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Friday, March 30, 2012

"You've Really Got a Hold on Me"

The Miracles - "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" (1962)

There's a monster at the end of this post!

This is some really low key production for a Motown track. There's a piano playing every quarter note after a lead in; a drum set accenting the two and four, a guitar doing a little lead and then disappearing into the background and then the horn section playing the breakdown. This sparse arraignment really lets the vocals come through. The main line is being sung simultaneously by Bobby Rogers and 'Smokey' Robinson. When the chorus comes around, all of The Miracles get a chance to shine, including Robinson's wife Claudette. It was an unusual arraignment for a band to be mixed men and women, but not unheard of. Interesting ending, it's the same backing and the same vocals, but it's off. The vocals, led off by Smokey, start a beat and a half earlier in the final chorus than they do anywhere else in the song.

The song has been covered so many times it's hard to pick the best ones to share. Less than a year after The Miracles, The Beatles covered the song for their Album With The Beatles. Two Motown acts covered the song in the first half of the decade, The Supremes and then The Temptations. It was covered as a country song in the 80s by Mickey Gilley. Recently She & Him covered the song in 2008. These are all very straightforward covers, some good voices, some I don't like as much, but almost all use remarkably similar musical arraignments. Most of the covers sound exactly the same, no variation, Rod Stewart, The Zombies, et al. Eddie Money does it different, I'll grant him that. So if they're mostly the same, and even the different ones aren't really worth checking out, what are you sticking around until the end of this paragraph for? Because this video from 1988 is AWESOME!

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