Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad


The Bouffant-a-delic Chris Clark


Listen – Love’s Gone Bad MP3″

Greetings, and a happy midweek to you all.

I hope the day du humpe finds you all well, and ready to continue the moebius strip of groove that we have going here – as well in all points blogroll.
First off, a note… the guest mix that I did for the Galactic Fractures radio show has been posted on their sit. You actually get the entire show (the mix makes up the first half of the playing time), which is a groovy thing because PJ has deep crates and excellent taste, so he won’t leave you hanging. I will probably repost a file of the mix (as well as a zip) sometime in the future, probably on a Friday when the summer sun has sucked all the ambition from my typing fingers.
I first heard today’s selection earlier this year courtesy of the outstanding Office Naps blog. Danny has a good thing going over there, and I will be forever in his debt for turning me on to this record.
Now, when I say that I never heard the song before, I should mention that I did know about the singer, i.e. Miss Chris Clark, via her popularity with soulies the world over. I can’t say that I was avoiding her (as you already know I dig me some blue-eyed soul), but our paths never crossed in the world of vinyl, and as you’ll see(hear) when you get to downloading the ones and zeros, that was a tragedy.
Clark, who recorded a number of 45s for Motown and its subsidiary VIP, as well as a couple of LPs for Motown*, started out working behind the scenes in the label’s Detroit offices.
‘Love’s Gone Bad’ was released in 1966** (it was also covered by the Underdogs, also on VIP), and is simply put one of the finest records to be released by Motown, by anyone (and in 1966 you know that’s saying a lot).
The sad thing is, that as far as I can tell, she never equaled it’s intensity again. This is of course an old story in all forms of music. How many artists seemingly gave their all to a single, pure work of genius, followed more often than not by utter silence, or in Clark’s case, a couple of albums of pretty good pop soul?
I mention this at the risk of damning Chris Clark with faint praise, but once you give the song a listen you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
The first time I listened to ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ the end of the record was followed only by my own stunned silence, followed directly by no less than three or four repeated plays.
Written by Holland-Dozier-Holland (and produced by Holland/Dozier) ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is a perfect storm of musical coolness, in which hard edged soul is mixed with pop flavor, including pounding drums (the repeated snare/rack tom triplet is a thing of beauty), combo organ and garagey fuzz guitar. This is all of course lashed together by Clark’s gritty vocal. While I would hesitate to call Clark a soul singer (especially in contrast to her fellow Motown-ians), she was indeed soulful, and attacks the song with a real edge in her voice that combines sexiness with agony over love lost.
The closest parallel to the overall feel of ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is oddly enough another record on VIP by a white singer, that being ‘There’s a Ghost In My House’ by R. Dean Taylor (who also worked as a songwriter at Motown, and went on to AM radio fame for ‘Indiana Wants Me’ in 1970). Though I feel that ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is the superior side, ‘There’s a Ghost In My House’ (huge, I say HUGE in the world of Northern Soul) is an equally propulsive dance record with a fuzzed out, rockish edge to it, and like Clark’s record should have been (and wasn’t hardly) a major hit.
Why is this?
Dunno…but it could have been a couple of things. It’s possible that audiences (across the color spectrum) weren’t receptive to white artists on a traditionally black label, but it’s just as likely they had no idea what color Clark and Taylor were (at least not at first). The second explanation – and the more likely one from where I’m sitting – is that ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ and ‘There’s a Ghost In My House’ were, like countless other great but obscure records, simply lost in the shuffle.
If you pick up any of the Complete Motown Singles sets, the first thing that hits you is how many of those records you’ve never seen before, in addition to the diversity of what Motown was issuing on their subsidiary labels (which at one time or another encompassed C&W, comedy, novelty, jazz and straight ahead, wholly unsoulful mainstream pop). It also pays to keep in mind that Motown was notoriously uneven in the attention they paid to certain artists (case in point Brenda Holloway).
Whatever the reason was for Chris Clark’s failure to make a bigger splash, it has been remedied to some extent by the popularity of ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ with new generations of soul fans, as well as reissues of her best work.
Either way, download this and let it rip at your next house party.

*her last LP ‘CC Rides Again’ was actually the only disc ever released on the Motown subsidiary Weed Records

**This recording is ripped from the 1967 stereo issue of the ‘Soul Sounds’ LP.

24 Responses to “Chris Clark – Love’s Gone Bad”

  1. The Stepfather of Soul Says:

    I have read that Clark was dating Berry Gordy around the time of her Motown releases. An interesting footnote to her career is that she wrote the screenplay to “Lady Sings The Blues,” Diana Ross’ major acting success of the ’70s.

  2. funky16corners Says:

    That might explain why an HDH gem like ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ didn’t go to a group like the Four Tops (who would have done a dynamite version).

  3. Vincent Says:

    Yes, Stepfather is correct… The story is part of Gerald Posner’s fantastic Motown expose “Motown: Music Money Sex and Power” or something to that effect; it’s been a while since I read the book. It is one very interesting read. Amazon has it in paperback for about 15 bucks.

  4. Chekov Says:

    Great song, I first heard the Underdogs´version on one of the Pebbles-Compilation. There´s also a really good fuzzguitar-version by Michael Jackson from his days in the Jackson 5 (maybe it is even a Jackson 5-Number?). Not that I´m a big Jacko-fan.

  5. funky16corners Says:

    I’ll have to look for that Jackson Five version. It was originally recorded by Clark, predating the Jackson Five’s arrival at Motown by a couple of years.

  6. Chekov Says:

    The Jacko-version is from “Looking Back To Yesterday”, an album of previously unreleased songs which came out in `86. There are a couple of Jackson 5-Tracks on it, but “Love´s Gone Bad” is not credited to the J5 and is in my opinion the only stand out-track. It should be from 1972 and it sounds like it could be from the J5 too (male backing vocals, fuzzguitar). Production is credited to Hal Davis, who also produced the J5.

  7. fleamarketfunk Says:

    dope larry! i checked out the other song too, which i will agree: “ghost” is huge, and i can understand why. thanks for sharing. i’m gonna e mail you tonigth, looking to try and dig up a copy of a certain record.

  8. Danny Says:

    Great write-up, Larry, and thanks for the plug for Office Naps. How’s the rest of the Clark LP? (I’ve never heard it.)

  9. Pete Gloria Says:

    I got to hear this off of Office Naps too, luv it.
    I was a bit predisposed to not like it because of Clark’s anaemic version of Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), at least compared to the 24 carat Frank Wilson version but here she can take care of herself.

  10. ally Says:

    blimey what a scorcher – missed this one entirely, and she’s got fantastic hair too

  11. The Stepfather of Soul Says:

    Vincent, I read that book, too. It was a very interesting picture of the Motown org.

  12. Chris Clark Says:

    My boyfriends aside, there was another double CD released overseas
    a couple of years ago (I found out about it accidently) – with 22 unreleased
    songs from the can. It did quite well over there. I believe Amazon still has
    it – The Chris Clark Anthology. It was good enough to drag me out of the
    tar pits and throw me on the road with the Four Tops & The Temptations on
    the UK bend of their European tour.
    Actually, One Four top & One Temptation. It felt like dead man walking.

    ps – thank you for the kind words

  13. funky16corners Says:

    Ms. Clark
    Thanks for checking in (and, you’re welcome)!

  14. Jon Says:

    Cracking track, and wonderful to see the lady herself respond! But I gotta give some respect to James Jamerson for the wonderful bubbling bassline on that. I’m gonna work that out tomorrow on me trusty bass.
    Also don’t forget The Fall’s version of ‘ghost’. Mark E voicing his Northern credentials. love this blog!

  15. Annie Says:

    I have been looking for this track for quite some time – I still have it on an LP “Motown Disco Classics: Vol 5”, which cost me the princely sum of 2.50STG back in 1974. In 1966 when I was working in London disco’s I had a whole album of Chris Clark songs which I lent to a boyfriend, who made off with the album when he dumped me! It’s great to see that this fantastic track is still so highly regarded.

  16. david Says:

    What an incredible track! Thanks a lot for sharing this.

  17. mr.kenneth Says:

    oh wow! woW! and WOW!

    I’ve played it six times in a row already and going for a seventh! My cat is starting to look at me funny.

    thanks again Larry! … keep ’em comin” 🙂

  18. Funky16Corners Radio v.28 - Rubber Souled Pt1 « Funky16Corners Says:

    […] I really dig the horn chart here. The next cut comes courtesy of a recent Funky16Corners visitor, Miss Chris Clark. Hailing from the same LP (‘Soul Sounds’) as ‘Love’s Gone Bad’ is her version of ‘Got […]

  19. Jaimie Says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Ms. Clark on a personal level back int he late 90’s. She was an absolute delight to meet and get to know. I especially loved her mothers German Chocolate cake!!!

    Chris…if you see this…email me at I would love to see you again. Noir the dog you gave me is 13..can you believe it????

    I look forward to hearing from you.

  20. Christian Anderson Says:

    I have been a Chris Clark fan ever since I was in High School and I heard “Loves Gone Bad” which was released on a Motown subsidary called “V.I.P.” I bought “Soul Sounds” album at Wallach’s Music City in Torrance, California in 1967. I gotta say there are several amazing song renditions on that album. My favorite Motown song of all time is “If You Should Walk Away”, which is a knockout in terms of brilliant lyrics and beauty of melody… and it does not have background singers to help Chris along, either. I loaned “Soul Sounds” to a friend during the summer of ’68 and never got it back. My grandmother bought me my second copy of “Soul Sounds” in September, 1968 as a birthday present. I had that copy until I came out of the military when I bought my 3rd copy around 1973. By 1980, my record was fairly worn out, when I found my 4th copy in a cut-out record bin in Dayton, Ohio. I had that until I bought the Belgian CD version in 2003. One of the biggest thrills of my life was when I was honored to finally meet Chris Clark last year. I almost fainted. She is a beautiful, smart and very kind woman and all I could do was to tell her that I had loved her for over 40 years.

  21. Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers - If You Love Her « Funky16Corners Says:

    […] the attention of Motown. Taylor and the band also did time as the backing group for none other than Chris Clark (‘Love’s Gone Bad’). Taylor went on to record a number of 45s and an LP for Motown and its VIP subsidiary. After leaving […]

  22. Bill Luther Says:

    I just scored this Lp last week, very cool, equally rare!

  23. steve robbins Says:

    I grew up with the emergence of Motown (and contributed to its’ coffers, thank you very much). 60s Motown is one of those rare celestial events where the planets are aligned just right (them being Gordy, Robinson, Strong, HDH, Whitfield, and numerous stars (get it?). Once the planets moved on and away, the magic went away. Even these producers and alot of the stars couldn’t recreate the magic at other studios….the planets….they must be together.

  24. DaveDzRochNY Says:

    I played through the entire “One Kiss Can Lead To Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found” 4-CD at work today. “Love’s Gone Bad” was the ONLY track (of the 120 cuts) that I went back and played again. And again. And again. And… well, you get the idea. I see there is an “extended” version (3:48) on YouTube that shall be promptly ripped and put to iPod. The “Motown Collection” double CD is also ordered. I am absolutely looking forward to hear more of Chris.

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