Song of the Day #408: ‘Love Child’ – Diana Ross & The Supremes

suplovechildOf all The Supremes’ #1 hits, this one strikes me as among the most interesting because of the way it reflects the changing dynamic in both the music industry and the band itself.

For one thing, note that the song is credited to Diana Ross & The Supremes, a name change that took place in 1967 and led to a growing rift within the group. Indeed, Florence Ballard left the band just a year later and was replaced by Cindy Birdsong. ‘Love Child’ was The Supremes’ first #1 single without Ballard, and the first under their new moniker.

The other change is evident in the band’s image on that album cover… they’re clearly moving out of that classic 60s image and into more gritty territory. The song, too, with its subject matter (an illegitimate child) and sound (a blend of funk and string work), signals a move in a new direction.

Indeed, Diana Ross left the band not long after this recording. I’ll feature their final #1 hit tomorrow.

You think that I don’t feel love
But what I feel for you is real love
In others’ eyes I see reflected
A hurt, scorned, rejected

Love child, never meant to be
Love child, born in poverty
Love child, never meant to be
Love child, take a look at me

I started my life in an old, cold run down tenement slum
My father left, he never even married mom
I shared the guilt my mama knew
So afraid that others knew I had no name

This love we’re contemplating
Is worth the pain of waiting
We’ll only end up hating
The child we may be creating

Love child, never meant to be
Love child, (scorned by) society
Love child, always second best
Love child, different from the rest

Mm, baby (hold on, hold on, just a little bit)
Mm, baby (hold on, hold on, just a little bit)
I started school, in a worn, torn dress that somebody threw out
I knew the way it felt, to always live in doubt
To be without the simple things
So afraid my friends would see the guilt in me

Don’t think that I don’t need you
Don’t think I don’t wanna please you
No child of mine will be bearing
The name of shame I’ve been wearing

Love child, love child, never quite as good
Afraid, ashamed, misunderstood

But I’ll always love you
I’ll always love you
I’ll always love you
I’ll always love you
I’ll always love you
I’ll always love you

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #408: ‘Love Child’ – Diana Ross & The Supremes

  1. Kerrie Rueda says:

    Interesting change in the group dynamic on this one. I have to admit, though, that I know this song better through its late 80s remake by some group that never did much else (I don’t even know who they are but they were called Sweet Sensation – I looked it up). 😉 I heard that version before I even knew this one existed.

  2. Amy says:

    Can’t say that I love the change. I guess a group needs to evolve, but if you’ve made your name with songs such as “Stop! In the Name of Love,” do we really need to hear you singing about illegitimate children? I guess they still scored a hit with it, so their fans were willing to give them a chance, but maybe it was even more uncomfortable for the members of the group than it was for the fans. That album cover just does NOT say Supremes to me.

  3. Rod says:

    Soul/Pop music was moving from the ol’ blues format of 12-bars and AABA format into something more malleable. Motown had to evolve too. You can even hear the Psychedelic sounds creeping in songs like “Reflections.”

    You can’t sing simple tunes like “Where Did Our Love Go” and “Baby Love” forever and still remain relevant. The early ’60s were very different from the late ’60s.

  4. Dana says:

    Okay, I admit that I am growing tired of Motown weekends….Can we move to Disco weekends?

  5. Clay says:

    You’re welcome to contribute your own blog entries, buddy! We can have Dana Weekends from here on out.

  6. Jim says:

    I was there, The fans were pressuring the girls to wear their natural hair. No more wigs,. Holland dozier and Holland had left the company. The girls definetly needed a new direction. Their managers didn’t think it would work, but somethig new had to give. Times were changing, and Baby Love just wasnt cutting it any more. Well Diana and the in-house back up group The Andantes (Mary and Cindy are not on that record) cut Love child. People ate it up, and I believe it is threir biggist selling record. PERFECT TIMING

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