Tuesday, April 05, 2005

"They took our song and everybody thinks it's their song"

Friendly Womack raised his 5 sons to be a gospel quintet. In 1953, The Womack Brothers talked their way into opening for The Soul Stirrers and impressed Sam Cooke so much that he helped the brothers spend the rest of the fifties touring the gospel circuit. In 1961, Sam Cooke was started his own label, SAR Records, and signed The Womack Brothers intending to groom them into an R&B crossover act. This was not what Friendly Womack had intended for his sons to do and he threw them out of the house.

Cooke made arrangements for the Womacks to move to Los Angeles and recorded "Yield Not to Temptation" which may have pleased Friendly but not the record buying public. That changed when the Womack Brothers recorded a secular record as The Valentinos. “Looking For A Love” was a top 10 hit in 1962 and again in 1974 when the J. Geils Band took it into the top 40 again. This success was followed by a tour with James Brown.

The third single, "Baby, Lots of Luck" was not a hit. Neither was the next song that Bobby Womack wrote until a popular new act from England redid it and had their first #1 single. Cooke thought it was a great idea: “"What happened next," says Womack, "was that the Stones was over here at Chess Records looking for songs. Our record had just come out and it was very big. The Stones heard it and said, 'Man, we got to cut that song.' Sam came to me and said 'Bobby, I got some good news and bad. The Rolling Stones want to cover your song.' And I said, 'Man, when these Pat Boones gonna stop?'"

"While Cooke understood Womack's response, he saw things from a different angle. Womack continues: "Sam said, 'Bobby, they'll do more for your career than you'll ever believe. This group is gonna be huge and the longer they live, the bigger they're gonna get. It's a new thing happening, man, and I can see it already.' So I just said, 'I don't want them to sing the song. Tell 'em to get their own song.' Sam says, 'Bobby, they sell tons of records. This is gonna be the first record that breaks for them in the States. You know what that means? You introduced 'em.'"

"Womack wasn't convinced. "I'm sayin', 'Oh man, I don't care about all that.' So Sam said 'Well, Bobby, I'm not gonna beg ya no more. I own the publishing. I'm gonna give them the song whether you want to or not.' They came out with 'It's All Over Now' so quick and I was laughin' because some of the words they thought we said, we didn't say. Mick said something totally different. I said, 'This is how a black person talk, the English sound different.' We were laughing, but I was still furious. They took our song and everybody thinks it's their song, never mind Sam talking about it's gonna make me a legend and all that. But I remember the first check I received, it was about $400,000. I been chasing 'em ever since tryin' to get 'em to do one of my songs." [Goldmine, 10-23-98]


Blogger Reverend Frost said...

Hello guys, thanx for the fantastic work!

6/4/05 5:17 AM  

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