Love Child

Album: Love Child (1968)
Charted: 15 1
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  • This was the Supremes' first number #1 hit not written by the team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland, as the trio had left Motown in a dispute over royalties.
  • Motown founder Berry Gordy wrote this with staff songwriters Deke Richards, Pam Sawyer, R Dean Taylor and Frank Wilson. Instead of writing about love, they came up with a much more controversial song about a child born to unmarried parents.
  • A year after this came out, The Supremes released a sequel song called "I'm Livin' In Shame," which told the story of the child growing up embarrassed by her mother.
  • Neither founder member Mary Wilson nor more recent addition Cindy Birdsong (replacing Florence Ballard) sang a note on this single. The test run with Motown session group The Andantes as backup singers was issued as the single. Mary claims that this was a move by Berry Gordy to make clear to her and Cindy that they were expendable and further establish his power over them as well as playing up to his protégé/lover Diana Ross. Mary further says that the miming to the number for The Ed Sullivan Show was particularly difficult, knowing she didn't sing on it. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kent - Toronto, Canada
  • The Supremes performed this twice on The Ed Sullivan Show. In their first appearance (September 29, 1968), Diana Ross wore a sweatshirt that said "Love Child" and all three girls had bare feet, eschewing the glamorous gowns and wigs they were known for to suit the song. When they performed it a second time (January 5, 1969), they wore matching pink outfits.
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Comments: 14

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyExactly fifty years ago today on November 24th, 1968; "Love Child" by Diana Ross and the Supremes moved into the #1* position on Billboard's Top 100 chart, it remained at #1 for two weeks...
    It reached #2 {for 2 weeks} on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart, the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for both those weeks was "Who's Making Love" by Johnny Taylor...
    Between 1962 and 1976 the Motown trio had forty-five records on the Top 100 chart, twenty made the Top 10 with twelve reaching #1...
    They just missed having two more #1 records when both the above "Reflections" and "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" peaked at #2...
    * The record it knocked out of the top spot on the Top 100 chart was "Hey Jude" by the Beatles, it had been at #1 for nine consecutive weeks.
  • Jonnie from San DiegoThe clip from the live performance on Ed Sullivan does NOT show them in sweatshirts but rather a pink shiny pantsuit ensemble. Not sure where this 'songfact' about sweatshirts come from other than it was the album cover.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 19th 1968, the Supremes performed at the Royal Variety Show in London, England; a number of members of the royal family, including Queen Elizabeth, were in attendance...
    And back in the U.S.A. the trio's "Love Child" was at #2 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and five days later on November 24th it would peak at #1 {for 2 weeks}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn October 15th 1968, the Supremes were guest performers on the Bing Crosby's ABC-TV network special...
    They performed two songs on the show; the 1952 Oscar winner for best song, "High Noon", and "They Call the Wind Mariah", from the 1951 Broadway musical 'Paint Your Wagon'...
    At the time the trio's "Love Child" was on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart two days earlier on October 13th, 1968 at position #43, and six weeks later on November 24th, 1968 it peaked at #1 for 2 weeks {See next post below}...
    And on November 7th, 1968 it reached #2 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart; and for the 3 weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those 3 weeks was "Who's Making Love" by Johnny Taylor.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn January 5th 1969, Diana Ross & the Supremes performed "Love Child" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    Three months earlier on October 13th, 1968 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on November 24th, 1968 it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    It bumped "Hey Jude" by the Beatles out of the top spot, the Fab Four had been at #1 for nine weeks...
    It reached #2 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    On the same Sullivan show the trio performed their next charted single, "I'm Livin' In Shame", it peaked at #10 on the Top 100 and #8 on the R&B chart...
    R.I.P. Mr. Sullivan (1901 - 1974) and Diana Ross will celebrate her 70th birthday in two months on March 26th.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhI was 10 yrs old when this song came out and knew immediately what it was about. Great song.
  • Wayne from Toronto, Onco-written by R. Dean Taylor of Indiana Wants Me fame
  • Paul from Washington Dc, DcAn absolutely astonishing song and recording! All the artists involved deserve eternal kukdos for making one of the finest hits ever to reach number one on the charts. A haunting melody (the strings in particular), dynamite vocals (I especially dig the "HAHHH!" interjections that occur three times from the background singers) and of course the lyrics addressing hot-button social issues in a totally unprecedented manner. This is the best "story song" ever made, I think. Naturally, however, it was totally overlooked at the Grammys that year.
  • Kristin from Bessemer, AlWhen Diana Ross and the Supremes introduced this song on the Ed Sullivan show ONE DAY before its release, they didnt have on the glitzy gowns and high-flip wigs they normally have on - Diana Ross was in a sweatshirt that had "Love Child" written on it, cutoff jeans, an Afro and bare feet- Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong had barefeet as well and wore street clothes - ALSO, when they presented the song on the Sullivan show, they almost didnt, because the powers that be at CBS were nervous about the song's lyrics.
  • Chris from Knoxville, TnThis song was actually addresing the fact that Dianna Ross was in a relationship with Barry Gordy which later end in then having a "Love Child." This was also the biggest selling hit for the Supremes.
  • John from Fort Worth, TxIt wasn't till the early to mid '80s that I heard a DeeJay point out that the lyrycs were of a controversial subject. Before that I only remembered the music and the chorus "Love child..." After that I listened intently to the lyrics and was blown away. I agree with Chance - Diana Ross outdid herself with this one even though her childhood and family were very mainstream. The woman was and is an artist.
  • Chance from Melbourne, AustraliaThis is my favourite Supremes song, Diana's voice sounds so achingly sweet especially towards the end of the song.
  • Alex from Gatineau, CanadaFirst Motown single whose production costs soared above the $1 Million mark. Failure to recapture earlier Supremes glory in the UK immediately forced scaling back of budget for next single.

    However, the #1 success of this single in America was the start of a short comeback for the Supremes after two commercially disappoining singles. Follow-up single, a duet with the Temptations entitled "I'm Gonna Make You Love Me" would skyrocket to US #2 and UK #3 around Christmas 1968.
  • Nate from Newport News, VaBerry Gordy was reluctant to have Motown artists deal with controversial issues, although it made them look a bit out of touch in the 60s. He did relent on this one.
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