Album: Where Did Our Love Go?
. . .
It took them three years and twice as many singles to get going, but once they did — with “Where Did Our Love Go” — the aptly-named Supremes were perhaps the most reliable hit-makers of the 1960s, selling tens of millions of records in the process, and generally recognized as one of the most popular American groups ever.
And 1964’s “Come See About Me” is a great place to see why, as it’s yet another Motown masterclass in how to put together a pop song where all of the disparate elements — the songwriting, the instrumentation and the vocals — come together in sheer pop perfection.
Written and produced by Brian Holland, Lamond Dozier and Eddie Holland, “Come See About Me” opens with a drum build by Uriel Jones, almost instantly joined by his Funk Brothers Earl Van Dyke on piano, Joe Messina playing syncopated stabs on his guitar and the incomparable James Jamerson holding it all down on the bass. There’s also a cool bit of percussion on every single beat, which is Mike Valvano stomping his feet, which definitely counts as part of The Handclap Rule. Hopefully they didn’t have to do too many takes, cos after awhile that would hurt like hell.
Over all of this, Diana Ross and backing vocalists Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson are singing about a girl who likes a guy.
I’ve been crying (Ooh, ooh)
‘Cause I’m lonely (For you)
Smiles have all turned (To tears)
But tears won’t wash away the fears
I love how the background vocals are actually completing the lines of the song in the verses then sneaking behind Ross’s insanely clear voice on the pre-chorus.
That you’re never ever gonna return
To ease the fire that within me burns
As great as all of this is, it’s just a lead-in to a ridiculously amazing chorus, with all three vocalists on top form, harmonizing with and singing around each other over the understated but unstoppable Funk Brothers groove.
It keeps me crying baby for you
Keeps me sighin’ baby for you
So won’t you hurry
Come on boy, see about me
(Come see about me)
See about you baby
(Come see about me)
If this song had nothing else but the harmonies on “crying baby for you” and “sighing baby for you,” it would be a fucking classic, but then they somehow top it with the calls-and-responses that follow. Fannnnntastic. I can’t imagine hearing this song and not thinking: hang on girl, I’m on my way.
And so “Come See About Me” was the Supremes third straight #1 hit single in the U.S. — they would have 11 before the decade was over — though it only made #27 in the U.K., and helped put the album it was on, Where Did Our Love Go? (which had all three of those singles) to #2 on the album charts.
“Come See About Me”
“Come See About Me” Live on the Ed Sullivan Show
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