Love Child is a song by Diana Ross & The Supremes which is the title track of their album "Love Child."
The single was released by Motown on September 30, 1968. It became the Supremes' 11th number-one single in the United States.
The song became the number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart for two weeks (from November 30, 1968 through December 14, 1968) and reached number two on the soul music chart for three weeks.
"Love Child" is notable for its then-controversial subject matter of illegitimacy.
It is also notable for knocking the Beatles' "Hey Jude" off the top spot in the United States.
The Supremes debuted the song on the season premiere of the CBS variety program "The Ed Sullivan Show" on Sunday, September 29, 1968.
In 1967, Diana Ross & the Supremes (having dropped Florence Ballard) acquired new member Cindy Birdsong, added Diana's name to the billing.
Following this string of changes, the Supremes had mixed success on the pop charts.
This prompted Motown label chief Berry Gordy to hold a special meeting in a room at the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit which was attended by a team of writers and producers at the label, including R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards and Henry Cosby.
The group (who named themselves The Clan) set to work on a hit single for Diana Ross & the Supremes.
Instead of composing another love-based song, the team decided to craft a tune about a woman who is asking her boyfriend not to pressure her into sleeping with him, for fear they would conceive a "love child."
The woman (portrayed on the record by Diana Ross) is herself a love child, and besides not having a father at home, had to endure wearing rags to school and growing up in an "old, cold, run-down tenement slum."
The background vocals echo this sentiment, asking the boyfriend to please "wait/wait won't you wait now/hold on/wait/just a little bit longer."
As was nearly always the case on records released under the "Diana Ross & the Supremes" name, Supremes members Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong do not perform on the record.
Motown session singers The Andantes performed the background vocals. All the lead vocals were by Diana Ross, who would leave the group in a year for a solo career.
The public responded immediately to "Love Child" when it was released as a single on September 30, 1968, rising to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and becoming the third biggest selling Supremes' single behind Baby Love and Someday We'll Be Together.
The feat was repeated in Canada where it also reached number one in the RPM 100 national singles chart.
In the UK singles chart, the song peaked at number 15 and number three in Australia. "Love Child" became the title track of Diana Ross & the Supremes' "Love Child" album (which was released on November 13, 1968).
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard R&B Singles Chart||2|
|U.S. Cash Box Pop Singles Chart||1|
|Canadian RPM 100||1|
|UK Singles Chart||15|
|Australian Singles Chart||3|
- Lead vocals by Diana Ross
- Background vocals by The Andantes: Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow and Louvain Demps
- Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers
- Arranged by Paul Riser