Stop and Thank You Baby

The song ‘How Sweet It Is’ was recorded by Marvin Gaye on his fifth studio album, How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You and it was written in 1964 by the Motown songwriting team of Brian Holland, Edward Jr. Holland and Lamont Dozier.  It reached #6 in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.  It was Gaye’s most successful single of his career at this point.  The song’s personnel was made of Marvin Gaye on lead vocals, The Andantes female session group with Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps on background vocals, and The Funk Brothers on various instruments, including piano and percussion.

Jackie Gleason had some legendary catch-phrases, “And a-wayyy-we-go!”, “How sweet it is!”, “Pow, right in the kisser!”’, and “Baby, you’re the greatest!” among others and the line “How sweet it is!” which he used in reaction to almost anything was spoken by Jack “Papa” Griffith, played by Jackie Gleason, in the 1963 comedy-drama film Papa’s Delicate Condition.  Holland-Dozier-Holland borrowed this Jackie Gleason line for their song and Jackie Gleason’s production company wrote them a letter and told them to cease and desist.  Their lawyers wrote them back and said, “You must be out of your mind, you can’t copyright titles!”.

In the song ‘How Sweet It Is’, a man tries to express his gratitude to his lover for all of the things that she does for him and means to him.  The Holland-Dozier-Holland team often started songs as ballads, crafting a heartbreaking story and then setting it to upbeat music.  This song took a different approach, which they sometimes used, that of letting the music dictate the song’s direction.  Lamont Dozier said these lyrics were wishful thinking of his fantasy of how good it would be if the woman that he had eyes for was madly in love with him.  He was sitting at the piano, fantasizing about her when he wrote this, but sadly she never gave him a second look.  He created this fantasy world where he was the object of all her affections, a bit of fiction that eventually came true due to his persistence and showering her with affection.  Eddie Holland came up with the title and hook for this song.  The rest of it took a while to put together, and by the time Gaye recorded it, he had to read from lyric sheets because he had not had time to memorize them.

Marvin Gaye was born Marvin Gay, Jr. in 1939, and before the release of his first single, Gaye was teased about his surname, with some idiots jokingly asking, “Is Marvin Gay?”, so he added an “e” to the end of his last name and it had the same pronunciation with a slightly different spelling.  In 1957, after Marvin added the “e” so did Sam Cooke to signify a new start to his life, although Jackson Browne always had the “e” at the end of his name.  In his early experience at Motown, Marvin was used as a session drummer, and his initial vocal singles bombed.  However, he soon found commercial success and eventually became a real Motown powerhouse because of his talent.  Marvin Gaye had a three-octave vocal range, and he displayed amazing versatility.  He could switch from baritone to tenor, adopt a raspy “tough man voice”, and even produce a lovely falsetto.

Eddie Holland began his career as a solo artist and he was working with Berry Gordy even before he founded Motown.  Eddie suffered from severe stage fright that eventually caused him to retire from solo performances.  His brother Brian was the co-composer for the big girl-group The Marvelettes who had the hit ‘Please Mr. Postman’.  Lamont Dozier started out as a solo artist with the Anna label that was owned by Berry Gordy’s sister Anna Berry.  Holland-Dozier-Holland realized they had much more success when they wrote and produced tunes for other Motown artists.  While at Motown, Holland-Dozier-Holland were responsible for an amazing 25 #1 hits.  H-D-H wrote a number of songs for Marvin Gaye, including ‘Can I Get A Witness’ in 1963 and ‘Baby, Don’t You Do It’ and ‘You’re A Wonderful One’ in 1964.

On April 1, 1984, Marvin intervened in a fight between his parents and became involved in a physical altercation with his father.  His father grabbed a gun and shot him in the heart, and Marvin died one day before his 45th birthday.  In 1987, Gaye was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and they listed three of his recordings, ‘I Heard It Through the Grapevine’, ‘What’s Going On’ and ‘Sexual Healing’, among its list of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

James Taylor released his version of ‘How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)’ as the lead single from his 1975 album Gorilla.  Taylor’s single has been the most successful remake of the song to date, hitting number one on the Easy Listening chart and number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.  In addition to James Taylor on lead vocals and guitar, other personnel include his then-wife Carly Simon on harmony vocals, David Sanborn on saxophone, Clarence McDonald on piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano, Lee Sklar on bass guitar and both Jim Keltner and Russ Kunkel on drums with Kunkel doubling on tambourine.

How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you
I needed the shelter of someone’s arms and there you were
I needed someone to understand my ups and downs and there you were
With sweet love and devotion
Deeply touching my emotion
I want to stop and thank you baby
I wanna stop and thank you baby, yes I do
How sweet it is to be loved by you, feels so fine
How sweet it is to be loved by you
I close my eyes at night
Wondering where would I be without you in my life
Everything I did was just a bore
Everywhere I went it seems I’d been there before
But you brighten up for me all of my days
With a love so sweet in so many ways
I wanna stop and thank you baby
I just wanna stop and thank you baby, oh yes
How sweet it is to be loved by you, it’s just like sugar sometimes
How sweet it is to be loved by you, oh yeah
You were better to me than I was to myself
For me, there’s you and there ain’t nobody else
I wanna stop and thank you baby
I just wanna stop and thank you baby, oh yes
How sweet it is to be loved by you
How sweet it is to be loved by you
Oh now, how sweet it is to be loved by you
It’s like jelly baby, oh
How sweet it is to be loved by you
Just like honey to the bee, baby, yeah, now
How sweet it is to be loved by you

Written for Love Is In Da Blog where Bee asks us to find a love song with or about sweets nd the prompt is thanks to Paula.

10 thoughts on “Stop and Thank You Baby

    1. His father must have been weird and Marvin stepped between them trying to help his mother out, I should look into this and see if his dad ever went to jail for this but I could see the court giving him leniency after losing his son,

      Liked by 1 person

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