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Love Child

Love Child is a 1968 album recorded by Diana Ross & the Supremes for the Motown label.

The LP was the group's first studio LP (excepting covers and tribute albums) not to include any songs written or produced by any member of the Holland–Dozier–Holland production team, who had previously overseen most of the Supremes' releases.

OverviewEdit

Several different producers and production teams worked on the Love Child LP. Nickolas Ashford & Valerie Simpson, the production team behind the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell hit singles, wrote and produced the album's first single, "Some Things You Never Get Used To". The single peaked at number 30 on the Billboard Hot 100, the Supremes' weakest chart showing since 1963.

Wanting to improve the group's waning sales, Motown CEO Berry Gordy assembled a production team he termed "The Clan" (Frank Wilson, Deke Richards, Henry Cosby, R. Dean Taylor, and Gordy himself) to create a hit single for The Supremes. The result was "Love Child", which returned the Supremes to the Billboard Hot 100's number-one position.

Staff producers such as Smokey Robinson, Harvey Fuqua, and Johnny Bristol also contributed to the album.

The tracks on Love Child show a markedly different sound for The Supremes, eschewing the soul-pop sound Holland-Dozier-Holland had masterminded for a more distinct, mature sound and lyric.

During its four years as a Top 40 pop act, The Supremes had gone from playing local venues to performing in expensive supper clubs, and the change in sound reflected the group's new fanbase. The new Supremes recordings also, according to Supremes member Mary Wilson, emphasized "[lead singer Diana Ross'] voice at the expense of any good harmonies"

Wilson and third Supreme Cindy Birdsong do not in fact appear on either of the LP's singles (Motown session singers The Andantes instead sing backing vocals on these as well as on some other of the album's tracks), although Wilson and Birdsong are present on some of the album's tracks.

In many ways, Motown geared it to be a solo album for Ross. It featured some of her most confident vocals. The album is considered one of the most mature in their vast body of work.

Originally conceived as a more socially topical album, songs like "Does Your Mama Know About Me", "(He's My) Sunny Boy" and the title track along with its follow-up, "I'm Living in Shame" conveyed a snapshot of what love might be for a young woman growing up in the ghettos of Detroit. The album cover reflected that sentiment as well.

The album eventually went onto be certified platinum driven by their biggest selling single to date, "Love Child".

It was a dynamic hot streak for Diana and The Supremes along with The Temptations as they had no less than 4 Top 10 albums by year's end. After a successful outing on Ed Sullivan, Berry Gordy crafted several projects for The Supremes and The Temptations including a top rated Neilsen television special and album, "T.C.B.".

Unfortunately, the concert was recorded in August of 1968, pre-empting hit singles like "Love Child" and "Cloud Nine" for the groups individually. The special would also not benefit from the pairings #1 single, "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me".

In many ways, flooding the market with such strong material meant that several titles would compete for the #1 slot on the album and singles chart. Covered songs on the LP include Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers' "Does Your Mama Know About Me" (co-written by future comedian Tommy Chong) and Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell's "You Ain't Livin' Until You're Lovin'".

Smokey Robinson's "He's My Sunny Boy" would later become the b-side to the final Diana Ross-led Supremes single, "Someday We'll Be Together" (1969), and Ashford & Simpson's "Keep an Eye" would later be rerecorded by Ross for her first solo LP, Diana Ross. "Can't Shake It Loose" was co-authored by George Clinton for Pat Lewis, later occasionally of The Andantes, who recorded it for Golden World in 1966.

Clinton would later remake the song with his band Funkadelic in 1971, but that version would not be released until 1992, when it was included on the compilation Music For My Mother, as well as "Field Maneuvers", on the 1979 Funkadelic album Uncle Jam Wants You.

TracklistEdit

Side OneEdit

Side TwoEdit

  • He's My Sunny Boy
  • You've Been So Wonderful To Me
  • (Don't Break These) Chains of Love
  • You Ain't Livin' 'til You're Lovin'
  • I'll Set You Free
  • Can't Shake It Loose

Chart HistoryEdit

Name Chart Peak Position
Love Child U.S. Billboard Hot 100 #14
U.S. Billboard R&B Albums #3
U.K. Pop Albums #8


Name Chart (1968) Peak Position
Some Things You Never Get Used To U.S. Billboard Pop #30
U.S. Billboard R&B #43
U.K. Pop #34
Love Child U.S. Billboard Pop #1
U.S. Billboard R&B #2
U.K. Pop #13

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