvelettes were stars at this time at Motown, on the other hand we had the No-Hit-Supremes and then The Diana-Berry connection

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by captainjames View Post
    I am not sure the story of giving the song to the Marvelettes is even true. There was a story once that it was in hopes of having Mary Wilson sing it. I think when "lovelights" made a noise on the charts that Berry assigned HDH to the girls.
    It was Eddie Holland who had wanted Mary to sing the lead on "Where Did Our Love Go".
    Fate is indeed a fickle thing. It could have so easily ended up being Mary Wilson & The Supremes.......

  9. #9
    I don't think we would be talking about the Marvelettes in any other way than we currently talk about them. They were never gonna be as big as the Supremes eventually were for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Marvelettes' marketability wasn't anywhere near as "mainstream" as the Supremes, or even Martha and the V's for that matter. Sure, they might have gone all the way to number one with WDOLG, but could they sale five number one songs in a row? What about image? The Supremes had a number of things that worked in their favor:

    Diana Ross was the lead singer, all three had an eye for high fashion and glamour, they were a true vocal group whose core was great harmony (a necessary asset when performing the MOR stuff in nightclubs and hotels), they embodied the girls next door image that was popular among the young record buying public.

    The Marvelettes were sort of the female version of the Contours IMO. They were r&b to the core. As good as the Contours were, they were never gonna be the Temptations because they lacked many of the things that made the Tempts so appealing to so many. Same with the Marvelettes. They lacked too many of the things that made the Supremes such an attractive experience.

    I also don't think that if Mary had sung lead on WDOLG that the group was ever headed for the fate of Mary Wilson and the Supremes. Had Mary taken the song to number one- and I think it's possible she may have been able to do it- the fact remains that Diana Ross was the member who was the key to the success. She wasn't the only necessary part- I'll always maintain that the story of the Supremes would be different if Diana were in the group with Roz and Annette or Betty or any other Motown lady, thus Flo and Mary were integral to the success also- but she was that one extra thing that sent the group into orbit. If anything, Mary singing lead on "Where" may have allowed Gordy to move outside of the Ross tunnel vision he possessed and utilized all three Supremes in his quest for bigger and better things. Diana Ross would still become the legend we know today, but it's possible Mary's light may have shown brighter for having sang lead on the group's first number one.

  10. #10
    I'm also not convinced that the story of the Marvelettes turning the song down is really true. I guess it's possible, but it sounds out of character for a record label that didn't seem to give it's female artists the power to turn down anything. I'm sure everyone voiced their opinions, but how many stories exist of any of them refusing to record a song?

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I don't think we would be talking about the Marvelettes in any other way than we currently talk about them. They were never gonna be as big as the Supremes eventually were for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that the Marvelettes' marketability wasn't anywhere near as "mainstream" as the Supremes, or even Martha and the V's for that matter. Sure, they might have gone all the way to number one with WDOLG, but could they sale five number one songs in a row? What about image? The Supremes had a number of things that worked in their favor:

    Diana Ross was the lead singer, all three had an eye for high fashion and glamour, they were a true vocal group whose core was great harmony (a necessary asset when performing the MOR stuff in nightclubs and hotels), they embodied the girls next door image that was popular among the young record buying public.

    The Marvelettes were sort of the female version of the Contours IMO. They were r&b to the core. As good as the Contours were, they were never gonna be the Temptations because they lacked many of the things that made the Tempts so appealing to so many. Same with the Marvelettes. They lacked too many of the things that made the Supremes such an attractive experience.

    I also don't think that if Mary had sung lead on WDOLG that the group was ever headed for the fate of Mary Wilson and the Supremes. Had Mary taken the song to number one- and I think it's possible she may have been able to do it- the fact remains that Diana Ross was the member who was the key to the success. She wasn't the only necessary part- I'll always maintain that the story of the Supremes would be different if Diana were in the group with Roz and Annette or Betty or any other Motown lady, thus Flo and Mary were integral to the success also- but she was that one extra thing that sent the group into orbit. If anything, Mary singing lead on "Where" may have allowed Gordy to move outside of the Ross tunnel vision he possessed and utilized all three Supremes in his quest for bigger and better things. Diana Ross would still become the legend we know today, but it's possible Mary's light may have shown brighter for having sang lead on the group's first number one.
    Thanks RanRan. You summed it up perfectly. I agree 💯. Your posts are always so refreshing to read.

  12. #12
    I think that stories, even when told by those directly involved often get "colorized" a bit. And it certainly makes for a more interesting story. I never believed The Marvelettes in 1964 had the power to turn down a song. They might not have liked it but refused to sing it? Doubtful. Yes, Lamont said they turned it down but this is a quote from Brian Holland when we asked about this. I guess we can all believe what we like: Brian: "I never heard of that except through Lamont, Basically, whatever you came up with on an artist, you had the right to do that. No artist was going to refuse any writer or producer at Motown to do a song."


  13. #13
    Certainly killed that story!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by jobeterob View Post
    Certainly killed that story!
    Yup. Shot it dead. By someone who actually knows. Good try, though. Next?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    I'm also not convinced that the story of the Marvelettes turning the song down is really true. I guess it's possible, but it sounds out of character for a record label that didn't seem to give it's female artists the power to turn down anything. I'm sure everyone voiced their opinions, but how many stories exist of any of them refusing to record a song?
    Katherine Anderson Schaffner herself said that the story that they were offered that song wasn't true when the surviving Marvelettes were interviewed on Unsung.

  16. #16
    Is it possible that The Marvelettes were given a few songs during a recording session and chose which one(s) they would record first and then time ran out and they did not get a chance to do the remaining song? Maybe because they didn't care for the song they used delay tactics to avoid having to record WDOLG. So Gladys didn't actually "refuse" to record the song but chose to spin the story as such. The ploy could have worked back then by getting the message to The Supremes that they were recording The Marvelettes throw-aways and in subsequent years boosting The Marvelettes (who I love to death) stature by hinting that they were offered the song before any other group was offered the song.

    I thought I once read that Jr Walker, when recording with Johnny Bristol, was offered Someday We'll Be Together but his studio time ran-out and he told Johnny Bristol to give it to Diana, who was scheduled to be in the studio with Johnny Bristol next. (Can't remember where I read that and I'm too lazy to check through all my Motown books.)

  17. #17
    agreed. we don't know when or where the marvelettes actually rejected the tune. it could have been while they were rehearsing. perhaps HDH brought a couple of songs to them in whatever rehearsal room there was at Hitsville and they tested out different ones. maybe it was there the girls, when asked, said they liked these couple tunes versus those couple of tunes.

    i don't know that anyone would believe that the Marvelettes were in the middle of the recording studio and Gladys suddenly interrupted the whole thing saying "wait, wait, wait - this song is bullshit! screw this. i'm not singing this crap. give this garbage to the lowly supremes!" lolol

    HDH were still pretty new at all of this (frankly as was everyone at motown). it could be they were toying around with songs and trying to see where different ones might fit. so maybe as they're tinkering with a tune on a piano and Gladys or Wanda were around, they said "hey girl - come over here and see what you think? we're exploring a couple tunes" and they monkeyed around with thing. and that's where one of the girls sort of "passed" on Where

    Even in the peak years of the mid 60s, tracks weren't necessarily done when the artists recorded them. they weren't fully mixed, some of the instrumentation might not even have been recorded (like the strings and orchestra). so the lead singer might have just a rhythm track and piano to guide them along. it's not like karaoke today where we have this wonderful motown backing track with just the lead stripped out for us to sing along with

  18. #18
    The WDOLG myth or non-myth certainly took on new life. Lamont Dozier is quoted as having said that the song was written for the Marvelettes and they turned it down. He even said the track was cut in Gladys Horton's key and once they refused it, he was wondering what to do next because he was now stuck with the charges for the track.

    In the Marvelettes book, Gladys said that the song was brought to her at the same time as TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA and they picked TMFITS as it had more melody and the bongos appealed to her also, as she was from the islands.

    In the end, I guess it doesn't really matter. A great recording nonetheless.

  19. #19
    I can hear Wanda cooing her way through Baby Love! (Lamont seemed pretty clear when he said it was written in Gladys’ key.)
    Last edited by luke; 07-09-2019 at 04:03 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by luke View Post
    I can hear Wanda cooing her way through Baby Love! (Lamont seemed pretty clear when he said it was written in Gladys’ key.)
    Oh Wanda would have sounded great singing "Baby Love".

  21. #21
    i think aside from Diana, Gladys Horton probably would have sounded best on the early Sup hits. But she also was a bit too "street-wise" IMO to pull of the lyric of BL. Diana really had the ingenue concept down pat. and that was part of BLs charm. Where, Come, Stop all could have worked just fine as-is for Gladys and done well. But something about BL just needs that coquettish quality.

  22. Ok, just the make the waters even murkier, I recall reading that the song was for an upcoming Marvelettes album. THAT really sparked my interest as I read that in the 80s when I was a teen an didn't know all what albums were out there. So I kept looking for a 1964 Marvlettes album at all the record stores! HA!

    As they say, there is so-and-so's story, then so-and-so's story and somewhere in the middle is the truth.

  23. I could hear Gladys performing "Where." H-D-H had already done a couple slower numbers where they were having Gladys sing in a much lower, refined style not unlike "Where." "Tie A String Around Your Finger" was surprising to me, because I hadn't really heard Gladys singing so tenderly. But then again, "Strange I Know" was somewhat in this same mode. "Have A Little Sympathy", "Need For Love" were also other H-D-H numbers that weren't all that far away from the "Where Did Our Love Go" key and style.

    So who knows? The song, originally may have been just another among the other tunes H-D-H were doing with Gladys at the time. For my money, "Finder Keepers", I always thought, gives a pretty good idea what the group would have sounded like had they done "Where."

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    The WDOLG myth or non-myth certainly took on new life. Lamont Dozier is quoted as having said that the song was written for the Marvelettes and they turned it down. He even said the track was cut in Gladys Horton's key and once they refused it, he was wondering what to do next because he was now stuck with the charges for the track.

    In the Marvelettes book, Gladys said that the song was brought to her at the same time as TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA and they picked TMFITS as it had more melody and the bongos appealed to her also, as she was from the islands.

    In the end, I guess it doesn't really matter. A great recording nonetheless.
    If someone had offered me the choice of recording either "Where Did Our Love Go" or "Too Many Fish In the Sea" at the time, I would also have thought that "TMFITS" was going to be the more commercial song.

  25. #25
    ^ Me too. Too Many Fish in the Sea just had it in the cards to be a HUGE POP HIT whereas Where Did Our Love Go seemed too slow at the time. Judging on the perception, you'd think Motown would step up on Too Many Fish and they didn't.

    Going back on who was given the song first or not, Lamont Dozier definitely is at odds with the Holland brothers over the story. LD tells one story, the Hollands tell another. I guess the truth is somewhere in the middle. Like how the Isley Brothers insisted they recorded the "second" version of I Heard It Through the Grapevine yet Norman nor Motown ever recalled the Isleys recording it before Marvin.

    And of course one of Motown's infamous tales that Valerie Simpson sung on the "new" tracks on the "Easy" album when Valerie (and Nick before his death) insisted Tammi did sing on it (whereas Marvin remembered Valerie having to do the vocal duets) when the truth could've been Marvin and Valerie did record together but Valerie & Nick brought in Tammi when she was well enough to record it.

  26. #26
    Fish is a great song. one of my all time motown favs. the track is hot. there's so much more going on with this song than Where. the bongos, piano, brass, etc. the great vocals, fun tune.

    where is just a totally different song and part of its charm is the simplicity. it was completely unique

    But image if Eddie or one of the guys was just sitting at the piano and playing a sparse piano line for each one. even in that greatly simplified environment, Fish would come across as more exciting given the tempo, chord changes and structure. and instrumental version of Fish would still be relatively interesting.

    Where would just be the same chords over and over. an instrumental version would NOT be interesting because the song is totally carried by the lead singer delivery

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    But image if Eddie or one of the guys was just sitting at the piano and playing a sparse piano line for each one. even in that greatly simplified environment, Fish would come across as more exciting given the tempo, chord changes and structure. and instrumental version of Fish would still be relatively interesting.

    Where would just be the same chords over and over. an instrumental version would NOT be interesting because the song is totally carried by the lead singer delivery
    In the Marvelettes book, this is basically how Gladys described why they chose TMFITS over WHDLG.

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