"Where Did Our Love Go" is a 1964 song recorded by The Supremes for the Motown label. 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 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Holland–Dozier–Holland (H-D-H) had originally composed the song and prepared the instrumental track for The Marvelettes to record it. The Marvelettes rejected the song, thinking it childish, and H–D–H offered it to the Supremes, who by early 1964 had only one top-forty hit, When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes, and eight failed singles. Although the Supremes were apprehensive at first about the song, they decided that they really didn't have a choice in the matter. Upon learning the Supremes had chosen to record "Where Did Our Love Go", the Marvelettes warned the girls to stand up for themselves and not just take anything H–D–H would give them. As a result, when the song was recorded on April 8, 1964, there was a bit of animosity on the part of the Supremes towards singing the song. Lamont Dozier was forced at one point to redo the arrangement of the background vocals, replacing the original, more complex backing with simple repetitions of the word "baby." One of the most famous aspects of "Where Did Our Love Go" was its rhythm section, consisting primarily of footstomps. The sound effect was performed by an Italian-American teenager named Mike Valvano, who stomped down upon two wooden boards suspended by strings, to create the aural illusion of a group of foot-stompers. Handclaps were overdubbed for the 45 RPM single mix of the song. Since the lead vocal was originally written to be sung by the Marvelettes' lead singer Gladys Horton, it was arranged in lower key than the Supremes' lead singer Diana Ross' natural register. Lyricist Eddie Holland wanted Supreme Mary Wilson to sing the lead, feeling that her dusky voice suited the song better, but by this time Motown chief Berry Gordy had appointed Ross as the trio's sole lead singer. The resulting vocal track had a sensual appeal not present in Ross' earlier songs, and she elatedly rushed to Gordy's office, and dragged him to the basement studio at Hitsville U.S.A. to hear it. Upon hearing the finished song, Gordy remarked that the song had potential, possibly enough to make it to the top ten.
Release and reactionEdit
"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.