Stop! In the Name of Love

Album: More Hits by The Supremes (1965)
Charted: 7 1

Songfacts®:

  • This was written by the Motown songwriting team Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland/Dozier/Holland). Dozier got the idea for the title after an argument with his girlfriend (she caught him cheating). In the heat of battle, he said, "Baby, please stop. In the name of love - before you break my heart."

    He was trying to diffuse the situation, but it didn't help - she was still going to break up with him. So, he asked her to "think it over."

    Dozier knew these lines were a bit corny, but thought they would fit well into a song. He was right: "Stop! In the Name of Love" became a huge hit, and when it did, the girl came back to him.
  • In this song, Diana Ross confronts her man, telling him she knows he's been cheating. Instead of threatening violence, she appeals to his morality, reminding him how well she's been treating him and asking him to stop. In the name of love.
  • After reaching just the lower end of the charts with their first several singles, The Supremes broke through with "Where Did Our Love Go," which went to #1. Their next two singles, "Baby Love"
    and "Come See About Me," also hit the top spot. All of these songs were written by Holland/Dozier/Holland, who in setting out for another #1, used elements of "Come See About Me," including a more confident vocal delivery by Diana Ross, on "Stop! In the Name of Love."

    When the song rose to #1, The Supremes became the first act to land four consecutive singles at the top of the Hot 100. They made it five with their next single, "Back in My Arms Again."
  • The title is a variation on the cliché phrase "stop in the name of the law."
  • The Supremes got a lot of mileage of the "baby, baby" line. In this song, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard repeat it while Ross sings lead.
  • This song received a Grammy nomination in 1966 for Best Contemporary (R&R) Performance - Group (Vocal Or Instrumental); it lost to the Statler Brothers' hit "Flowers on the Wall." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jerro - New Alexandria, PA
  • This song comes strong out of the gate, with a Hammond organ lick (played by Earl Van Dyke) followed by Wilson and Ballard singing the forceful title phrase. Ross doesn't come in until the verse.
  • The famous "talk to the hand" choreography the group performed for this song was thought up in a hurry. Soon after it was recorded, The Supremes joined other Motown acts on a tour of Europe, where the first gig was a one-hour TV special called The Sound of Motown, hosted by Dusty Springfield. When The Temptations saw The Supremes rehearsing the song, group member Paul Williams suggested some choreography, and came up with the saucy gestures they used on the show and in subsequent performances.
  • The production on this song benefited from some upgrades Motown had recently done to their studios. The musicians were separated by baffles, with a microphone dedicated to each one. This allowed the Holland/Dozier/Holland team, which also produced the track, to put a lot of instruments into the mix without having them get muddy.
  • Lamont Dozier added some detail to the story of how he came up with the title. He was cheating on his girlfriend and having a tryst at a "no-tell motel" when the girlfriend got word and started banging on the door around 2 a.m. Dozier sent his paramour out the bathroom window and opened the door. With his girlfriend "screaming and carrying on," Dozier tried to spin a story that he was working late at the studio and got the motel room because he was tired, but it didn't fly. That's when he said, "Stop, in the name of love."

    The next day he went to the studio where Brian Holland was playing a slow melody. Dozier had him speed it up, and using his line from the night before as the title, they started putting the song together.

Comments: 8

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 24th 1965, the Supremes performed "Stop! In the Name of Love" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    At the time the song was at #41 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and four weeks later on March 21st it peaked at #1 {for 2 weeks} and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100 {See the 2nd post below}...
    Just over six years later on March 28th, 1971 Margie Joseph's covered version of the song entered the Top 100 at #97, the following week it was still at #97, and then on its third and final week on the chart it peaked at #96.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 4th 1983, the Hollies performed a covered version of "Stop! In The Name of Love" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One week earlier on May 29th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #79; and on July 24th it peaked at #39 (for 1 week) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #31 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 14th 1965, "Stop! In The Name of Love" by the Supremes entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #80; and on March 21st it peaked at #1 (for 2 weeks) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    Was the fourth in a string of five straight #1 records by the trio; started with "Where Did Our Love Go" (2 weeks), "Baby Love" (4 weeks), "Come See About Me" (2 weeks), this one, and finally "Back In My Arms Again" (1 week)...
    "Nothing But Heartaches" broke the string; it peaked at #11; but the girls bounced back with their next release, "I Hear A Symphony", which reached #1 (for 2 weeks)...
    R.I.P. Florence Ballard (1943 - 1976).
  • Guy from Montréal, QcI have an alternate version of this song by the Supremes with slightly different lyrics and a foot-stomping/hand-clapping beat track similar to the one in Where Did Our Love Go. The standard version is much much better. Whoever made the decision to launch it was right!
  • Brandon from Burbank, CaThis was the 4th song in a string of 5 consecutive #1 hits...in one year...for The Supremes.
    No other artists have achieved this...ever!
    Their music still sounds amazing...46 years later!!
  • Jim from Dearborn Heights , MiOn the TV show Good Times Florida Wilona and Thelma dressed as The Supremes from their show T.C.B. and sang it during a rent party for a friend who lived in the buliding also on Alf Alf sang it too and Gimme A Break! Nell Addy and Thlema sang it to one of them had said the wanted to be The Supremes and Nell said that that was her dream because she wanted to be Diana Ross
  • Mike from Germantown, MdMe and my friends have made a running joke with this song. One of us says to another, hey, so and so, come closer, I want to read your fortune." Then when their face gets closer, the first person jolts their hand out and yells "Stop! in the name of love!"
  • Keith from Slc, UtIn the 1970's comedy show "When Things Were Rotten," Misty Rowe (playing Maid Marian) tells the evil Sheriff of Nottingham to "Stop, stop, stop in the name of love!" and her three handmaidens (who may have been the Supremes as a cameo) went into the stage pose and sang the first several bars of the song.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Danny KortchmarSongwriter Interviews

Danny played guitar on Sweet Baby James, Tapestry, and Running On Empty. He also co-wrote many hit songs, including "Dirty Laundry," "Sunset Grill" and "Tender Is The Night."

Kristian Bush of SugarlandSongwriter Interviews

Kristian talks songwriting technique, like how the chorus should redefine the story, and how to write a song backwards.

Second Wind SongsSong Writing

Some songs get a second life when they find a new audience through a movie, commercial, TV show, or even the Internet.

Which Songs are About Drugs?Fact or Fiction

"25 or 6 to 4" to "Semi-Charmed Life" - see if you can spot the songs that are really about drugs.

Thomas DolbySongwriter Interviews

He wrote "She Blinded Me With Science" so he could direct a video about a home for deranged scientists.

Eagles Lyrics QuizMusic Quiz

Lots of life lessons in these Eagles lyrics - can you match them to the correct song?