Monday, April 23, 2012

The Contours--Do You Love Me (1962)

     The Contours started their life out as The Blenders in 1958. After a couple of years, a couple of new singers, and a change to The Contours, they were able to get a audition with Berry Gordy who was just forming Motown records. Gordy wasn't much impressed with them, and told them to come back and try again in a year. Luckily, one of new members, bass singer Hubert Johnson, was a cousin of Jackie Wilson's who secured them a second audition.  One never knows if Wilson had an influence on them getting signed, but considering they played the same songs the same way for Gordy, one has to wonder.
     The first single went nowhere, but magic happened when recording "Do You Love Me". It was originally intended for The Temptations, but couldn't achieve the rough r&b sound that Gordy was looking for. It was a number three hit, but a strong follow up was not to be had. Although they did well on the r&b charts through the mid-60's, they never were able to crack the top 40 again until 1988.  Part of this could be due to the fact that although given a 7 year contract, as Gordy's Motown machine started getting in gear, their rough and tumble sound never meshed well with the slick orchestrated sound that Gordy wanted out of his performers.
     After their contract finished, the group disbanded, but reformed in the 70's and been for the most part playing the oldies circuit ever since. A nice side note to this song was it's revival due to it's inclusion in the movie, "Dirty Dancing" in 1988, when it again reached the top 20.


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