Tamla RecordsTamla T 54105 (B), October 1964

B-side of Too Many Fish In The Sea

(Written by Edward Holland Jr.)

BritainStateside SS 369 (B), January 1965

B-side of Too Many Fish In The Sea

(Released in the UK under license through EMI / Stateside Records)

Scan kindly provided by Dave L.  All label scans come from visitor contributions - if you'd like to send me a scan I don't have, please e-mail it to me at fosse8@gmail.com!Further evidence of the Marvelettes’ transitional status in 1964: this B-side is actually a rejected Marvin Gaye track, cut a year and a half ago. As a consequence, the Andantes are here in full voice bulking out the group’s sound, which really only serves to highlight the relative weakness of the Marvelettes’ own slightly ropey backing vocals. Compared to the worldly sass of the A-side, Too Many Fish In The Sea, here they sound like young girls.

But if this is a return to the sound of the mid-’63 Marvelettes – and regardless of when the vocals were actually laid down (nobody knows), that’s how it comes over – well, that’s not unwelcome either. This is essentially an update of Too Strong To Be Strung Along, another early Marvelettes/Holland-Dozier crossover, but it’s a better song – and it’s nicely done, too, a reminder that while the group may have been struggling for both identity and recognition, they could still be relied upon to deliver the goods.

Quite what Marvin would have made of this, I’m not really sure. It’s a simpering pity ballad, a midtempo lament where Gladys Horton’s narrator bemoans the fact she’s so much more sensitive than normal people: while others might need , Gladys is suffering because hers is “the worst need of all”, the need to be kissed and hugged. If Gaye had released this, it would have kept later psychoanalysts busy for weeks.

I’m probably making this sound like a train wreck, an indefensibly narcissistic plea for attention inlaid with harsh, screechy backing vocals. In fact, it’s entirely pleasant and charming: the band are on good form with their pounded pianos and drums and their blaring horns, the cooing Andantes in the verses sound lovely, and the narrator’s self-pity is excused by the fact that (a) yes, being dumped makes you feel as though you’re the first person ever to go through this, that’s exactly what it feels like, cut her some slack, and (b) it’s Gladys Horton.

Gladys does well with it, her unexpectedly smoky and heartfelt exclamation in the middle eight – without love, I can’t exist, no no / It’s been like this every since / You been gone – a particular highlight. The song’s also very short, a one-and-three-quarter minute scribble that’s gone before it has a chance to really grate.

It’ll never be mistaken for a prime bit of classic Marvelettes, and it’s not in the same league as the A-side, but with these girls it’s always good to hear more – and in the absence of an album, well, it’s nice to catch up on what they’d been up to.



(I’ve had MY say, now it’s your turn. Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment, or click the thumbs at the bottom there. Dissent is encouraged!)

You’re reading Motown Junkies, an attempt to review every Motown A- and B-side ever released. Click on the “previous” and “next” buttons below to go back and forth through the catalogue, or visit the Master Index for a full list of reviews so far.

(Or maybe you’re only interested in The Marvelettes? Click for more.)

The Marvelettes
“Too Many Fish In The Sea”
The Supremes
“Come See About Me”


Like the blog? Listen to our radio show!

Motown Junkies presents the finest Motown cuts, big hits and hard to find classics.
Listen to all past episodes here.