Miss Brenda Holloway
“Listen – Brenda Holloway – Every Little Bit Hurts “
I hope the middle of the week finds you well, and well on your way to the weekend.
Today’s post is another chapter in self-collaboration (sounds vaguely immoral) between my two blogs, Funky16Corners and Iron Leg.
This time out, the “intersection” is rooted in a recent dig, wherein I swooped down on an unsuspecting antique store – where I was surprised to find a large quantity of vinyl (much of it Liberace and related) – and pretty much cleaned it out over the course of two days.
This is not to suggest that I hit the motherlode – there was a lot (a LOT) of garbage as well as some really poorly treated records there – but that I did get to do some serious digging, and in said dig managed to unearth a bunch of common stuff that I didn’t already have, as well as a couple of nicer things.
After I got my records home and started to explore via the turntable, I discovered two versions of an excellent song (by Brenda Holloway and the Spencer Davis Group), one of which I’m featuring here, and the other which has been simultaneously posted over at Iron Leg.
Brenda Holloway has been featured at Funky16Corners before, and in all likelihood will appear here again, as she was the possessor of a truly wonderful voice.
As an example of Motown performers of the 60s, Holloway is kind of an anomaly. Unlike the vast majority of the label’s acts, she hailed not from Detroit, but from California. She was discovered by Berry Gordy while performing at a radio industry convention in Los Angeles.
She had been recording, in groups, duos and as a backing vocalist for a number of local labels before signing with Motown in 1964. During her few years with the Motown organization she recorded two albums and several singles (all for the Tamla subsidiary) before leaving the recording industry at the end of the decade, due in large part to a feeling that she hadn’t been given the attention she deserved as an artist*.
The song we feature today, ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ takes Holloway another step further from the Motown machine as it was written by Ed Cobb, who is best known for writing and producing ‘Tainted Love’ for Gloria Jones, as well as numerous sides for the Standells and the Chocolate Watchband.
Holloway originally recorded ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ for the Del-Fi label in 1963. When she rerecorded it for Tamla in 1964 backing vocals were provided by her sister Patrice and the aforementioned Gloria Jones.
Holloway’s version of the tune opens with someone sawing at a string bass (listen closely as it’s kind of an incongruous sound) before settling into the flow of the tune. Holloway’s vocal is (as usual) outstanding, and the song, which would be covered numerous times, is one of my favorite soul ballads of the 60’s.
‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ went on to be a Top 20 hit in 1964, and Holloway went on to be the co-write and record ‘You’ve Made Me So Very Happy’ (later a huge hit for Blood Sweat & Tears) as well as opening for the Beatles on their 1965 US tour.
After parting ways with Motown, Holloway didn’t record as a solo artist until returning as a gospel singer in the 80’s.
That all said, I hope you dig the tune, and make sure to fall by Iron Leg for a taste of the Spencer Davis Group working the same song.