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Album: New Ways... but Love StaysReleased: 1970Charted:
When Diana Ross left The Supremes in 1970, the group continued with Jean Terrell replacing Ross alongside Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong. Motown head Berry Gordy was much more interested in Ross' solo career, and pulled resources away from The Supremes. With Frank Wilson in charge of producing the group, they defied expectations and had a hit with "Up the Ladder to the Roof
." They followed it up with "Stoned Love," which Wilson wrote with a 17-year-old songwriter named Kinney Thomas, who he heard on a talent show on the Detroit radio station WJLB. Wilson tracked down Thomas and asked him if he had any songs. Kinney played him "Stoned Love," and Wilson loved it. He recorded the track with an orchestra, and had The Supremes add their vocals in another session, with Terrell singing lead.
The Supremes' biggest hit without Diana Ross; it was a #1 R&B hit. It was also their last US Top 10 hit.
According to Kinney Thomas, who wrote this song, it has nothing to do with drugs. It's really about the social issues of the time, including the Vietnam War, and the need for compassion. "Stones are forever," said Thomas. "They don't break or come apart. Love will be here forever."
Thomas wasn't unique in assigning an alternate meaning to the term "stoned." Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, and the Chi-Lites are some of the acts who have recorded songs with different meanings of the term
The song's writer Kinney Thomas was credited on this track as "Yennik Samoht" (Thomas's first and last name spelled backwards respectively). This was something Stevie Wonder had done (credited as Eivets Rednow on his recording of "Alfie
"), and Thomas also liked how it sounded a bit like the name of one of his favorite singers: Nina Simone.