This is one of those songs like “Poppa Was a Rolling Stone”, “Cloud Nine”, “What’s Going On”, “Everyday People” and others, that emerged during the late sixties and early seventies, that dealt with social issues affecting the inner cities of the United States. This one was one of the first that I recall. And I must say, I always loved this tune, although I first heard it much later than 1968.
When I examined the lyrics I realised that it dealt with a severe social situation prevalent in the US and that affected, mostly but not exclusively, African-Americans. It is hard to understand how Black people that had developed the nation alongside with the European-Americans could be treated so badly. After all, both groups arrived more or less at the same time, albeit the African ones were brought in as slaves.
In any event, “Love Child” narrates the story of a woman trying to stop her boyfriend from sleeping with her, fearing that they would produce a ‘love child’. In other words, another little girl, like her, born in extreme poverty, a product of a one night stand, no father to be had, suffering her mother’s guilt and coping with the situation she is made to live with. That being dealing with shame and fear of rejection. By the end of the song she is resolute that the same thing will not happen to a child of her own.
This song was included in the album Love Child by Diana Ross & the Supremes. It was a number one shit in the US, selling half a million copies in the first week. This was the single that knocked “Hey Jude” by The Beatles off the number one spot it had occupied for nine weeks. In the UK it topped at number 15.
“Love Child” was written by a group of writers that Motown called The Clan, they were: R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson, Pam Sawyer, Deke Richards.
So, take a listen and tell me what you think…