Band of Gold

Album: Band of Gold (1970)
Charted: 1 3
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  • There is some mystery to this song. Some people think it is about an impotent man, while others think it is about a frigid woman. In a Songfacts interview with Lamont Dozier, who co-wrote the song, he explained: "The story was, the girl found out this guy was not all there. He had his own feelings about giving his all. He wanted to love this girl, he married the girl, but he couldn't perform on his wedding night because he had other issues about his sexuality. I'll put it that way.

    It was about this guy that was basically gay, and he couldn't perform. He loved her, but he couldn't do what he was supposed to do as a groom, as her new husband."
  • This was released on Invictus Records, which Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland formed after they left Motown in 1968. Holland-Dozier-Holland produced the track and wrote it with their collaborator Ron Dunbar, but because of their dispute with Motown, the H-D-H trio couldn't put their names on the label and credited themselves as "Edythe Wayne." Members of the Motown house band The Funk Brothers played on the track.
  • Because of the subject matter, Freda Payne did not want to record this at first. She thought the song was about a woman who was a virgin or sexually naïve, and felt it was more suitable for a teenager.

    When Payne objected to this song, Ron Dunbar (co-writer of the song) said to her, "Don't worry. You don't have to like them! Just sing it," and she did. Little did she know that this song would become her biggest hit and would give her her first record of gold.
  • In 1986, Belinda Carlisle did a cover of this song for her debut album Belinda. Carlisle's remake of this song is one of three to have entered the Hot Dance Club Play chart. The former Go-Go's vocalist's cover peaked at #26 on a chart run in 1986-87; disco act Sylvester reached #18 with his version, while American Idol finalist Kimberley Locke went all the way to the top of the Club Play chart in 2008 with her update. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA, for above 2
  • The lead guitarist on this track was Ray Parker Jr., who later found success with the theme song for the comedy movie Ghostbusters.
  • Freda Payne is the older sister of Scherrie Payne, the final lead singer of The Supremes. Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote many of The Supremes' hits.
  • According to 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh, Freda Payne said of this song: "It is about a wedding night that didn't work out. I wondered why a girl would have a problem on her wedding night and why they would be in separate rooms, but they said, 'Just learn it.' I had no idea that it would be such a big hit."

Comments: 21

  • Gonnif from New YorkAccording to Dubar, one of the writers and producer of this song, the meaning of the lyric has nothing to do with the husband being gay or impotent. The original lyrics and what was actually recorded clearly imply it was a the girl turn the man away (implications that she was a virgin). The meaning of the song was changed, changed utterly, because of something that happened in the studio in Detroit after it was originally written. The single was too long, it had to be cut by 50 seconds, and various other alterations also had to be made. In the documentary "Band of Gold – The Invictus Story," in which Dunbar explains that the lines “And the memories of what love could be, if you were still here with me” in Verse #1 were a late replacement for “And the memories of our wedding day, and the night I turned you away”. They also had to dump a longer bridge that was repeated several times in the song. It goes: “Each night, I lie awake and I tell myself, the vows we made gave you the right, to have a love each night.”
  • Motorcidy from DetroitJust also want to give credit to and respect to Sharon Holland who was married to Brian Holland of Holland Dozier and Holland. She received writing credits also, but has never been mentioned as being a writer of that song...I wonder why???
  • Derrick Camper from BaltimoreI was 15 when this song came out. I thought its about a couple getting married a day before the husband has to go to Vietnam.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 14th 1970, Freda Payne performed "Band of Gold" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    Four months earlier in July 1970 the song peaked at #3 {for 1 week}; its last day on the chart was September 5th...
    On the same 'Bandstand' show she also performed "Deeper and Deeper"; at the time it was at #27, fourteen days earlier it had peaked at #24 {for 2 weeks}...
    Between April 1970 and January 1972 she had six Top 100 records; "Band of Gold" was her only Top 10 hit, her next biggest hit was "Bring the Boys Home", it peaked at #12 {for 2 weeks} on August 1st, 1971...
    Freda Charcilia Payne celebrated her 72nd birthday two months ago on September 19th {2014}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 19th 1970, "Band of Gold" by Freda Payne entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #93; and on July 18th it peaked at #3 (for 1 week) and spent 20 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 8 of those 20 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    And on September 19th, 1970 it reached #1 (for 6 weeks) on the United Kingdom's Singles chart (and it was also the day she celebrated her 28th birthday)...
    The week she was at #3 on the Top 100; the #1 record was "(They Long To Be) Close To You" by the Carpenters and #2 was "Mama Told Me (Not To Come)" by Three Dog Night.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhOh in those innocent days of 1970s I always thought this was about a couple who had a fight. Whatever the subject matter, this woman's voice is strong; I love the way she belts the song out.
  • Brian from Calgary, AbFreda Payne did marry a gay man so that explanation has some merit.
  • Donna from Maryland, MdI always wondered if the writers of this song (late 60s) were thinking about the 1965 movie "Inside Daisy Clover" with Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. In the movie, the two teen stars marry and Redford abandons Wood during their honeymoon. Wood is devastated only to find out afterward that her managers knew Redford was a closet homosexual. Playboy Redford was so amazingly handsome and the Tomboy Natalie, naive. When I first heard this song, and to this day, the movie plays in my mind. The movie was mediocre (but interestingly reflects something not that uncommon apparently as we see in todays press), but the song is one of the best!
  • Angela from Portland, OrI always thought it was about a man who was gay who married a woman.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyIn 1955 an artist by the name of Kit Carson charted with a song called "Band of Gold", it was a completely different song. It was Carson's only record to ever make the Top 100, and poor Kit just missed making the Top Ten, for the record peaked at #11, but it did stay in the Top 100 for 22 weeks!!!
  • Dane from Lima,ohio, Fl"I'd wait in the darkness of my lonely room... filled with sadness,filled with gloom..."I always liked this song.I'm in agreement about the sexual dysfunction part.Dude couldn't "perform".That's why they stayed in separate rooms.
  • Ethan Bentley from Southampton, -Hey, heard this on Flaming Oldies and thought I'd look it up:
    I found these extra lyrics on the Unedited Alternative Version (3:41min)from The Best of Freda Payne (2009)on Spotify.

    "Now that you're gone,
    All that's left is a band of gold
    All that's left of the dreams I hold
    Is a band of gold
    And the memories of our wedding day
    And the night I turned you away.

    You took me from the shelter of my mother
    I had never known or loved any other
    We kissed after taking vows
    But that night on our honeymoon,
    We stayed in separate rooms

    Each night I lie awake
    And I tell myself
    The vows we made gave you the right
    To have a love each night."

    During the Coda the singer mentions that the man in question is "out of my life".

    Hope this is of interest.

  • Philippe from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysiaif i'm not mistaken thi is the 1st. no. 1 song by a female african american in the UK.
  • Jennifer Harris from Grand Blanc, MiI love this song,too. I like both Kimberly Locke and Frieda Payne.I never Heard the Belinda Carlyle or Afghan Whigs' version.
  • Shannon from Brooklyn, NyI always thought this song was about a naive young girl who married a closeted gay man. The lyric is not "love me like you did before" but "love me like you TRIED before". It seems to allude to a man who is really gay or is experiencing sexual dysfunction!
  • Tanya from La Verne, CaShe's either frigid and had romanticized the whole notion of the wedding night, or he was impotent.
  • Michael from Carlsbad, CaThis has always been one of my favorite songs. I even sang it once in a karaoke bar while on vacation! Great tune!
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoHenry, I don't remember an earlier release. I'm sure 1970 was when it was a big hit. Went to #1 and got played once an hour when I was at camp. The counselor, an old guy way up at 16 or 17, complained, "This is a good song, but they play it way too much!" Which impressed me, but I still liked hearing it every hour! As a kid, I just thought the estranged couple had an argument. Then years later my girlfriend insisted the guy was impotent, and I was like, "Oh, hmmmm..."
  • Don from Newmarket, CanadaBand of Gold was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland (as Ronald Dunbar-Edith Wayne after they left Motown.
  • Henry from Grand Rapids, MiI was listening to the oldies station on the way home and heard "Band of Gold." I really have enjoyed it my whole life. But this song has a history for me. I remember this song back when I was a kid, and years later I was working at a bakery wilth a fellow worker, and a friendly arguement started between us when we heard it played at work.
    He remembered very clearly that he was just out of High school when he heard the song played(1969 or so), and I said it had to be some years earlier (about 1966 or so)that I heard it as a teen.
    Well I have moved on in work and life, but have always remembered that arguement. Was that song ever released earlier then 1970,(a date I read on this sight). I firmly remember hearing it on a 45 rpm my father received from a radio station, or something like that. But I must have been mistaken if it is not so. And that would make my friend happy, if I could find him and show him that he was right.

    So I decided to try and find out myself today and found this site. When I found this comment bar to post notes, I thought I would try and ask this eternal question of mine. Whatever the answer, thanks.
    My e-mail is,
  • John from Levittown, NyThe Afghan Whigs do an outstanding cover of this on Uptown Avondale, their Sub Pop Motown covers album.
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