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  1. #1

    Phil Spector's Influence On Motown

    Philles/Motown Gary's Part J of his series about Phil Spector features a Three Volume collection of selected non-Spector records that sound to be strikingly under his influence.

    Among the 74 songs that were chosen are a few from Motown and for fun I thought I'd single them out here in a thread of their own.

    First up: from Volume One -"Phil's Spectre (1): A Wall Of Soundalikes" (ACE CDCHD 978)-

    The Supremes RUN RUN RUN :

    2) THE SUPREMES:
    "Run, Run, Run"
    (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland)
    Producer: H-D-H
    Label: Motown (1964)
    https://youtu.be/ml30nOkXipQ



    Any thoughts?
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 11-28-2019 at 02:04 AM.

  2. #2
    I always liked Run Run Run....it is a bit busy in the background....but I don't I'D it with Spector at all...not enough "clang" Spector seemed to like a lot of high pitch instruments doing percussion things upfront

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Philles/Motown Gary's Part J of his series about Phil Spector features a Three Volume collection of selected non-Spector records that sound to be strikingly under his influence.

    Among the 74 songs that were chosen are a few from Motown and for fun I thought I'd single them out here in a thread of their own.

    First up: from Volume One -"Phil's Spectre (1): A Wall Of Soundalikes" (ACE CDCHD 978)-

    The Supremes RUN RUN RUN :






    Any thoughts?
    I say that H-D-H were thinking of The Crystals' classic "Da Doo Run Run" when they wrote "Run Run Run" for The Supremes. Although it doesn't have the density of a Phil Spector production, it's easy to see the influence he had on this song.

  4. #4
    This was before they finally found that winning formula with the Supremes...

    Phil Spector was just as influenced by Motown though. He recalled being amazed hearing Marvin's Stubborn Kind of Fellow on the radio in 1962/1963 and had to stop his car from avoiding a crash at the time.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by midnightman View Post
    This was before they finally found that winning formula with the Supremes...

    Phil Spector was just as influenced by Motown though. He recalled being amazed hearing Marvin's Stubborn Kind of Fellow on the radio in 1962/1963 and had to stop his car from avoiding a crash at the time.
    No it wasn't. They had got a Top 25 Hit with the Supremes before "Run, Run, Run" with 1963's "When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes". They were also scoring hits with Martha & The Vandellas before this record.
    I don't believe Motown or Phil Spector influenced one another. Their respective sounds were still too new and being developed simultaneously.
    Last edited by marv2; 11-28-2019 at 05:53 PM.

  6. #6
    I always think of David Rose's The Stripper when I hear Run, Run, Run. The two songs sound nothing alike, but Run, Run, Run has the sound of a hurried strip show. Go Figure.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by nabob View Post
    I always think of David Rose's The Stripper when I hear Run, Run, Run. The two songs sound nothing alike, but Run, Run, Run has the sound of a hurried strip show. Go Figure.
    The Temptations' '(Loneliness Made Me Realize) It's You That I Need" reminds me of a slightly slowed down sounding "Run, Run, Run". From the intro to David's first lyrics of that song. Compare his opening on it to Diane's opening on "Run, Run, Run".

  8. #8
    Run Run Run sounds more to me like HDH in their embryonic period still developing and searching for that patented HDH sound...not quite there, but well on the way... It was also a case of Bari Sax overload (either Beans Bowles or more likely Mike Terry) that in their future work cut back on for more tasteful baritone sax fills instead of stepping all over the entire song... I don't see a lot of Spector there, although I have no doubt songwriters and producers listened to a lot of radio back then and certain elements were bound to filter through, knowingly or through a sort of musical osmosis...

  9. #9
    H-D-H did do a reasonable attempt at replicating the Phil Spector sound at the end of '63 with The Darnells "Too Hurt To Cry". In reality "The Darnells" were The Marvelettes with a change of name and label, so the thinking behind this release is mysterious to say the least!

    Roger


  10. #10
    Now THAT (Too Hurt To Cry) does sound more along the lines of a Crystals/Blossoms Spector song... I don't recall hearing that song before..'

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Run Run Run sounds more to me like HDH in their embryonic period still developing and searching for that patented HDH sound...not quite there, but well on the way... It was also a case of Bari Sax overload (either Beans Bowles or more likely Mike Terry) that in their future work cut back on for more tasteful baritone sax fills instead of stepping all over the entire song... I don't see a lot of Spector there, although I have no doubt songwriters and producers listened to a lot of radio back then and certain elements were bound to filter through, knowingly or through a sort of musical osmosis...
    The sax seems overused to the point of distraction :



    almost like a kazoo!

    it would certainly make sense when trying to find a successful sound for an undeveloped female vocal group that HDH would explore what was working for other girl groups and see what might be worth adopting in terms of song themes , vocal arrangements, and music styles and gimmicks.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    The sax seems overused to the point of distraction :



    almost like a kazoo!

    it would certainly make sense when trying to find a successful sound for an undeveloped female vocal group that HDH would explore what was working for other girl groups and see what might be worth adopting in terms of song themes , vocal arrangements, and music styles and gimmicks.
    The Kazoo was used on "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart".

  13. #13
    Run, Run, Run - which I have always quite liked - does sound somewhat 'wall of sound'-ish compared to 'Lovelight' which sounds pure Motown.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by roger View Post
    H-D-H did do a reasonable attempt at replicating the Phil Spector sound at the end of '63 with The Darnells "Too Hurt To Cry". In reality "The Darnells" were The Marvelettes with a change of name and label, so the thinking behind this release is mysterious to say the least!

    Roger

    StuBass1:

    Now THAT (Too Hurt To Cry) does sound more along the lines of a Crystals/Blossoms Spector song... I don't recall hearing that song before..'

    Nice observation guys! And the perfect lead-in to the next Motown single to be found on Volume One -"Phil's Spectre (1): A Wall Of Soundalikes" (ACE CDCHD 978)-

    which indeed happens to be:


    5) THE DARNELLS:
    "To Hurt To Cry (Too Much In Love To Say Goodbye)"
    (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland)
    Producer: H-D-H
    Label: Gordy (1963)
    https://youtu.be/zg7G8tM4U9g

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by StuBass1 View Post
    Run Run Run sounds more to me like HDH in their embryonic period still developing and searching for that patented HDH sound...not quite there, but well on the way... It was also a case of Bari Sax overload (either Beans Bowles or more likely Mike Terry) that in their future work cut back on for more tasteful baritone sax fills instead of stepping all over the entire song... I don't see a lot of Spector there, although I have no doubt songwriters and producers listened to a lot of radio back then and certain elements were bound to filter through, knowingly or through a sort of musical osmosis...
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    That's GOT to be Mike Terry. By the way, I don't think "Run, Run, Run" was influenced at all by Phil Spector.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Nice observation guys! And the perfect lead-in to the next Motown single to be found on Volume One -"Phil's Spectre (1): A Wall Of Soundalikes" (ACE CDCHD 978)-

    which indeed happens to be:
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    The Darnells' "Too Hurt To Cry, and Too Much In Love To Say Goodbye". This was HDH just trying to prove to the Spector worshipers that they could produce songs just like Phil, any time they'd want to. They just didn't want to. They had their OWN idea of what was good.

  17. #17
    ^ And in this house, Motown > Wall of Sound, though Be My Baby, River Deep, Mountain High and You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin' are the greatest songs ever produced.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    The Darnells' "Too Hurt To Cry, and Too Much In Love To Say Goodbye". This was HDH just trying to prove to the Spector worshipers that they could produce songs just like Phil, any time they'd want to. They just didn't want to. They had their OWN idea of what was good.
    Possibly. but at this early point weren't H-D-H still searching for these good ideas from wherever ? They hadn't hit their mark yet.

    I'd agree with you more if they tried it once and hit it out of the ballpark , proved their point, and then moved on. But isn't it just as likely they gave it a go, and when their attempt went nowhere , realized this avenue wasn't going to be their route to success.

    They didn't totally abandon this wall-of-sound approach though, trying out the song again with The Supremes:



    I like it!! Had they jazzed it up a few Spector notches .... who knows ....
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 12-10-2019 at 11:47 PM.

  19. #19
    Hey, John! As much as I love Phil Spector and Motown, I never thought they sounded anything alike, musically speaking. Sure, 1963 Philles and, a year later, late-1964 Motown, were producing the hottest symphonic pop/soul records in the business, and both Phil's and Berry's records were cut LOUD and powerful thanks to Phil's contribution to the art of overdubbing, but their individual styles were different from one another. To my ears, The Supremes' "Run Run Run" sounds nothing like a Crystals, Ronettes, nor Darlene Love record, and The Darnells' "Too Hurt To Cry" paled even more in comparison, trying to sound like Philles but coming off second-rate (not unlike the quick, thrown-together versions of Martha & The Vandellas' "Then He Kissed Me" and "Wait 'Til My Bobby Gets Home" from the "Heat Wave" album, of which neither version even sounded like Motown, let alone Philles). By the end of '64, Motown had developed and was perfecting its own sound which was new and excitingly fresh, while Phil's Wall Of Sound was winding down. As musically thrilling as both entities were, not once did I ever think that a Motown record successfully sounded like a Philles record, nor did a Philles recording ever remind me of anything that Motown had done, which is why I was baffled to see the inclusion of those Motown examples included on the "Wall Of Soundalikes" CD series.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 12-12-2019 at 12:38 AM.

  20. #20
    I hear ya Gary, two different camps for sure. But surely , up and coming Motown , whose developing roster included several female vocal groups , was researching the current trends of other girl groups , the successes of Spector's being particularly worthy of review? Has this ever been discussed, Motown's influences? In the new HDH or Dozier books do they say anything about how their full sound came to be? Any mention of Phil Spector ?

  21. #21
    Apart from the melodic similarity of the Darnell's "Too Hurt to Cry..." to "Then He Kissed Me", I was also mystified by the inclusion of the other Motown tracks on the "Wall of Soundalikes" CD series.

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    Apart from the melodic similarity of the Darnell's "Too Hurt to Cry..." to "Then He Kissed Me", I was also mystified by the inclusion of the other Motown tracks on the "Wall of Soundalikes" CD series.
    hmmm, but didn't you just answer your own question?
    added : sorry I misread your input ...... referring to " the other Motown tracks" ....
    several of which we haven't gotten to yet
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 12-13-2019 at 04:01 PM.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    hmmm, but didn't you just answer your own question?
    Sorry but I don't see the contradiction.

  24. #24
    I agree, see my self correction above

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I hear ya Gary, two different camps for sure. But surely , up and coming Motown , whose developing roster included several female vocal groups , was researching the current trends of other girl groups , the successes of Spector's being particularly worthy of review? Has this ever been discussed, Motown's influences? In the new HDH or Dozier books do they say anything about how their full sound came to be? Any mention of Phil Spector ?
    John, very little is mentioned about Phil Spector in the Motown books, just as very little is mentioned about Motown in the books regarding Phil Spector and Philles Records, other than the fact that Phil loved Motown -- especially the Four Tops. (I have both of the new HDH books, but haven't read them yet.)

    I doubt if Motown paid much attention to what was happening with any of the non-Motown girl groups, including Phil's girls on the Philles roster. Philles' biggest year (girl group-wise) was 1963. By early 1964, The Beatles and the guitar-slingin' British Invasion (ugh!) had knocked our American girl-groups off the charts. Motown's girl groups hit their popularity stride in late 1964, by which time Phil had already dropped The Crystals, and was winding down on his productions with The Ronettes. This is when Motown stepped up their concentration on its girls -- especially The Supremes and Martha & The Vandellas. Not only that, Motown's sound was new and fresh to the point they practically reinvented the Girl Group sound. In fact, Motown managed to grow in popularity hand-in-hand with the British Invasion, leaving Phil with his only successful act left, The Righteous Brothers. After a couple of semi-successful Ronettes releases later, the Philles females had run their course and were over where the record charts were concerned. Motown, however, marched forward mightily and never looked back!
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 12-13-2019 at 07:26 PM.

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