When the Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes

Album: Where Did Our Love Go (1963)
Charted: 23

Songfacts®:

  • This song is notable for being The Supremes first Top 40 hit and their first to be written by the team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland. The Supremes had been recording for Motown since 1961, and despite a promotion push from the label, couldn't break through. Teaming them with Holland-Dozier-Holland was the game changer - the trio had written hits for Martha & the Vandellas ("(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave) and Mary Wells ("You Lost the Sweetest Boy") and were well suited for The Supremes, who could deliver their songs about young love and heartbreak.

    The next single the trio wrote for the group - "Run, Run, Run" - took them in the wrong direction, peaking at #93. When H-D-H peddled another song to the group, "Where Did Our Love Go," they wanted nothing to do with it. But because they were lowest on the Motown food chain, The Supremes had to record it. That song went to #1, as did their next four singles, all written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland.
  • The song is about a girl who gives a guy the cold shoulder, but gives in when she sees that lovelight shining through his eyes. Diana Ross, 19 at the time, got very good at selling these kind of songs with a coy vocal delivery.
  • At the end of the second verse, a group of male vocalists growls, "AhhHH!" That was done by The Four Tops (who were new to Motown) along with the song's writers, Holland-Dozier-Holland.
  • Motown head Berry Gordy wasn't keen on the title, as he thought it was too long. The previous Supremes single was released as "A Breath Taking, First Sight Soul Shaking, One Night Love Making, Next Day Heartbreaking Guy," which didn't go well: the title was later shortened to "A Breathtaking Guy." But Holland-Dozier-Holland had some clout at this point, and were able to push through the title they wanted.
  • The stalwart rhythm section of drummer Benny Benjamin and bass player James Jamerson played on this track, along with saxophone player Mike Terry. The Holland-Dozier-Holland team was in the process of winning these guys over, as they had a lot more experience. "When they saw the way I was playing and creating these songs, they eventually gave me the respect of another musician, and I felt good about that," Dozier said in a Songfacts interview.
  • The song was released on Halloween 1963. At the time, The Supremes were touring on one of Motown's revues with other acts on the label. They were third on the bill behind Martha & the Vandellas and The Contours.

Comments: 6

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaLoved that sax part and the drums.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaProbably my fav Supremes tune when Diana was there - Up The Ladder To The Roof was my fav without her.
  • Elmer H from Westville, OkIn 1963 when this record was released, I was impressed by the production sounding similar to Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. Diana Ross's voice was like no other female artist of the time. Too bad the song didn't reach the Top Ten, but it did well enough & introduced us to The Supremes and H-D-H. Then next year----1964-----music history in many ways!
  • John from Cincinnati, OhDoesn't the chorus sound like it was stolen from the chorus to "Blowin' In The Wind" (a hit about a year earlier)?
  • John from Nashville, TnThis record and the Supremes next one ("Run Run Run") copied the Phil Spector Wall-of-Sound production technique. After the failure of "Run Run Run" (#93 pop), Holland/Dozier/Holland changed course and came up with "Where Did Our Love Go".
  • Kristin from Bessemer, Althe "ARRRRRGH" sound on this single heard right before the instrumental break was rumored to have been the Four Tops. Instead, it was one of the Holland brothers and Lamont Dozier.
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