Era Inducted To: Modern Era
Lyricist(s):R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards
Composer(s):R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards
Love Child is the late sixties Motown hit written for, and made famous by, Diana Ross & the Supremes. The song is about a woman who resists her lover’s unrelenting sexual advances in order to avoid the risk of becoming an unwed mother. At the time, it offered a fairly provocative commentary on the matter of illegitimacy; an interesting break from the group’s usual love songs. The lyrics were tailored to mirror Diana Ross’ fatherless childhood, which included having to share the emotional, social and financial burdens with her mother; something she swore her own children would never have to experience.
Motown creator Berry Gordy gathered the Motown Clan, a group of highly successful songwriters and producers, together at the Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit, where they sat down and wrote Love Child specifically for the label’s “sweethearts”. The Clan included songwriters Frank Wilson, Henry Cosby, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards and Canadian singer/songwriter R. Dean Taylor.
R. Dean Taylor began his career in Toronto, where he played piano and sang in clubs while working on his recordings. He wrote and recorded in New York before moving to Detroit in 1963, where Motown Records signed him as an artist and writer. At Motown, Taylor co-wrote and co-produced numerous hit songs for many of the label’s popular artists, including The Temptations, the Four Tops, and Brenda Holloway.
Diana Ross & the Supremes added Love Child to their string of hits when it reached #1 on the Billboard charts in 1968 and remained there for two weeks. It was their best-selling single and the last #1 for the disintegrating group before Ross embarked on her solo career in 1970. Ironically enough, Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong did not actually sing on the record, though the album was presented as a group endeavour.
In 1990, female trio Sweet Sensation covered Love Child as their album’s title track, and the single reached #13 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Yet another female trio, Broadzilla, redid Love Child with a hard punk flair on their 2003 Lady Luck album.
Cover artists include: Albino Gorilla, Booker T and the M.G’s, Broadzilla, Gina Glocksen, Latoya Jackson, and Sweet Sensation.