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Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Song "Do You Love Me?" by the Contours

When Baby carries a watermelon into the employees' bunkhouse, the employees are dancing to the song "Do You Love Me?" by the Contours.

The song became a big hit in 1962. The movie Dirty Dancing takes place in 1963.

Here are the song's lyrics.

The movie audience does not hear the song's spoken introduction:
You broke my heart 'cause I couldn't dance.
You didn't even want me around.
And now I'm back to let you know I can really shake 'em down.
The song's basic lyrics are these:
Now do you love me?
Do you love me now that I can dance?

Watch me now work it out, baby.
I'm gonna drive you crazy --
Just a little bit of soul now.

Now I can mash potato.
I can do the twist.
Tell me, baby, do you like it like this?
Of course, this song encapsulates the movie Dirty Dancing. After Baby Houseman learns to dance, Johnny Castle perceives her as a romantic partner.

The Wikipedia article about the song includes these passages:
"Do You Love Me" is a 1962 hit single recorded by The Contours for Motown's Gordy Records label. Written and produced by Motown CEO Berry Gordy, Jr., "Do You Love Me?" was the Contours' only Top 40 single on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States. Notably, the record achieved this feat twice, once in 1962 and again in 1988.

A main point of the song is to name the Mashed Potato, The Twist, and a variation of the title "I like it like that", as "You like it like this", and many other fad dances of the 1960s. ...

The song is noted for its false ending at 2:26.

Berry Gordy wrote "Do You Love Me" with the intention that The Temptations, who had no Top 40 hits to their name yet, would record it. However, when Gordy wanted to locate the group and record the song, they were nowhere to be found. The Temptations had not been made aware of Gordy's intentions, and had departed Motown's Hitsville USA recording studio for a local Detroit gospel music showcase.

After spending some time looking for the Temptations, Gordy ran into the Contours (Billy Gordon, Hubert Johnson, Billy Hoggs, Joe Billingslea, Sylvester Potts, and guitarist Hugh Davis) in the hallway. Wanting to record and release "Do You Love Me" as soon as possible, Gordy decided to let them record his "sure-fire hit" instead of the Temptations. The Contours, who were in danger of being dropped from the label after their first two singles ("Whole Lotta' Woman" and "The Stretch") failed to chart, were so elated at Gordy's offer that they immediately began hugging and thanking him.

"Do You Love Me," the fifth release on Gordy Records, became a notably successful dance record, built around Gordon's screaming vocals. Selling over a million copies, "Do You Love Me" peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks starting on October 20, 1962, and was a number-one hit on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.

An album featuring the single ... was also released. None of the Contours' future singles lived up to the success of "Do You Love Me", although its success won the group a headlining position on Motown's very first Motor Town Revue tour. ....

"Do You Love Me" is featured prominently in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, reviving the record's popularity. Re-issued as a single from the More Dirty Dancing soundtrack album, "Do You Love Me" became a hit for the second time, peaking at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1988. ...
Here is a video of the Countours performing the song on television, probably in 1962.


The song's reference to "the mash potato" refers to the dance movements of soul-singer James Brown, as seen in this 1962 performance at the Apollo Theater.

In 1962 the song "Mashed Potato Time" was written specially for people who wanted to dance with "the mash potato" movements. The song was performed originally by Dee Dee Sharp. This video shows Sharp performing the song on television in 1962.

Here are excerpts from the Wikipedia article about the song.
"Mashed Potato Time" is a single written and composed by Barry Mann and Bernie Lowe and performed by Dee Dee Sharp on her debut album It's Mashed Potato Time. The song reached No. 1 on the U.S. Rhythm and Blues chart in 1962, as well as No. 2 on the pop chart. Billboard ranked it as the No. 3 song for 1962. It became a gold record.

The song refers to the Mashed Potato dance move which was a fad at the time. It was one of several that came out at that time -- for example, "(Do the) Mashed Potatoes" in 1960. ...

The Marvelettes song "Please Mr. Postman" is mentioned in the lyrics and is copied in the arrangement.

Bobby "Boris" Pickett's "Monster Mash," released a few months after "Mashed Potato Time", was written in part as a parody of Dee Dee Sharp's record, even copying the "whaa-oo" backing vocal.
Here are the song's basic lyrics:
It's the latest,
It's the greatest --
Mashed potato!

The mashed potato started long time ago
With a guy named Sloppy Joe.
You'll find this dance is so cool to do.
Come on baby, I'm gonna teach it to you.

Mashed potato, feel it in your feet.
Mashed potato, come on, get the beat.

And then they dance it through and through.
They look for records they can do it to.
They got a dance that was out of sight.
Doing "the lion sleeps tonight".

Now everybody is doing fine.
They dance alone or in a big boss line.
And they discovered it's the most man,
The day they did it to "Please Mr. Postman".
The following two videos demonstrate how to dance the mashed potato:


The twist was a dance that became famous in 1959. The Wikipedia article about the twist includes these passages:
The twist is a dance that was inspired by rock-and-roll music. From 1959 to the early sixties it became the first worldwide dance craze, enjoying immense popularity among all people and drawing fire from critics who felt it was too provocative. It inspired dances such as the Jerk, the Pony, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey, and the Funky Chicken, but none were as popular.

Having seen teenagers in Tampa, Florida doing the dance, Hank Ballard wrote "The Twist" and released it as the B-side of Hank Ballard and The Midnighters' 1959 single "Teardrops on Your Letter". Dick Clark, having noticed the dance becoming popular among teenagers, recommended to Cameo Records that the more wholesome Chubby Checker rerecord the song, which was released in 1959 and became a number one hit in 1960. The dance became passe among teenagers as it became acceptable among adults and the song was released, becoming a number one hit again in 1962.

A world record was set in DeLand, Florida, on October 11, 2012, when Chubby Checker sang the song live and the crowd danced. An estimated 4,000 people twisted along with Checker, surpassing the previous Guinness World Record for most people twisting in the streets at once. ...
This video shows Chubby Checker singing and dancing the twist on television in the early 1960s.


The song "Do You Love Me?" includes the lyrics
I can do the twist.
Tell me, baby, do you like it like this?
Some people recognize the expression Do you like it like this? as a play on the expression I like it like that, which appears in many songs.

When Berry Gordy wrote "Do You Love Me?" he might have adopted -- it seems to me -- some of the phrases in Chris Kenner's song "Land of a Thousand Dances". Both songs name a series of dances --including the mashed potato -- and use the word work. Kenner's song uses the expression I like it like that, and Gordy's song uses the expression Do you like it like this?. Both songs rhyme the words twist and this.

The two songs share some similarities in their melodies and instrumentals.

"Land of a Thousand Dances" was not released as a record until 1963, but Gordy might have heard Kenner sing it already in 1962.

Here are the "Land of a Thousand Dances" lyrics.
Children, go where I send you.
I'm gonna send you to that land,
The Land of a Thousand Dances.

Got to know how to Pony,
Like Bony Moronie.

You got to know how to Twist.
It goes like this.

Mashed Potato.
Do The Alligator.

Twist the Twister,
Like your little sister.

Then you get to your Yo-Yo.
Say hey, let's go, go.

Get out on your knees --
Do The Sweet Peas.

Roll over on your back.
Say, "I like it like that."

Do The Watusi.
Do The Watusi.

Can you do The Fly?
With a Hand Jive?

Can you do The Slop?
The Chicken and The Bop?

Can you do The Fish?
A slow, slow Twist?

Can you do The Flow?
Got to move so low.

Can you do The Tango?
Takes two to tango.

... Come on children.
I wanna show you
This little place.
Across the track.
The name of this place
Is "I Like It Like That". ...
Kenner also recorded a song titled "I Like It Like That" in 1961. This song includes several elements that appeared later in "The Land of a Thousand Dances" -- most obviously the expression the name of the place is "I Like It Like That".


Here is an original performance, on The Boppin' Bobby Show, choreographed by Jonnie Stapleton and featuring Rachel Lien, Reed Iacarella and Zach Baumgartner.

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