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Do You Love Me – Challenge #196

The Contours were an early African-American soul singing five-man group made up of Billy Gordon, Hubert Johnson, Billy Hoggs, Joe Billingslea and Sylvester Potts who had a record deal on the Motown label.  Their biggest hit song was ‘Do You Love Me’ which was written by Motown CEO Berry Gordy, Jr., who intended to give this to the Temptations for them to record, as they had not charted a Top 40 hit yet.  Gordy hit with a burst of inspiration and he knew this song was going places, so he set out to locate the Temptations, as he thought this would be a good fit for them.  He tried phoning the various group members, but got no answer and it seemed like they were nowhere to be found.  They had all departed Motown’s Hitsville USA recording studio to be in the audience for a local Detroit gospel music showcase, having no idea that Gordy was trying to get in touch with them.  After spending some time looking for the Temptations, Gordy ran into the Contours in the hallway.  Wanting to record and release ‘Do You Love Me’ as soon as possible, Gordy decided to let the Contours have his tune instead of the Temptations.

In 1958 in Detroit, Joe Billingslea and Billy Gordon who were both singers left The Majestics to create their own vocal group.  Billingslea placed an ad in the local paper for other singers.  Billy Hoggs answered it and was hired.  Billingslea, Gordon, Hoggs and his neighbor, Billy Rollins formed The Blenders quartet.  Rollins was replaced by Leroy Fair and then, the group decided to add a fifth member to round out the harmonies and that became Hubert Johnson a cousin of the legendary Jackie Wilson.  By the fall of 1960, The Blenders believed they had perfected their sound to the point where they could make a recording.  They visited a music company called “Flick and Contour Records”, and although the audition didn’t pan out, they decided to change their name to The Contours.  In 1961, Bennie Reeves (brother of Motown recording artist Martha Reeves) was invited to join The Contours to replace Leroy Fair, because he couldn’t handle the required choreography.  Reeves didn’t last long in this group as the United States Navy called him to active duty and he was replaced with Sylvester Potts.

After their Flick and Contour Records audition, the group traveled to Motown Records and auditioned for Berry Gordy, who liked the group’s raw sound, but he didn’t feel that they were ready yet.  The group went to Jackie Wilson’s home for some advice, and Wilson telephoned Gordy and persuaded him to take a another look at The Contours.  They returned the same day and the second trip netted them a seven-year recording contract with Motown.  They recorded a couple of songs that did not have much success and they were in danger of being dropped from the label.  The Contours came in to record ‘It Must Be Love’, but told them to try his new song instead.  Berry was at the piano and he told them how he wanted the backgrounds should go and they sang it.  He didn’t like it and told them to try it again, and they were finally able to record it the way he wanted it.

They were all elated to get the opportunity to record Gordy’s new song ‘Do You Love Me’, and they immediately began hugging and thanking him.  Instrumental backing was provided by the Funk Brothers, which included Joe Hunter on piano, James Jamerson on bass, and Benny Benjamin on drums.  Within two weeks of its release, the song roared to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it took the #1 spot on the R&B charts and went to #3 on the pop charts.  It remained on the charts for five months and became Gordy label’s first million-seller, and it still holds the record as Motown’s fastest rising hit of all time.

The Contours were better known for their incredible dancing rather than their limited harmonies, and they used their talent to create this boisterous dancefloor hit.  This song sort of parallels what happened to The Blenders member Leroy Fair who was replaced because he couldn’t keep up with the dance steps, as in this song an unwanted guy leaves with a broken heart, but he comes back after he learns how to move.  He can mash potato and do the twist and now he is feeling the love.

You broke my heart ‘cause I couldn’t dance,
You didn’t even want me around
And now I’m back to let you know I can really shake ‘em down

Do you love me? (I can really move)
Do you love me? (I’m in the groove)
Now do you love me?
(Do you love me now that I can dance?)
Watch me, now
(Work, work) ah, work it out baby
(Work, work) well, I’m gonna drive you crazy
(Work, work) ah, just a little bit of soul, now?
(Work)
Now I can mash potatoes (I can mash potatoes)
I can do the twist (I can do the twist)
Tell me, baby, do you like it like this?
Tell me (tell me) tell me

Do you love me?
Do you love me, baby?
Now do you love me?
(Do you love me now that I can dance?)
Watch me, now
(Work, work) ah, work it out baby
(Work, work) well, I’m gonna drive you crazy
(Work, work) you are getting kind of cold, now
(Work)
(Work, work) with just a little bit of soul, now ?
(Work, work) come on, come on now
(Work, work) I’m gonna drive you crazy
(Work)
I can mash potatoes
I can do the twist
Well now, tell me, baby, do you like it like this?
Tell me (tell me) tell me

Do you love me?
Do you love me, baby?
Do you love me?
Do you love me?
Now that I can dance
(Work, work) ah, work it out baby
(Work, work) well, I’m gonna drive you crazy
(Work, work) oh you are getting kind of cold, now
(Work)
(Work, work) with just a little bit of soul, now
(Work, work) now don’t you get kinda bold, now?
(Work, work) oh, work it out, baby

 

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for a short story, a piece of flash fiction, or a poem that you can share with the WordPress writing community.  There is no need to stick with this song, as you could write about another Contours song, or a Temptations song, a Martha Reeves song, a Jackie Wilson song, or any Motown song.  You could also write about The Funk Brothers and how so many of their songs became huge hits.  You could write about dancing, how you learned to do it and how much you enjoy it, whether or not you are the one dancing or just someone who enjoys watching.  Since we just had Thanksgiving, you could write about how your mashed potatoes turned out.  You could write about anything that drives you crazy.

The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate.  This challenge is very loose, so pretty much whatever you come up with will be acceptable.  I try to throw some ideas out there for you and if they seem right, then go with it.  You could write about the first time that someone asked you to dance with them, and how that worked out.  You could write a post about getting better at dancing and how that made you feel.  Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie brings you a dose of fetish, good friends and an incomparable muse and next Friday on December 3 Dylan Hughes will be here with her First Line Friday.  I will be back on Friday, December 10 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘What Becomes of the Brokenhearted’.  You can either create a ping back to this post, or place your link in the comments section below.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

5 comments on “Do You Love Me – Challenge #196

  1. newepicauthor
    November 26, 2021

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    ‘Do You Love Me’ was featured prominently in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, which revived the record’s popularity. When it was re-issued as a single from the More Dirty Dancing soundtrack album, ‘Do You Love Me’ became a hit for the second time, peaking at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1988. The Contours, by then were composed of Joe Billingslea and three new members, and they joined Ronnie Spector and Bill Medley, among others, on a ‘Dirty Dancing Tour’ resulting from the success of the film.

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This entry was posted on November 26, 2021 by in Music Prompt and tagged .
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