The Door To Yesterday Volume 4, Number 1.Alan Warner. 2019

 

 

 

A Writer Takes His Pen To Write The Words Again”. The Door To Yesterday.Alan Warner. 2019.

 The full-length documentary “Hitsville: The Making Of Motown

which is now streaming on Showtime celebrates the formative years of Berry Gordy’s 

legendary Detroit-based record company featuring interviews with many of the personalities

 and luminaries from the label’s early years along with extracts from some of the countless Motown hit songs.


Obviously, every Motown song started out as the creation of a composer and/or songwriter 

and I thought it would be interesting to single out a few of the most memorable lyric 

lines and phrases from the early years.


For starters, here are six ultimate classics: 


“Calling out around the world/Are you ready for a brand new beat?

Summer's here and the time is right/For dancing in the street” 

from DANCING IN THE STREET

 (Writers: Marvin Gaye/Mickey Stevenson/Ivy Jo Hunter) 

by Martha & The Vandellas 

(Gordy: 1964)


“There must be some word today/From my boyfriend so far away

Please Mr. postman, look and see/Is there a letter, a letter for me?” 

from PLEASE MR. POSTMAN 

(Robert Bateman, Brian Holland & Freddie Gorman) 

by The Marvelettes 

(Tamla: 1961)


“The best things in life are free

But you can give them to the birds and bees

I want money/That’s what I want” 

from MONEY (That’s What I Want)

 (Berry Gordy/Janie Bradford)

 by Barrett Strong 

(Tamla/Anna: 1959)


“For once I can say/This is mine you can't take it

As long as I know I have love I can make it

For once in my Life/I have someone who needs me” 

from FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE

 (Ron Miller/Orlando Murden)

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1968)

  

“I know you wanna leave me/But I refuse to let you go

If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy

I don't mind 'cause you mean that much to me” 

from AIN’T TOO PROUD TO BEG

 (Norman Whitfield/Eddie Holland) 

by The Temptations

 (Gordy: 1966)


“When I became of age my mother called me to her side

She said, son, you're growing up now, pretty soon you'll take a bride”

 from SHOP AROUND 

(Berry Gordy/Smokey Robinson) 

by The Miracles

(Tamla: 1960)

 

 

Following is a group of additional Smokey Robinson Compositions

Smokey Robinson. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 “People say I'm the life of the party/Because I tell a joke or two

Although I might be laughing loud and hearty/Deep inside I'm blue” 

from THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS 

(Co-writers: Marv Tarplin, Warren Moore) 

by The Miracles 

(Tamla: 1965)

“I don't like you, but I love you/Seems that I'm always thinking of you

Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly/I love you madly, you really got a hold on me” 

from YOU’VE REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME 

by The Miracles 

(Tamla: 1962)


“I've got sunshine on a cloudy day/When it's cold outside I've got the month of May” 

from MY GIRL 

(Co-writer: Ronnie White) 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1964)   

 

“I never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do (It's alright)

Whenever I'm asked who makes my dreams real/I say that you do
(you're outta sight)

So fee fi fo fum/Look out baby 'cause here I come

And I'm bringing you a love that's true so get ready/So get ready” 

from GET READY 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1966)


“I’m sticking to my guy like a stamp to a letter/Like birds of a feather we stick together

I’m tellin’ you from the start/I can’t be torn apart from my guy” 

from MY GUY 

by Mary Wells 

(Motown: 1964)


“Maybe you'll wanna give me kisses sweet/But only for one night with no repeat

And maybe you'll go away and never call/And a taste of honey is worse that none at all” 

from I SECOND THAT EMOTION 

(Co-writer: Al Cleveland) 

by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

 (Tamla: 1967)


“You got a smile so bright/You know you could have been a candle

I'm holding you so tight/You know you could have been a handle” 

from THE WAY YOU DO THE THINGS YOU DO 

(Co-writer: Robert Rogers) 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1964)


“Honey, you do me wrong but still I'm crazy about you

Stay away too long and I can't do without you

Every chance you get you seem to hurt me more and more

But each hurt makes my love stronger than before” 

from AIN’T THAT PECULIAR 

(Co-writers: Robert Rogers, Marv Tarplin/Warren Moore) 

by Marvin Gaye 

(Tamla: 1965)


Here’s a song on which Smokey collaborated with Stevie Wonder & Hank Cosby:


“Now if there's a smile on my face/It's only there trying to fool the public

But when it comes down to fooling you/Now honey, that's quite a different subject” 

from THE TEARS OF A CLOWN 

by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles

 (Tamla: 1970)

 

 

Stevie Wonder. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019.

 Stevie Wonder was an enormously successful Motown singer & songwriter.


The following are among his classic million-sellers:


“Very superstitious, writings on the wall/Very superstitious, 

ladders 'bout to fall

Thirteen-months-old baby broke the lookin' glass/Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past”

 from SUPERSTITION 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1972)


 “You are the sunshine of my life/That’s why I’ll always be around

Forever you'll stay in my heart”

from YOU ARE THE SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1973)   


“All is fair in love/Love’s a crazy game

Two people vow to say/In love as one they say” 

from ALL IN LOVE IS FAIR 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1973)


" A boy is born in hard time Missiccippi

Surrounded by four walls that ain’t so pretty

His parents give him love and affection

To keep him strong, moving in the right direction

Living just enough, just enough for the city"

from LIVING FOR THE CITY 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1973)


“Like a fool I went and stayed too long/Now I’m wondering if your love’s still strong

Ooh baby, here I am/Signed sealed delivered I’m yours” 

from SIGNED, SEALED, DELIVERED I’M YOURS 

(Co-writers: Syreeta Wright, Lee Garrett, Lula Mae Hardaway) 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1970)


“You know my papa disapproved it/My mama boohooed it

But I told them time and time again/‘Don't you know I was made to love her

Build my world all around her’" 

from I WAS MADE TO LOVE HER 

(Co-writers: Sylvia Moy, Hank Cosby, Lulu Mae Hardaway) 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1967) 


“We are sick and tired of hearing your song/Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong

'Cause if you really want to hear our views/’You haven't done nothing’!” 

from YOU HAVEN’T DONE NOTHIN’

 by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1974)


“No New Year's Day to celebrate/No chocolate-covered candy hearts to give away

No first of spring, no song to sing/In fact here's just another ordinary day”

 from I JUST CALLED TO SAY I LOVE YOU 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Motown: 1984)


“I'm a poor man's son, from across the railroad tracks/The only shirt I own is hanging on my back

But I'm the envy of every single guy/Since I'm the apple of my girl's eye”

 from UPTIGHT (EVERYTHING’S ALRIGHT) 

(Co-writers: Sylvia Moy, Hank Cosby) 

by Stevie Wonder 

(Tamla: 1965)


“My cherie amour, lovely as a summer day/My cherie amour, distant as the milky way

My cherie amour, pretty little one that I adore You're the only girl my heart beats for

How I wish that you were mine” 

from MY CHERIE AMOUR 

(Co-writers: Sylvia Moy, Hank Cosby) 

by Stevie Wonder

(Tamla: 1969)

Marv Gaye. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner 2019

 Following are extracts from two Marvin Gaye

 million-selling compositions:


“Mother, Mother/There’s too many of you crying

Brother, brother/There’s far too many of you dying"

from WHAT’S GOING ON 

(Co-writers: Renaldo Benson, Al Cleveland) 

by Marvin Gaye

(Tamla: 1971)


“I’ve been really tryin’, baby

Tryin’ to hold back this feeling for so long

And if you feel like I feel baby

Then come on, oh come on”

from LET’S GET IT ON 

(Co-writer: Ed Townsend)

by Marvin Gaye 

(Tamla: 1973)

Holland Dozier and Holland. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner 2019

Among the most regular hitmaking songwriters 

in Motown’s early days was the team of

 Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier & Eddie Holland 

also known as Holland/Dozier/Holland

 or simply HDH. 


Here are lyric samples 

from just ten of their many successes:


“Set me free, why don’t cha babe

Get out of my life, why don’t cha babe

’Cause you don’t really love me

You just keep me hangin’ on” 

from YOU KEEP ME HANGIN’ ON 

by The Supremes 

(Motown: 1966)


“You came into my heart (baby, baby) so tenderly

With a burning love (baby, baby)

That stings like a bee (baby, baby)

Now that I surrender (baby, baby) so helplessly” 

from WHERE DID OUR LOVE GO 

by The Supremes 

(Motown: 1964)


“You can’t hurry love

No, you just have to wait

She said love don’t come easy

It’s a game of give and take"

 from YOU CAN’T HURRY LOVE 

by The Supremes 

(Motown: 1966)


“This old heart of mine, been broken thousand times

Each time you break away, I fear you're gone to stay

Lonely nights that come, memories that go

Bringing you back again, hurting me more and more” 

from THIS OLD HEART OF MINE (Is Weak For You) 

by The Isley Brothers 

(Tamla: 1966)


“Baby baby, I'm aware of where you go

Each time you leave my door

I watch you walk down the street

Knowing your other love you'll meet”

 from STOP! IN THE NAME OF LOVE

 by The Supremes

(Motown: 1965) 

 

“Sugar pie, honey bunch/You know that I love you

I can't help myself/I love you and nobody else”

from I CAN’T HELP MYSELF 

by The Four Tops 

(Motown: 1965)


“I want to stop and thank you, baby

I just want to stop and thank you, baby

How sweet it is to be loved by you, oh, baby” 

from HOW SWEET IT IS TO BE LOVED BY YOU 

by Marvin Gaye 

(Tamla: 1964)


“It's like a heat wave

Burning in my heart 

(It's like a heat wave)

I can't keep from crying

It's tearing me apart” 

from HEAT WAVE 

by Martha & The Vandellas 

(Gordy: 1963)


“Didn't I teach you right, now baby, didn't I?

Didn't I do the best I could, now didn't I? "

from STANDING IN THE SHADOWS OF LOVE 

by The Four Tops 

(Motown: 1966)


“Through the mirror of my mind

Time after time

I see reflections of you and me” 

from REFLECTIONS 

by Diana Ross & The Supremes

 (Motown: 1967)

Barrett Strong and Norman Whitfield. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 Producer Norman Whitfield & singer Barrett Strong 

collaborated on a string of hugely influential compositions. 


Here are eight examples:


“I bet you're wond’ring how I knew

'Bout your plans to make me blue

With some other guy you knew before

Between the two of us guys

You know I loved you more”

from I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE 

by Marvin Gaye 

(Tamla: 1968)


“It was the third of September/That day I’ll always remember, yes I will

'Cause that was the day that my daddy died” 

from PAPA WAS A ROLLIN’ STONE 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1972)


“I can turn the gray sky blue

I can make it rain, whenever I want it to

oh I can build a castle from a single grain of sand

I can make a ship sail, on dry land” 

from I CAN’T GET NEXT TO YOU 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1969)


“Sunshine, blue skies, please go away

A girl has found another and gone away

With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom

So day after day I stay locked up in my room” 

from I WISH IT WOULD RAIN 

Co-writer: Roger Penzabene) 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1967)


“War, uh!/What is it good for?/Absolutely nothing” 

from WAR

by Edwin Starr 

(Gordy: 1970)


“Each day through my window I watch her as she passes by

I say to myself you’re such a lucky guy

To have a girl like her is truly a dream come true

Out of all the fellows in the world she belongs to me”

 from JUST MY IMAGINATION (Running Away With Me) 

by The Temptations

(Gordy: 1971)


“Just think about all the nights you left me at home lonely

You only did it ‘cause you know I loved you only

Runnin’ ‘round with every girl in town

I’m telling you boy no longer will I be your clown” 

from THE END OF OUR ROAD 

(Co-writer: Roger Penzabene)

 by Gladys Knight & The Pips 

(Soul: 1968)


“Evolution, revolution, gun control, sound of soul

Shooting rockets to the moon/kids growing up too soon"

 from BALL OF CONFUSION (That’s What The World Is Today) 

by The Temptations 

(Gordy: 1970)


 

 

Ashford and Simpson. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 The husband and wife team of

Nick Ashford & Valerie Simpson 

were a successful recording duo. 


In addition, they wrote a series of unforgettable ballads for fellow artists.


 Here are three such songs:


“Ain’t no mountain high/Ain’t no valley low

Ain’t no river wide enough, baby”

 from AIN’T NO MOUNTAIN HIGH ENOUGH 

by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

 (Tamla: 1967)


“Reach out and touch somebody's hand

Make this world a better place if you can”

from REACH OUT AND TOUCH (SOMEBODY’S HAND) 

by Diana Ross

 (Motown: 1970)


“I've got your picture hangin' on the wall

But it can't see or come to me when I call your name” 

from AIN’T NOTHING LIKE THE REAL THING 

by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell

 (Tamla: 1968)


 

 

Jobete Logo. The Door To Yesterday. Alan Warner. 2019

 All these and many more unforgettable songs

were published by Berry Gordy’s Jobete company 

and now form part of the Sony/ATV Music catalog.


All the above lyric extracts are from songs published by Sony/ATV 

and in certain cases by Sony/ATV and other publishers.


P.S: The title of this blog 

"A Writer Takes His Pen To Write The Words Again” 

is from the song ALL IN LOVE IS FAIR by Stevie Wonder.


Rock on.


Alan Warner