Baby I Need Your Loving

Album: The Four Tops (1964)
Charted: 11


  • The Motown songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland wrote this. After seeing The Four Tops perform at a club in Detroit, Brian Holland invited them to the Motown studios, where they spent the rest of the night recording the song.
  • Like many Holland-Dozier-Holland compositions, the uptempo music belies the subject matter in the song: the guy is lonely and heartbroken, desperate for a love that will never return.

    They often wrote these songs as ballads before working them over. In a Songfacts interview with Lamont Dozier, he explained the process: "As a rule, most of the songs we started out to get the right feeling and the right emotion of the chords. And to get that feeling, we would start writing in ballad form - a slower, torch-song type of feeling. Then when we got in the studio, we would pick up the tempo. Because at the time, dance music was in with the kids, so we tried to make them commercial by picking up the speed. That's what made the songs commercial."
  • This was the first of many Motown hits for the group, and the beginning of a fruitful collaboration with the Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team. Lamont Dozier said in a 1976 interview with Blues & Soul: "We've all been together virtually since I was a kid in Detroit and we always had no problem working together. We used to just lock ourselves in the studios with some barbecue ribs and Cold Duck and come up with an album in a couple of days. I would say that they were probably the easiest guys to work with, always professional and polished."
  • The Four Tops were around for 11 years before they broke through with this song. It was their first single for Motown Records, which signed the group in 1963 after they had been touring and recording on smaller labels for a decade. The investment paid off for Motown, and The Four Tops became one of the most successful and enduring acts on the label.
  • Lead singer Levi Stubbs ain't too proud to beg in this song:

    Some say it's a sign of weakness
    For a man to beg
    Then weak I'd rather be
    If it means having you to keep

    This concept was the basis for the 1966 Temptations hit, where David Ruffin sings:

    But if I have to cry to keep you
    I don't mind weepin'
    If it'll keep you by my side

    These songs share a common writer: Eddie Holland co-wrote "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" with Norman Whitfield.
  • This was released the same year in England by The Fourmost. Their version hit #24 in the UK.
  • A cover by Johnny Rivers was a #3 US hit in 1967.
  • The single was released almost a year before it appeared on an album.

Comments: 17

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1970 {September 10th} O.C. Smith was a guest on the nationally syndicated weekday-afternoon television program, 'The Mike Douglas Show'...
    At the time his covered version of "Baby, I Need Your Loving" was at position #86 on Billboard's Top 100 chart, five weeks later it would peak at #52, the following week it remained at #52 and that was also it's tenth and final week on the Top 100...
    It reached #21 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart and #30 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    Between 1968 and 1987 the Mansfield, Louisiana native had fifteen records on the Hot R&B Singles chart, two made the Top 10, "Little Green Apples" {#2* for 2 weeks in 1968} and "Daddy's Little Man" {#9 in 1969}...
    O.C. Smith, born Ocie Lee Smith, passed away at the age of 69 on November 23rd,2001 {heart attack}...
    May he R.I.P.
    * The two weeks that "Little Green Apples" was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud (Part 1)" by James Brown...
    In addition, "Little Green Apples" also peaked at #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Top 100 chart, the week it was at #2, "Hey Jude" by the Beatles was in the top spot...
  • Barry from Sauquoit, Ny"Baby, I Need Your Lovin'" was the Tops' first charted record...
    Between 1964 and 1988 the quartet had forty-three Top 100 records; seven* made the Top 10 with two reaching #1, "I Can't Help Myself" for 2 weeks in 1965 and "Reach Out I'll Be There" for 2 weeks n 1966...
    Sadly, three of the four have passed away; Levi Stubbs {1936 - 2008}, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson {1936- 2005}, & Lawrence Payton {1938 - 1997} while Abdul 'Duke' Fakir will celebrate his 82nd birthday on December 26th {2017}...
    * They just missed having ten Top 10 records when three peaked at #11, this one in 1964, "Still Water (Love)" {1970}, and "When She Was My Girl" {1981}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 19th 1967, the Johnny Rivers performed "Baby I Need Your Lovin'" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was at #5 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; the week before it was in its second of two weeks at #3...
    {See 3rd post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 28th 1965, the Four Tops performed "Baby, I Need Your Lovin'" and "Ask The Lonely" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Eleven day earlier they performed both songs on the Los Angeles-based syndicated TV program 'Shivaree'...
    (See next post below)...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill (Shindig's host, 1940 - 2013).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 17th 1965, the Four Tops performed "Baby I Need Your Loving" on the Los Angeles-based syndicated TV program 'Shivaree'...
    Eight months earlier on August 9th, 1964 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #90; and on September 27th, 1964 it peaked at #11 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    On the same appearance they also performed "Ask The Lonely" (personally my favorite Tops' record, it reached #24 on the Top 100 and #9 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 5th 1967, "Baby I Need Your Loving" by Johnny Rivers peaked at #3 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on January 29th at position #81 and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 5 of those 11 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    Was track one of side one from his 2nd studio album, 'Rewind', and the album reached #14 on Billboard's Top 200 Albums chart...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100, "The Tracks of My Tears", it peaked at #10 on the chart...
    The Four Tops' original version peaked at #11 (for 1 week) on the Top 100 on September 27th, 1964...
    Mr. Rivers, born John Henry Ramistella, will celebrate his 72nd birthday this coming November 7th (2014).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyO.C. Smith, of 'Little Green Apples' fame, covered this song in 1970 and it peaked at No. 52
  • Jeff from Austin, TxWithout a doubt, one of the finest moments in pop music history.
  • George from Louisville, KyCan anyone Top this? You know, I really don't think so.
  • Krista from Carbondale, PaThe Four Tops are the best and they'll always be classics!
  • Steve from Hastings, EnglandThe Tops were great at " from the heart " music...
    " Do what you gotta do " is a real tear jerker for me !
  • Pete from Nowra, Australiaa guy called Cal Carlton also did a great version of this
  • Andy from Arlington, VaThis is #390 on the Rolling Stone top 500 songs.
  • Mark from Lansing, Mithe lyrics you show are in johnny rivers lame remake of the song. where you show "every nights i call your name", the four tops original song actually says "empty nights echo your name", which is much more descriptive of the feeling of the song
  • Beth from Phoenix, Az"Baby I need your lovin'" can be a unisex statement and is probably sung around the world! Levi Stubbbs has the voice to melt your heart and carried this love-plea out into the world where every heart could sing along with him.Me, I'm a woman, I love Sam, and I sing it "Sammy, I need your lovin'" Beth in Phoenix
  • Edward Pearce from Ashford, Kent, EnglandOne of the songwriters Brian Holland says in the Sunday Express magazine of 29/8/04: "when I first wrote that song, it was early in the morning. I got up out of bed and I'd just got married. I was feeling very close to my wife and thought of singing "Baby I need your loving"-the phrase just entered my head. I felt she didn't really understand me so I could explain how I felt through this song."
  • Jed from Somerset. Uk, EnglandA version of the song was sung by Lisa Stansfield in the film "Swing"
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