Music Throwback Saturday: Baby, I’m For Real

Marvin Gaye and this then-wife, Anna Gordy Gaye, wrote Baby, I’m for Real

originalsBack in 1990, there were three Motown compilations, now out of print, that I bought. 20 Hard to Find Motown Classics, Volume 1, like its two successors, featured songs by Motown singers who didn’t have enough hits to have their own “Greatest Hits” CDs. But most of the songs were hardly “hard to find.” Many had appeared in other Motown collections.

The three CDs were reissued together in 2001 in the UK as Tamla Motown: Big Hits & Hard to Find Classics, Vols. 1-3. A half dozen songs were dropped.

The first two songs on the first album were by a group called the Originals. The lead singer was Freddie Gorman, who was an early, and sometimes uncredited, songwriter for Motown. He also co-wrote (Just Like) Romeo and Juliet, which was recorded by another Detroit-based group, the Reflections.

Gorman joined The Originals, which was also comprised lead tenor C.P. Spencer, second tenor Hank Dixon, and baritone Walter Gaines. Despite the talent, was long unable to get a hit, and ended up doing backing vocals for folks such as Stevie Wonder and David Ruffin.

Marvin Gaye took a shine to the group who had also backed him. He and this then-wife, Anna Gordy Gaye, wrote Baby, I’m for Real. Marvin “had protested to Motown CEO Berry Gordy that he wanted to produce his own material and he used the Originals to help get his point across that he can provide a hit.” The song reached number one on the Billboard Top Black Singles chart for five weeks, and reached number fourteen on the Pop Singles chart, eventually selling over a million copies.

The follow-up, The Bells, was also produced by Marvin Gaye and was co-written by Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Iris Gordy, and Elgie Stover. It featured the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, with Marvin on drums. The song went to #4 soul, #12 pop.

LISTEN to
Baby I’m for Real: HERE or HERE
The Bells: HERE or HERE

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

5 thoughts on “Music Throwback Saturday: Baby, I’m For Real”

  1. 1. Take Me In Your Arms – Kim Weston
    2. Looking For the Right Guy – Kim Weston
    3. Love Me All the Way – Kim Weston
    4. A Bird in the Hand – The Velvettes
    5. Come and See Me – Tammi Terrell
    6. Operator – Brenda Holloway
    7. I’ll Be Available – Brenda Holloway
    8. I’ll Always Love You – Brenda Holloway
    9. Devil With the Blue Dress – Shorty Long
    10. He’s My Man – The Supremes
    11. Agent Double O Soul – Edwin Starr
    12. Stop Her On Sight – Edwin Starr
    13. Leaving Here – Eddie Holland
    14. Just Ain’t Enough Love – Eddie Holland
    15. Candy to Me – Eddie Holland
    16. This Old Heart of Mine – The Isley Brothers
    17. Behind a Painted Smile – The Isley Brothers
    18. Truly Yours – The Spinners
    19. Just a Little Misunderstanding – The Contours
    20. Do You Love Me – The Contours
    21. First I Look at the Purse – The Contours
    22. Why Do You Want To Let Me Go – Marv Johnson
    23. Stay in My Lonely Arms – The Elgins
    24. Put Youself in My Place – The Elgins
    25. I Wouldn’t Change the Man He Is – Blinky

  2. Thanks. Most of the stuff I’d consider crucial — the Edwin Starr and Contours tracks, “Leaving Here” — I have somewhere else on the shelf. (A lot of these turned up on an LP, later cassette, series, called “A Collection of Original 16 Big Hits,” which made it at least to Volume 8.)

    Middling Motown has always been a fruitful field for finding songs one might want to cover: the J. Geils Band had fun with “First I Look at the Purse,” “Take Me In Your Arms” was a big hit for the Doobie Brothers, and both Detroit’s Rationals and Britain’s Motörhead made great versions of “Leaving Here.” And Eddie Holland’s solo work is astonishing: “Jamie,” which crept into the Top 30 in 1962, is the best Jackie Wilson song Jackie Wilson never recorded.

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