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  1. Major Lance- Too Hot To Hold. Question for those who heard it back in the day


    I was born a year after Major Lance's "Too Hot To Hold" was released, so I can only relate to it as a song I just happen to like VERY much. Yet, I've read it was only a "mild hit." I've been listening to a lot of Major Lance this week and mostly, I like what I hear. There does seem to be a "sameness" to many of the songs before "Too Hot", which I figure has to do more with the fact that Major's biggest hits were all written by Curtis Mayfield and he just had a signature sound that came through on everything.

    This is one of my favorite Major songs, but I'd like to hear from people who were buying records back in '65 when "Too Hot To Hold" came out. What were your feelings about this tune? Did you like it and if not, what was it about the song you felt was lacking? I don't just want people saying "I love this one!", apparently the general public back then didn't really embrace it, so I'm wondering why the kids back then didn't seem to care for it.
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 11-23-2019 at 11:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post

    I was born a year after Major Lance's "Too Hot To Hold" was released, so I can only relate to it as a song I just happen to like VERY much. Yet, I've read it was only a "mild hit." I've been listening to a lot of Major Lance this week and mostly, I like what I hear. There does seem to be a "sameness" to many of the songs before "Too Hot", which I figure has to do more with the fact that Major's biggest hits were all written by Curtis Mayfield and he just had a signature sound that came through on everything.

    This is one of my favorite Major songs, but I'd like to hear from people who were buying records back in '65 when "Too Hot To Hold" came out. What were your feelings about this tune? Did you like it and if not, what was it about the song you felt was lacking? I don't just want people saying "I love this one!", apparently the general public back then didn't really embrace it, so I'm wondering why the kids back then didn't seem to care for it.
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    I like this song a lot, and like ALL of major's releases, I bought it right away, after first hearing it. However, it isn't one of my favourite songs by him, like "Phyllis", Delilah, Hey Little Girl, The Monkey Time, The Matador, Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um, Rhythm, Everybody Loves A Good Time, Sweet Music, Little Young Lover, Think Nothing About It, Dark and Lonely, and Gonna Get Married. I like "Too Hot To Hold" quite a bit less than it's flip side, "Dark and Lonely". "Too Hot To Hold" is more Bluesy, and less sweet and happy sounding than most of his songs I like, most of which were written by Curtis Mayfield, and most have that Calypso mid-tempo rhythm that was Curtis' trademark, and that the Beach and Popcorn fans love.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE ALL Major's songs recorded in Chicago, and written by either Curtis Mayfield's staff, or Carl Davis' staff(Davis, Billy Butler, Otis Leavill, Major, Gerald Sims, Eugene Record). After they stopped using Curtis Mayfield, and Carl Davis left Okeh Records and Columbia to run Brunswick Records, I didn't like the songs Major got from Columbia's New York office, and I didn't like their productions. His songs improved when he returned to Carl Davis by signing with Davis' Dakar Records, and after that, also back with Curtis at his own Curtom Records.

  3. Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    I like this song a lot, and like ALL of major's releases, I bought it right away, after first hearing it. However, it isn't one of my favourite songs by him, like "Phyllis", Delilah, Hey Little Girl, The Monkey Time, The Matador, Um,Um,Um,Um,Um,Um, Rhythm, Everybody Loves A Good Time, Sweet Music, Little Young Lover, Think Nothing About It, Dark and Lonely, and Gonna Get Married. I like "Too Hot To Hold" quite a bit less than it's flip side, "Dark and Lonely". "Too Hot To Hold" is more Bluesy, and less sweet and happy sounding than most of his songs I like, most of which were written by Curtis Mayfield, and most have that Calypso mid-tempo rhythm that was Curtis' trademark, and that the Beach and Popcorn fans love.

    Don't get me wrong, I LOVE ALL Major's songs recorded in Chicago, and written by either Curtis Mayfield's staff, or Carl Davis' staff(Davis, Billy Butler, Otis Leavill, Major, Gerald Sims, Eugene Record). After they stopped using Curtis Mayfield, and Carl Davis left Okeh Records and Columbia to run Brunswick Records, I didn't like the songs Major got from Columbia's New York office, and I didn't like their productions. His songs improved when he returned to Carl Davis by signing with Davis' Dakar Records, and after that, also back with Curtis at his own Curtom Records.
    I appreciate that Robb because you can give a context of the times that I would never get. It's like there are groups that were popular in the 70s and 80s and I can recall a few artists/groups where they'd release something that didn't go over well at the time. If you listened to it now, you'd just say it sounds like good music; but when you're living through the period of an artist's "golden age", you hear it in the context of the times. I recall when everyone felt the Jackson Five had peaked at Motown and we weren't buying the albums or singles like before. I recall when Chic was hot and everyone tried to copy their sound. Listening to those copy-cats now, they probably sound just fine, but back at that time, a lot of us were hearing those things and saying, "Oh they're just copying Chic" and heard those songs as sort of second-rate.

    I'm listening to Major and enjoying the music, but I really enjoy hearing what the general public's feelings were about this song or that song and I can hear what you're saying now about "Too Hot To Hold." It definitely sticks out when I hear it on the CD- it sounds nothing like his Mayfield-written/Davis-produced hits. Much like when Denise Williams came out with "Let's Hear It For The Boy" and most of her R&B audience didn't care much for it because it was so different from her usual sound.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    I appreciate that Robb because you can give a context of the times that I would never get. It's like there are groups that were popular in the 70s and 80s and I can recall a few artists/groups where they'd release something that didn't go over well at the time. If you listened to it now, you'd just say it sounds like good music; but when you're living through the period of an artist's "golden age", you hear it in the context of the times. I recall when everyone felt the Jackson Five had peaked at Motown and we weren't buying the albums or singles like before. I recall when Chic was hot and everyone tried to copy their sound. Listening to those copy-cats now, they probably sound just fine, but back at that time, a lot of us were hearing those things and saying, "Oh they're just copying Chic" and heard those songs as sort of second-rate.

    I'm listening to Major and enjoying the music, but I really enjoy hearing what the general public's feelings were about this song or that song and I can hear what you're saying now about "Too Hot To Hold." It definitely sticks out when I hear it on the CD- it sounds nothing like his Mayfield-written/Davis-produced hits. Much like when Denise Williams came out with "Let's Hear It For The Boy" and most of her R&B audience didn't care much for it because it was so different from her usual sound.
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    Well, "Too Hot To Hold" WAS a Carl Davis production, written by one of his staff, Gerald Sims. It just wasn't in the sweet style of his big hits. It was more minor key driven, and more "Bluesy" (not really "Bluesy"-just a little more in that direction than his supersweet hits. "Come See", "Cryin' In The Rain", "Sometimes I Wonder", "Ain't It A Shame", "Please Don't Say No More", "It Ain't No Use", and "You Belong To Me My Love" were all significantly less sweet than his big hit Mayfield, Billy Butler, and Van McCoy-written songs, and I correspondingly liked them less because of that. But, I still liked them a lot more than his cuts for the New York office, and also more than his songs after leaving Okeh, even though he returned to songwriters whose work I liked, because after 1966 or so, the instrumentation on his songs was too "modern-sounding" for my taste. I don't like much that was recorded after 1967.

  5. #5
    Back in 1965, I worked in a record department at a local merchandise mart and to be perfectly honest, I do not recall this ever being stocked in our inventory. Furthermore, I have never heard it played on the radio; in fact, it only came to my attention when I bought the Very Best of Major Lance released on the Epic/Legacy CD. According to the booklet with the CD, it was produced by Carl Davis and Gerald Sims; it was released on mono only on 6/18/1965; and the 45 release was Okeh single 4-7226. Running time 2:41. The booklet with the CD liner notes say nothing about Too Hot To Hold. It is the 14th song out of 16 on the CD. No mention of Dark and Lonely in the booklet nor was it included in the 16 songs. I will have to reintroduce myself later today to this song.

  6. Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    Well, "Too Hot To Hold" WAS a Carl Davis production, written by one of his staff, Gerald Sims. It just wasn't in the sweet style of his big hits. It was more minor key driven, and more "Bluesy" (not really "Bluesy"-just a little more in that direction than his supersweet hits. "Come See", "Cryin' In The Rain", "Sometimes I Wonder", "Ain't It A Shame", "Please Don't Say No More", "It Ain't No Use", and "You Belong To Me My Love" were all significantly less sweet than his big hit Mayfield, Billy Butler, and Van McCoy-written songs, and I correspondingly liked them less because of that. But, I still liked them a lot more than his cuts for the New York office, and also more than his songs after leaving Okeh, even though he returned to songwriters whose work I liked, because after 1966 or so, the instrumentation on his songs was too "modern-sounding" for my taste. I don't like much that was recorded after 1967.
    Ok, that's interesting how you mention the bluesy sound and the minor key thing about this song. Maybe that is one of the reasons I do enjoy it. I don't know why, but songs in minor-keys appeal to me. I have no idea why, but I remember my father would teach me things here and there about music and he was big on the differences between major and minor keys and how they make a song sound. "Ain't It A Shame" is downright bluesy and I can hear in an instant why that one wouldn't go over at all on pop radio. I do enjoy that one as well. Enjoying minor key-songs probably puts me in the minority and explains why quite a few things I always thought were good, were things that didn't go over well on the charts.

    1967. Well, now, that seems to be some kind of pivotal year in music because as far as Motown, that seems to be the beginning of the end of the sound I liked most. Something changed at Motown- some things from '68 are still good, but that bright, crisp sound from '64 to '67 was gone. As far as music in general, I think you hit on something that goes for me too- I start losing interest in things after '68 or so. It picks up again for me in the 70's, but mainly I think it's the things that are connected to my childhood- what was playing on the radio and what my folks and brother were buying. That stuff is connected to some of the best times of my life. Then around 1980, I could take it or leave most of the music.

  7. Quote Originally Posted by woodward View Post
    Back in 1965, I worked in a record department at a local merchandise mart and to be perfectly honest, I do not recall this ever being stocked in our inventory. Furthermore, I have never heard it played on the radio; in fact, it only came to my attention when I bought the Very Best of Major Lance released on the Epic/Legacy CD. According to the booklet with the CD, it was produced by Carl Davis and Gerald Sims; it was released on mono only on 6/18/1965; and the 45 release was Okeh single 4-7226. Running time 2:41. The booklet with the CD liner notes say nothing about Too Hot To Hold. It is the 14th song out of 16 on the CD. No mention of Dark and Lonely in the booklet nor was it included in the 16 songs. I will have to reintroduce myself later today to this song.
    So it really seems nobody was getting all excited about this tune. To be honest, the ONLY thing that got me into Major Lance was when I had bought some episodes of the old show, "Shindig!" They seemed to like him a lot as I think he was featured at least twice on the show and on one appearance, he was performing a live version of "Too Hot To Hold". That's how I learned of the song and that's what got me to go out and find a CD on him. So even though he was pushing and promoting the song on television, I guess it was just wasn't grabbing anyone.

    One thing about the song (even though I like it) it may have been too repetitive- there was no break or bridge that changed things up a bit- just chorus, verse, chorus, verse and then a weirdly quick fade out at the end. I wondered why not wear the chorus out a bit more at the end so at least the song's title could be subliminally drilled into your head...

  8. #8
    Wow,just goes to show that you're never too old to learn,not many are bigger major lance fans than me,but this is my first time hearing this song and the major was big in d.c. Back in the day but this one got no airtime,maybe it was a b-side,it's not very impressive as his songs go,but thanks for the headsup,it's always good to hear from the major!!

  9. Quote Originally Posted by arr&bee View Post
    Wow,just goes to show that you're never too old to learn,not many are bigger major lance fans than me,but this is my first time hearing this song and the major was big in d.c. Back in the day but this one got no airtime,maybe it was a b-side,it's not very impressive as his songs go,but thanks for the headsup,it's always good to hear from the major!!
    I think this was an A side. When Major performed this on "Shindig!" they gave it a nice build up. That's the only reason I ended up liming the tune.

    So this is nice, arr&bee. This is what I was looking for. Someone who would have recalled the reaction this song got back in the day.

  10. Here's Major Lance on Shindig! Backed by the Shindig house band, The Blossoms and The Wellingtons

  11. #11
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    They played "Too Hot To Hold" for 3-4 weeks on WVON, but that's because Major was a local legend in Chicago. It didn't do well, at all, on the charts nationwide. They didn't play "Dark and lonely" at all. I was disappointed. WLS, Chicago's biggest pop station played it only for a week or so, and it died.

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