Songbook site index

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using scroll wheel-2a

You may comment on either Songbook pages (784 published) or posts (30). Be forewarned though that posts, which are typically duplicates of Songbook pages, are usually deleted after a brief time. I normally create a page first, publish a duplicate or near dupe of the page as a post, and hold publication of the page for a while, sometimes until I remove the post. Pages are very seldom deleted.

Songbook posts are principally used to:

  1. announce new pages
  2. serve as site indexes (such as this post), or indexes of pages concerning selected periods or artists
  3. leave informative messages about the site (such as this one)
  4. advertise artists or recordings from feature pages in construction, or which I’m transiently interested in or think my audience might enjoy
  5. occasionally refer to and provide links to previously published Songbook pages which may otherwise be forgotten or neglected

sno_ani08sno_ani08sno_ani08sno_ani08sno_ani08sno_ani08sno_ani08sno_ani08

Billie Holiday, capebillie-holiday-pearls-1a

Page index (drop-down) browse demo (1a)

(above) header tab 5 generation browse demonstration: Page Index > Songbook site index > Songwriter > Songwriters to 1954 > Berlin, Irving > Berlin pages (11) — correction: The page Irving Berlin: selected songs of 1909 and 1910 is now included in the Berlin drop down index.

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Don’t Make Me Over / T’en vas pas comme ça — selected recordings, 1962-1990

Don’t Make Me Over (m. Burt Bacharach, w. Hal David)

From the Wikipedia song profile:

The songwriting/production team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David had been struck by Dionne Warwick’s work as a session singer on The Drifters’ “Mexican Divorce” in February 1962 and subsequently Warwick had regularly vocalized on demos of compositions by that Bacharach/David team, beginning with the song “Make It Easy on Yourself.” Florence Greenberg, owner of the Scepter Records label, had signed Warwick after hearing her voice on the demo for “It’s Love that Really Counts” although Greenberg did not wish to release that song as a single by Warwick (“It’s Love That Really Counts” was given to the Shirelles to serve as a B-side); Greenberg also rejected “Make It Easy on Yourself” which was subsequently placed with Jerry Butler, which would become a charted hit recording. Warwick had hoped “Make It Easy on Yourself” would serve as her recording debut.

Upon learning from Bacharach and David the label didn’t think her style was correct for their new song, and that Jerry Butler was selected for recording it, a keenly disappointed Warwick felt used, manipulated and exploited, and dismissed the team’s assurance of writing her an equally viable song in her own style. According to a Biography cable television episode on Burt Bacharach, Warwick responded by shouting, in [sic] nearly in crying rant, at the songwriters as she left the recording studio: “Don’t make me over, man . . . (you have to) accept me for what I am”. Bacharach and David looked at each other in the moment, in stunned disbelief, at her youthful outburst at them. warwick-bacharach-getty-1David said to Bacharach: “Burt, I think we just heard the title of a new song”. David, never to waste life’s circumstances and moments as inspiration for a song, in fact went to work on lyrics and utilized Warwick’s authentic energetic outburst as the title and sentiment for “Don’t Make Me Over”, shifting the meaning of the phrase to “Accept me as I am”.[1]

With the song composition completed, “Don’t Make Me Over” was recorded under Bacharach and David’s guidance by Warwick at Bell Studios in August 1962. The production, at the time, was a recording industry departure, and represented a new, powerful, often-soaring orchestral-choir framing of Bacharach’s melodies with David’s either forceful or tender lyrics around the bold, fresh soulful female voice of the young Dionne Warwick—an original sound—the new Bacharach-David style of recording had been coined for the listening public. Florence Greenberg initially disliked the unconventional new sound. The witty Bacharach recalls Greenberg “cried upon hearing it, and not because she loved the recording” – and another track from the same recording session: “I Smiled Yesterday”, was the official A-side of Warwick’s debut single with “Don’t Make Me Over” relegated to the B-side. However, it was “Don’t Make Me Over” that would be the hit single that broke initially in heavy rotation on San Francisco radio upon the record’s October 1962 release, and under this title, Warwick’s single debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 dated 8 December 1962, to rise as high as #21 – #5 R&B – in January 1963.

Dionne Warwick  – recorded in August 1962, and issued in October 1962 on Scepter 1239 as the B-side of “I Smiled Yesterday” (Bacharach & David); chart success: #21, Hot 100

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(below) 1963 lip-sync performance for unknown television show

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song history:

lyric:

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The Swinging Blue Jeans — 1966, #31 UK

weird German stereo version

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This Guy’s in Love With You

See also the previously published Songbook page

Herb Alpert and first wife Sharon Mae Lubin, c. 1968

This Guy’s in Love With You (m. Burt Bacharach, w. Hal David)

From the History section of the Wikipedia page on “This Guy’s in Love With You”:

As documented in a Biography cable episode featuring Bacharach, the recording originated when [Herb] Alpert asked Bacharach, “Say, Burt, do you happen to have any old compositions lying around that you and Hal never recorded; maybe one I might use?” Alpert said he made it his practice to ask songwriters that particular question; often a lost “pearl” was revealed. As it happened, Bacharach recalled one, found the lyrics and score sheet, and offered it to Alpert: “Here, Herb … you might like this one.”

Alpert saw the possibilities in it for himself. The composition had a recognizable Bacharach-David feel, a spot for a signature horn solo in the bridge and in the fadeout, and it was an easy song to sing within Alpert’s vocal range. He originally sang “This Guy’s in Love with You” on a 1968 television special, The Beat of the Brass.

A brief description of the song’s genesis given by Burt Bacharach, however, differs markedly from the story reportedly told by Alpert in the aforementioned Biography episode. Referring to the Herb Alpert special and the request for the song, Bacharach, in an interview conducted by Ken Sharp and published at popentertainment.com on 24 July 2006, said:

It was a television show. Herb was very hot and his band, The Tijuana Brass was very hot. I was signed to A&M as an artist. There were great guys running the record company, Herb and Jerry (Moss). They asked me to do it, to write a song with Hal David, come in and write the arrangement and conduct the orchestra. I did it as a favor.

The composer says nothing about digging into his chest of unused manuscripts to magically pick out a neglected gem. He specifically says that the song was written in response to a request by the heads of A&M, Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss.

Hal David’s recollection of the song’s creation, on the other hand, while not explicitly confirming the version of events provided by Alpert, is at least compatible with it. According to Songfacts.com, in the book Bacharach by Michael Brocken (full title Bacharach: Maestro! The Life of a Pop Genius, published in 2003), David is quoted saying:

He wanted to do our song on a TV special he was doing. It was a song he was going to sing to his wife, and the lyric was not quite appropriate for what he wanted to say. He asked us whether we could change it so it would fit what he needed. And I did; and he did it on the show and got a terrific reaction and recorded it. And it turned out to be a stunning hit!

Wikipedia says,

[Herb Alpert] originally sang “This Guy’s in Love with You” on a 1968 television special, The Beat of the Brass. In response to numerous viewer telephone calls following the broadcast, Alpert decided that the song should be released as a single recording, and it reached No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in June of that year, remaining in the top position for four weeks.

Songfacts agrees partially with the Wikipedia article, but adds questionable details, saying:

Alpert sang this to his first wife in a 1968 TV special called The Beat of the Brass. The sequence was taped on the beach in Malibu. The song was not intended to be released, but after it was used in the TV special, thousands of telephone calls to CBS asking about it convinced label owner Alpert to release it as a single two days after the show aired.

The Songfacts description is factually inaccurate on at least two points:

1. In the The Beat of the Brass segment, Alpert is shown singing to his wife only during the first minute and a quarter of the song sequence, from about 0:37 to 1:14, and not at all in its final 3 minutes. The parts of the sequence filmed on the beach don’t appear until over 3 minutes into the song. Earlier parts may have been filmed in Malibu Creek State Park or in one of the numerous other scenic parks in the Santa Monica Mountains, but they weren’t shot on or near a beach.

2. The single was not released “two days” after the show aired. According to IMDb, the airdate of the TV special was 22 April 1968. The single was issued in May, and according to BacharachOnline.com’s list of Bacharach hit recordings, entered the Hot 100 chart on 18 May 1968. A note on the page on the single at 45cat.com, “BB May 11, 1968,” suggests that notice of its release may have been published in Billboard magazine that week, one week before it broke onto the Billboard pop singles chart.

Herb Alpert and Burt Bacharach (1)

Herb Alpert provides an interesting detail regarding a modification he made to the Bacharach arrangement in a recent interview conducted by Marc Myers, and published under the title “Herb Alpert Readies New Album” in the Arena section of the Wall Street Journal, dated “updated September 23, 2014.” The exchange:

Myers: In 1968, you recorded “This Guy’s In Love With You.” Why did it work?

Alpert: You have to start with a great song. I asked Burt Bacharach, a friend, if he and Hal David had a song for me. He gave me this one and wrote the orchestral arrangement. He was even in the studio when I recorded it. I wanted this two-second pause between my vocal and my trumpet solo. Burt said, “Oh, man, you can’t do that. Take it out.” I thought it felt good and wanted to keep it. Burt didn’t think the gap was radio-wise. I thought a pause would be a dramatic and sensitive way to segue from the vocal to the horn. Actually, my vocal on the record was supposed to be the demo, just to see if it was in the right key. But when we listened to the playback, the musicians said, “Don’t touch it.” I agreed. 

Herb Alpert — from the Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass TV special The Beat of the Brass, which aired on 22 April 1968

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1968 This Guy's in Love With You-Herb Alpert-A&M 929 (1)-d20-hx15

Herb Alpert – single issued in May 1968 on A&M 929, backed with “A Quiet Tear (Lagrima Quieta)”  — The performance of the music on the B-side is credited to Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, but Alpert is the lone credited performer on the A-side.

BacharachOnline.com’s list of Bacharach hit recordings indicates that the single entered the Hot 100 chart on 18 May 1968. It rose to #1 on the week of 22 June 1968 and remained atop the chart for four consecutive weeks. The recording was also included as a track on the band’s 1968 album The Beat of the Brass, released in the same month as the single.

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From the 1969 television special The Brass Are Comin’ — Alpert sits among selected audience members, all very young, and serenades a rather embarrassed teenage girl

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Selected interpretations

See also the previously published Songbook page:

Willie Bobo — from his 1968 LP A New Dimension, Verve Records V6-8772

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1968 I Pretend (LP) Des O'Connor, Columbia (UK) SCX 6295

Des O’Connor — from his 1968 LP I Pretend, Columbia ‎(UK) SCX 6295

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Sammy Davis, Jr. — live performance for an episode of the BBC TV early evening chat show Dee Time, 1968

Davis evidently either misheard the first line of the lyric or received a faulty transcription. He sings “You say this guy…” instead of “You see this guy…” But at least he didn’t hear “You see the sky. The sky’s in love with you,” as many others apparently do.

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This Girl’s in Love With You — selected early recordings, 1968-1972

See also the Songbook post of 1 November 2014

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This Guy’s in Love With You (m. Burt Bacharach, w. Hal David) –  This post contains recordings of the song under the title “This Girl’s in Love With You,” sung or performed by females, with the lyric (when used) modified accordingly. The final lines of the chorus as originally sung by Herb Alpert become problematic when the singer is female. The ending of the original lyric goes

Say you’re in love
In love with this guy
If not, I’ll just die

If you modify “guy” in the penultimate line to “girl,” “gal,” or the like, you lose the rhyme on the final word. This predicament has been variously remedied or ignored in recordings by female artists. Some modify the line to preserve both the rhyme and gender identification, some forfeit the rhyme, while Marva Whitney sings the original ending unchanged — earlier she refers to herself as “this girl,” but now she’s “this guy” — and Liza Minelli makes a unique and somewhat illogical substitution.

The penultimate line sung by our selected artists:

  • Eydie Gorme: And you’ll be my guy
  • Petula Clark: In love with this girl
  • Dusty Springfield: In love with this girl
  • Dionne Warwick: And you’ll be my guy
  • Brenda Lee: And you’ll be my guy
  • Ella Fitzgerald (Montreux): In love with me, guy
  • Barbara Acklin: And you’ll be my guy
  • Salena Jones: In love with this girl
  • Aretha Franklin: And you’ll be my guy
  • Marva Whitney: In love with this guy
  • Liza Minelli: In love, you and I
  • Mary Stallings: And you’ll be my guy

1968 This Girl's in Love With You-Eydie Gorme-Calendar 63-1004

Eydie Gorme — issued in July 1968 on the single Calendar 63-1004, b/w “It’s You Again” — I think we can safely assume that the male voice on the back vocals is that of Steve Lawrence.

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Petula Clark — from her album Petula, Pye Records (UK) NPL 18235, released in September 1968 (according to Wikipedia); released on Warner Bros. Records in the US

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1968 Dusty...Definitely (LP) Dusty Springfield Philips SBL 7864-(50p)

Dusty Springfield — from her 1968 LP Dusty…Definitely, Philips Records (UK) SBL 7864, released on 22 November 1968 (date according to Wikipedia)

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1969 This Girl's In Love With You-Dionne Warwick-Scepter SCE-12241-d33

Dionne Warwick — originally released in November 1968 (according to Wikipedia) on the LP Promises, Promises, Scepter Records SPS 571; later issued in January 1969 on the single Scepter SCE-12241, b/w “Dreamer Sweet Dreamer” — According to BacharachOnline.com, the single peaked at #7 on the Hot 100 after debuting on the chart in February 1969

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Brenda Lee — (incomplete) probably from her 1969 LP Johnny One Time, Decca ‎DL 75111 — notes: poor audio quality; “a very old radio cut” according to the provider

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Dorothy Ashby 3

Dorothy Ashby — from the album Dorothy’s Harp, Cadet Records LPS 825 — recorded at Ter Mar Studios in Chicago, March 1969

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Rainy Days and Mondays

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Rainy Days and Mondays (m. Roger Nichols, w. Paul Williams)

useful links:

From Songfacts:

Paul Williams and Roger Nichols (2)Sometimes song lyrics are written on the fly, and that was the case with a line in this song. Says Williams: “On ‘Rainy Days And Mondays’ Chuck Kay, who was head of publishing at A&M, said, ‘That’s a perfect song for The 5th Dimension, let’s play it for them.’ I said, ‘Well, there are a couple of lines that aren’t done yet.’ He said, ‘You’ll finish it in the car.’ So in the car going over there, I came up with a fill line, which was ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues.’ I didn’t have that line done yet, so I wrote it as just a quick fill line, because I wanted to mention the blues, but it was such a hackneyed expression, ‘I’ve got the blues.’ So I just wrote, ‘What I’ve got they used to call the blues.’ And it actually became my favorite line in the song. I think it’s the best line in the song. I met Johnny Mercer once at A&M Records, and he sat down and I introduced myself, ‘Paul Williams,’ and he shook my hand. And he walked back into the studio where he was mixing, then he stuck his head back out into the hall and he went, ‘Paul Williams, ‘what I’ve got they used to call the blues,’ that Paul Williams?’ I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ It was funny. It was one of the great moments of my life, to meet Johnny Mercer, who I think was the lyricist’s lyricist.”

1971 Rainy Days and Mondays-Carpenters-AM 1260-sleeve(front)1971 Rainy Days and Mondays-Carpenters-AM-1260-S

Carpenters

Wikipedia says of the single by the Carpenters,

“Rainy Days and Mondays”went to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and it was the duo’s fourth #1 song on the Adult Contemporary singles chart.[1] However, the song failed to chart in the United Kingdom until it went to #63 in a reissue there in 1993.

The single was issued on the A&M (US) label on 23 April 1971, according to 45cat.com, under the following three catalog numbers (variants found on first pressings from three different plants): AM-1260-S, AM-1260, and 1260-S, backed with “Saturday.” Both sides were arranged by Richard Carpenter. This recording of “Rainy Days and Mondays” also became the first track on the album Carpenters, released on 14 May 1971.

Carpenters c.1971 (1)Karen Carpenter sings, 1971 (2)

HQ

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(below) music video with a copyright date of 1985, provided by CarpentersVEVO; I’ve thus far been unable to identify the source of the lip-sync performance (from about :44 on), which is evidently from the early 197os

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(below) lip-sync performance for the television special “The 5th Dimension Traveling Sunshine Show,” which aired on 18 August 1971

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Live at the BBC, September(?) 1971

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1971 You've Got a Friend-Andy Williams-Columbia KC 30797 (1)-f201971 You've Got a Friend-Andy Williams-Columbia KC 30797 (back)

Andy Williams — from his 1971 album You’ve Got a Friend, Columbia KC 30797

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We’ve Only Just Begun

We’ve Only Just Begun (m. Roger Nichols, w. Paul Williams)

From Wikipedia (image added):

Paul Williams and Roger Nichols (2)The song was originally recorded by Smokey Roberds, a friend of [Roger] Nichols, under the name “Freddie Allen”.[1] It debuted in a wedding-themed television commercial for Crocker National Bank in California in the winter of 1970 with [Paul] Williams on vocals. Hal Riney, founder of the San Francisco-based advertising agency Hal Riney & Partners, commissioned the song to help Crocker appeal to young people. The song played over footage of a young couple getting married and just starting out. Direct reference to the bank was left out, in part to make the song more marketable. The commercial was very popular and Crocker National’s business flourished.

Richard Carpenter saw the commercial and guessed correctly that it was Paul Williams (both of them were under contract to A&M records). Carpenter ran into Williams on the record company’s lot and asked if a full-length version was available. Although it had only two verses and no bridge, Williams confirmed that there was a bridge and an additional verse, forming a complete song; he and Nichols went on to write them. Carpenter selected the composition for the duo’s third single and included it on the LP Close to You.

Released in the late summer of 1970, the single featured Karen’s lead vocals and the overdubbed harmonies of both siblings. Following their hit, “(They Long to Be) Close to You” onto the charts, “We’ve Only Just Begun” hit #1 on the Cash Box singles chart and #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, becoming the pair’s second million-selling Gold single. It was considered by both Karen and Richard to be their signature song.[2]

Selected links:

Wikipedia:

lyric:

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Crocker National Bank commercial, vocal by Paul Williams — 1970

Portions of the complete song were used in at least two Crocker Bank commercials. The first, “Wedding” (below), uses the same first two verses recorded by the Carpenters (with a slightly different back vocal). A later commercial, “Moving,” uses an alternate first verse, which is a combination of the first two verses as published, plus the third verse. Neither commercial includes the bridge: “Sharing horizons that are new to us…”

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 1970 recordings

1970 We've Only Just Begun-Freddie Allen-B-side of White Whale WW-345

Smokey Roberds (as “Freddie Allen”) — B-side of “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me,” White Whale WW-345, issued in March 1970

An incomplete copy of the recording begins the following VBR MP3, 109.4 MB file, provided by Internet Archive (archive.org):

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1970 Close to You (LP) Carpenters, A&M Records SP-4271Carpenters c. 1970 (1)

Carpenters — from the Carpenters’ second album, Close to You, A&M Records SP 4271, released on 19 August 1970; also issued two days later as the single A&M 1217, b/w “All of My Life”

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(below) lead vocal with bass and drums; some back vocals can be faintly heard (1:00-1:06, and 1:52-1:57)

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Do You Know Where You’re Going To (1973) and Theme From Mahogany (1975)

Do You Know Where You’re Going To (m. Michael Masser, w. Gerry Goffin)

Thelma Houston — single Tamla Motown (New Zealand) TMM.872, b/w “Together” (M. Masser, Pam Sawyer), issued in New Zealand in 1973

1973 Do You Know Where You're Going To-Thelma Houston,Tamla Motown (NZ) TMM.872 (with sleeve)-d201973 Do You Know Where You're Going To-Thelma Houston,Tamla Motown (NZ) TMM.872 (label)-d50

Conflicting reports regarding the year the song was recorded by Thelma Houston, and whether it was released by Motown in the US:

  • Labels of the New Zealand single displayed at 45cat.com, Discogs.com, and SwissCharts.com bear the date 1973. A note in the Discogs.com page on the single says, “Originally scheduled for U.S. release in late 1973 as Motown M-1260, but apparently cancelled. As far as I know, New Zealand is the only country where this single was released.”
  • In its Thelma Houston page, soulwalking.co.uk appears to be three years off on the date of the original single:

Thelma’s 1976 version of the song ‘Do You Know Where You’re Going To’ was set to be released, however, the song was given to Diana Ross as part of the movie soundtrack for the film ‘Mahogany’.

  • In the comments section of an article on the song at SongFacts.com, John in Nashville, Tennessee, says,

“Do You Know Where You’re Going To” was originally recorded by Motown artist Thelma Houston in 1973. Her version was released as Motown single #1260.

In a post featuring the Mahogany soundtrack version with the revised lyric, recorded in 1975 by Diana Ross, blogger Abagond says,

“Do You Know Where You’re Going To” had been kicking around at Motown for years. Thelma Houston was about to do it as a single but then it was given to Diana Ross to use as the theme song for her film “Mahogany” (1975). Thus the strange two-part name. It became one of those theme songs that are more famous than the film itself.

Thelma Houston’s recording of the song is included in the Motown Records singles discography at Global Dog Productions (GDP) as Motown 1260, b/w “Together,” dated July 1973. I’ve used GDP’s discographies periodically over the past couple of years, and have not previously noticed it to be their practice to report in their lists, undifferentiated from verifiable releases, scheduled releases that were cancelled. However, being cancelled is what some of the major discography sites such as Discogs.com and Second Hand Songs report happened to Motown 1260.

The existence of a published catalog number, and the fact that I’ve yet to see or hear of any evidence of a Motown 1260 disc or label, together suggest that a U.S. single release was planned, assigned a catalog number, probably announced in notices, but cancelled. A less likely scenario, one which might help explain the inclusion in the GDP discography, is that a limited number of singles were issued before the record was withdrawn from the market.

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(below) In 2009, Thelma Houston performs “Do You Know Where You’re Going To” using the original 1973 lyric, with a few minor modifications

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Lyric, 1973 version
The Sections I’ve numbered 3 and 4 are heavily rewritten in the 1975 (Diana Ross) version, with only a couple of lines having any resemblance to the the lines they replace. The lines about “Stony Brook” (University, presumably) in section 3 of the 1973 version indicate that the first person, the narrative speaker, is rather down on the institution. While “just hanging out” there, she and the second person (the “you” to whom the monologue is directed) had “had a look,” and having done so the first person concludes that they’d now “seen what nothing’s about.” The original section 4 doesn’t slam any places of higher learning, but its relation to the rest of the lyric is far from clear.

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“Do You Know Where You’re Going To?” lyric by Gerry Goffin, 1973 Thelma Houston version — transcribed by doc on 9 June 2014:

1
Do you know where you’re going to
Do you like the things that life is showing you
Where are you going to
Do you know

2
Do you get what you’re hoping for
When you look behind you there’s no open doors
What are you hoping for
Do you know

3
Sometimes while standing still in time
You think you’ll live the thoughts that fill your mind
Now we’ve both been to Stony Brook, just hanging out
We’ve had a look and seen what nothing’s about

repeat 1

4
Now, what am I to say to you
What kind of prayer am I to pray for you
I can only do my best and tell you what I see
And if you see the rest, please send it to me

repeat 1 & 2

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Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?) (m. Michael Masser, w. Gerry Goffin) — 1975 version

1975 Theme From Mahogany (Do You Know Where You're Going To) Motown M 1377F (sleeve)Diana Ross-Mahogany 1

From the chapter “Forget Diana,” of the book Diana Ross: A Biography (2014) by J. Randy Taraborelli, page 295:

In September 1975, “Theme from Mahogany (Do You Know Where You’re Going To?)” was released. Prior to its release Berry Gordy and Michael Mass, who also composed the soundtrack to the film argued over the mix– the actual sound of the recording. Berry wanted one version released, Michael another. As a last resort to get his way, Michael sneaked in to the recording studio and erased a portion of the version Berry preferred, thereby causing his (Masser’s) version to actually be released. It was a clever trick on Michael’ part, and Berry wasn’t pleased about it at the time. Since then, he’s learned to laugh about it, especially since Michael’s version went straight to number one of the pop charts. It remains one of Diana Ross’s most popular songs. Her performance on it was imaginative and compelling and set the stage beautifully for the release of the movie.

Diana RossMotown M 1377F, issued on 24 September 1975, b/w “No One’s Gonna Be A Fool Forever” (Michael Masser, Pam Sawyer) — chart peaks: #1 Hot 100 (1 week, 24 January 1976), and #1 Easy Listening (1 week, 6 December 1975)

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Le Cake-Walk au Nouveau Cirque (1903) by Louis Lumière, featuring Rudy and Fredy Walker

From the abstract of the article “Debussy’s Cakewalk: Race, Modernism and Music in Early Twentieth-Century Paris,” by James Deaville, volume 2, n° 1, janvier 2014 of La Revue musicale OICRM*:

Between November, 1902 and January, 1903, Paris experienced its first tastes of the danced cakewalk through the performances of two American touring ensembles: “Les Elks” and their troupe of black and white dancers appeared in the revue Les Joyeux Nègres at the Nouveau Cirque, while the “Florida Creole Girls [link added]—seven African-American women—performed the cakewalk at the Casino de Paris. Within a matter of weeks the dance became the latest sensation of the capital, as reported in Paris qui chante of January, 1903, although not without serious dissension. It was upon this field of social and cultural contestation that Debussy entered into the world of syncopated Americanism with Golliwogg’s Cake-walk from the Children’s Corner (1908).

Rudy and Fredy Walker, c. 1903 postcard # 142/5Rudy and Fredy Walker, c. 1903 postcard # 142/8Rudy and Fredy Walker, c. 1903 postcard # 142/7

(above) n°s 142/5, 142/8, and 142/7 from the set of ten c. 1903 French S.I.P. ** postcards, series n°142: “Le Cake-Walk, Dansé au Nouveau Cirque, Les Enfants Nègres,” featuring juvenile brother and sister dance team Rudy and Fredy Walker. The complete set of ten postcards can be found on my page Rudy and Fredy Walker, c.1903 postcard series “Le Cake-Walk. On that page you will also find excerpts from a biographical sketch of the Walkers by Dr. Rainer E. Lotz.

From the biography of the Walkers by Dr. Lotz:

Ruth “Rudy” and Frederick “Fredy” Walker (31 Aug. 1891–after 1928) and (9 Nov. 1893–May 1977) [respectively], known as The Walkers, song and dance entertainers and actors, were both born in Chicago. It appears that at some time in 1902 the two juvenile dancers, brother and sister, traveled to Europe in the company of their mother, Ella Walker, herself an artist, born in Chicago in 1960 or 1964, according to her own conflicting statements.

That they traveled with their own mother is mentioned in June 1903 and again in the winter 1904/1904 in Vienna, December 1906 in Stockholm, in November 1907 in Berlin, and again in February 1908 in Copenhagen. Billed as “Les Enfants Nègres,” their presentations of the cakewalk dance attracted a lot of attention at the Nouveau Cirque at Paris and paved the way for a long career in Europe. They became so popular that they inspired a composer, a sculptor, and a movie film director, as well as cartoonists.

In his brief biography of the Walkers, Dr. Lotz indicates that there was a short film produced featuring Rudy and Fredy Walker (as “Les enfants nègres”), and several other cakewalk artists, performing on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque:

It was presumably the French Pathé company that produced a short film featuring the cake walk performances by both black and white artists on the stage of the Nouveau Cirque. All the artists that can be seen in the film also had a series of postcards devoted to them. They are “Les enfants nègres,” with ten postcards in series 142 (by early 1904 motifs of the original French series 142 were marketed in the United States by Franz Huld, Publisher, New York, in their series III “Cake Walk—Negro Dance”), “Les Soeurs Pérès” from Spain (postcard series 143), “Les Nègres” from the United States (series 144), and “The Elks”, also from the United States (postcard series 145). Charles Gregory also had his own series of postcards, but he is not identified by name and the cards simply state “Nègre Joyeux.”

Le Cake-Wak au Nouveau Cirque, Lumière films 1350-1354  index, old film catalog
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