Thursday, July 30, 2015

Buried Treasure: The Supremes - When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes (1963)

The Supremes roared out of Detroit in 1963 with the classic Motown sound that young people all over America craved making them, for many years, the most successful (in terms of record sales) female group of all time.

Signed by Berry Gordy in 1961, the trio made seven earlier attempts to have a hit, but until "When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes" reached the Top 40 (number 23, Billboard Hot 100) near the end of 1963, just a few weeks ahead of the British Invasion, they had little success.  After that, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson, and Diana Ross were off to the races.

"Lovelight" had the vibrant accessibility that Motown became famous for during their early years served up by the label's famous singers and house band, The Funk Brothers.  It isn't as instantly recognizable, nor quite as compelling, as many of The Supremes' later chartbusters but you can hear that their platinum selling formula was already in place.  What's mostly missing is the sexiness in Ross's voice. Despite that, it's an oldie that deserves to be heard more than it is.

A bit of trivia: at 1:48 into the song you'll hear all Four Tops and Holland-Dozier-Holland, the song's composers, shout out in unison just as the instrumental break begins.

The single was the first one of many H-D-H wrote for the ladies, almost all of them huge sellers.


  1. For me, Ross was never that much more talented than the others...and the treatment of Ballard was a blot on the Gordy history. The Zombies covered this and I doubt they were alone among the invaders...

  2. (My Motown "crushes" were on Mary Wilson and Claudette Rogers Robinson...)