Where Did Our Love Go by the Supremes
“Where Did Our Love Go” is a 1964 song recorded by the Supremes for the Motown label.
An American Classic written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, “Where Did Our Love Go” was the first single by the Supremes to go to the number-one position on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the United States, a position it held for two weeks, from August 16 to August 29, 1964. It was also the first of five Supremes songs in a row to reach number one (respectively, “Baby Love,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In the Name of Love,” and “Back in My Arms Again”). The song also reached number one on the Cash Box R&B singles chart.
The Supremes’ version is ranked #472 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Rock and Blues Band “Failure Machine” of Reno Nevada rendition
According Wikipedia, Brian Holland, “Where Did Our Love Go” was written with The Supremes in mind. Though Supremes member Mary Wilson would later write that the song had been originally given to The Marvelettes, Holland would deny this claim, as would the Marvelettes themselves. Marvelettes member Katherine Anderson-Schnaffer later said that the song didn’t quite fit her group’s repertoire, as the song was produced under a slower beat and their music was more uptempo. When the Supremes were eventually given the song, the group members weren’t pleased with the record, with member Florence Ballard later stating that they had wanted a stronger single similar to the Marvelettes’ “Please Mr. Postman”. Although the group felt the song didn’t have the hook to make it successful, they decided that they really didn’t have a choice and prepared to record the song.
Initially, the producers argued over who should sing the song, as the song had been cut in the same key as Mary Wilson’s but since Berry Gordy had assigned the main lead singer role to Diana Ross, the producers eventually gave the song to Ross, who sung it in her original register after the group entered the recording studio to record the song on April 8. Ross was told to sing it at a lower register. As a result, a stubborn Ross sung it in a lower key, fessing afterwards to Holland, “is that what you want?” with Holland nodding. The other Supremes, who had sung with more energy on previous recordings, were only told to continually say “baby” repetitively while also only singing the title. This was done after Lamont Dozier was forced to redo the arrangement of the background vocals.
Upon hearing the song’s playback, an excited Ross rushed to Gordy’s office and told him to come to the studio to listen to the song. Upon hearing playback, a satisfied Gordy nodded saying to the producers and the group that the song had potential to be a top ten hit.
Release and reaction
“Where Did Our Love Go” was released as a single on June 17, 1964, and entered the Hot 100 at number seventy-seven. Six weeks later, while the Supremes were on tour as part of Dick Clark’s “American Bandstand Caravan of Stars”, the song made it to number one for two weeks. The girls began the tour at the bottom of the bill; by the conclusion of the tour, they were at the top. They performed the song on the NBC variety program, Hullabaloo! on Tuesday, January 26, 1965.
The song became the focal point and title track of the group’s second album, Where Did Our Love Go, released later that year. A German language version of the song was recorded by the Supremes for German-speaking markets overseas.
The song seemed to strike a chord in the United States, with a group which would become the most successful chart-topping American popular music group of the 1960s. The first of their Number Ones, the song peaked just weeks after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, critically remarked as capturing the spirit of an America reeling from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, racial tension, increased United States involvement in Vietnam, and foreseeing the end of the early optimism of the 1960s.