On November 19, 1964, The Supremes became the first all girl group to have a UK No.1 single with “Baby Love.” It was the second of five Supremes songs in a row to go to No.1 in the US, including “Where Did Our Love Go,” “Come See About Me,” “Stop! In The Name Of Love,” and “Back In My Arms Again.” In 1966 they continued their string of No.1 hits with “I Hear A Symphony,” “You Can’t Hurry Love,” and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Their songs are among the best of Motown songs ever.
“Baby Love” provides the theme for my blog entry and playlist this week, with “Baby”, one of my first word themed playlists I created many years ago, and among my favorites.
The title of the playlist is yet another Motown great, “Ooh Baby Baby” by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles. With his silky smooth vocals, Smokey was another Motown hit machine, with songs including “Shop Around,” “Tracks Of My Tears,” “I Second That Emotion,” “Tears Of A Clown” and then as a solo artist with “Crusin’,” “Being With You,” and “Just To See Her.”
Other Motown hits include the Four Tops “Baby I Need Your Loving” and the Temptations “Since I Lost My Baby.” Some oldies but goodies with Buddy Holly’s “Maybe Baby,” Franky Valli’s “Bye Bye Baby,” The Beatles “Baby It’s You” as well as oferings from Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, and Billie Holiday.
Another gem in this playlist is my all time favorite Bob Dylan song, “Baby Let Me Follow You Down.” Traditionally not the biggest Dylan fan, this song brought me more around to his musical genius, though recorded when only in the infancy of his career. If you haven’s seen “Life Itself,” it’s worth a watch, with Dylan’s landmark album “Time Out of Mind,” which contains the now classic, oft covered tune “Make You Feel My Love.”
The playlist does include “Somebody’s Baby” and “Your Bright Baby Blues” by Jackson Browne as well as “Baby Boom Baby” by James Taylor, both of whom I just saw in concert. They were fantastic. Jackson, of German and Norwegian descent, was a precocious songwriter in his teens, and helped pen the Eagles first top 40 hit “Take It Easy.” He shared a house in Echo Park, LA in the early 70s with Glenn Frey and JD Souther, and helped Glen Frey and Don Henley hone their songwriting skills. I love the video below, featuring a young Glenn singing the lead on “Take It Easy,” with Jackson as well as the rest of the Eagles members and even Linda Ronstadt in an early 70s performance.
I had totally forgotten that “Somebody’s Baby” was released as part of the soundtrack of the 80s classic “Fast Times At Ridgemont High.” I don’t think I’ve revisited the movie since I first saw it in the theater almost 40 years ago now:
At the concert James Taylor discussed his road to recovery from drug addiction, primarily heroin, prompted by the overdose death of his close friend John Belushi, highlighted in his song “That’s Why I’m Here”:
“John’s gone, found dead. He dies high, he’s brown bread, later said to have drowned in his bed. After the laugher, the waves of dread, it hits us like a ton of lead.”
His song “Fire And Rain” chronicles the suicide death of a friend of his, as well as his struggle with addiction and recovery, and institutionalization in a mental hospital.
“Won’t you look down upon me Jesus? You’ve got to help me make a stand. You’ve just got to see me through another day. My body’s aching and my time is at hand. And I won’t make it any other way.”
Lastly, with Christmas approaching, I did include at the end of the list some great Christmas “Baby” songs, such as “Merry Christmas Baby”, “Santa Baby,” and “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” There are so many great versions of these songs, that I included recordings by several artists, such as Otis Redding, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, and U2. They are among my all time favorite pop Christmas songs.
So enjoy this week’s featured playlist, “Ooh BABY Baby”:
As an added bonus, for those of you not familiar with Jackson Browne and James Taylor, or those wanting to re-listen to some of your old favorites, I thought I’d include a playlist of some of the songs from their music catalogue:
I hope that this music and my blog truly serve as a “revival: a new presentation of something old,” a springboard to return to the music of your youth, or perhaps to find artists you want to discover anew. Rediscover the passion of music in your life.
Live in the moment
Enjoy the moment
Love the moment
Listen to the MUSIC!