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The Contours

The Contours are widely remembered for their 1962 smash "Do You Love Me?," one of the early hits that helped put Motown on the map. Yet they aren't always associated with their contribution to the label; they were one of the roughest, hardest R&B groups Berry Gordy ever signed, and their sound simply didn't resemble the smooth, sophisticated blueprint that later became Motown's trademark. Nor did their stage presence; in contrast to the slick choreography and wardrobe of Motown's signature artists, the Contours were all wild, irrepressible energy, leaping and sliding all over the stage and even doing the splits. As a result, they fell out of favor once Motown got its crossover-friendly hit factory up and running, and never duplicated the success of their first hit.

Formed in Detroit in 1958, the Contours originally began life as a quartet called the Blenders. Lead singer Billy Gordon, Billy Hogg, Sylvester Potts, and Joe Billingslea were soon joined by Hubert Johnson, a cousin of the legendary Jackie Wilson, as well as guitarist Huey Davis. Changing their name to the Contours, the group landed an audition with Berry Gordy's fledgling Motown label. Gordy was not impressed and told them to try again in a year, and they enlisted Jackie Wilson's aid in honing their act. Wilson personally recommended the group to Gordy, who finally relented and signed them up in 1961. The Contours' first single "Whole Lotta Woman" sank without a trace, and Gordy nearly dropped them until Wilson once again interceded on their behalf. The move paid off handsomely when Gordy offered them a chance to cut "Do You Love Me?," a song originally intended for the Temptations, who couldn't quite nail down the rough and rowdy feel Gordy wanted. Released in 1962, "Do You Love Me?" zoomed straight to the top of the R&B charts in just a few short weeks, peaking at number three on the pop side.

Although the Contours were riding high thanks to their hit and their exciting live act, they found the momentum difficult to maintain. They were able to score a follow-up hit, "Shake Sherrie," in 1963, and ran off a string of R&B Top 40 singles over 1965-1966: "Can You Jerk Like Me?," the Top Ten "The Day When She Needed Me," the Smokey Robinson-penned "First I Look at the Purse," and "Just a Little Misunderstanding." Despite the often high quality of those singles, the Contours simply weren't getting the attention -- either from the label or the public -- that Motown's top stars were, and their sound was more of an anomaly at Hitsville than ever. By this time, the original quintet was no longer intact; new members included Joe Stubbs, brother of the Four Tops' Levi Stubbs, and Dennis Edwards, who went on to replace David Ruffin in the Temptations.

The Contours had their last charting single in 1967 with "It's So Hard Being a Loser"; Billingslea and Potts subsequently led versions of the group on the oldies circuit during the '70s and '80s. Sadly, Johnson committed suicide in 1981, and wasn't around to witness the 1988 revival of "Do You Love Me?" thanks to the wildly popular film Dirty Dancing. Billingslea, Potts, and their new cohorts hit the oldies circuit with renewed vigor, and also cut the album Running in Circles for U.K. Motown revivalist Ian Levine's Motorcity label in 1990. Stubbs passed away in 1998, and guitarist Davis did likewise in 2002. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

I used to tear it up to this one!
Brings back memories
We all need another Doo Wop concert series
Good song!
Love Your Music
Hey guys, follow for a follow! And some other variety of music! Thanks
j144174
John. Trvlota. Dad.
I love you high school MuicAL
Don't read this because it actually works you will get kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this comment you will die in 2 days.Now that you've started reading don't stop. Put this on at least 5 songs in the next 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is scary but it actually works. Don't read this because it actually works you will get kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. H
back in the day i could realley dance work it out
was this the song bruce willis sang in moon lighting? when they did the mid evil parody
Love it!! Still very catchy tune :)
Do you Love me?????
While I'm sure the Contours are a great band - WTF are they doing on my Iron Maiden station?
Amazing era of music.... wish artists had this kind of talent these days. no autotune baby! raw talent!
Good sound to dance to loose a few lbs...lol
A hole lot off soul
cool!!!!! Wish I was born in them days!!
Oh yeah
lmao LOL RTOFL ROFL
Pijuda this música!!!!'n
I love music on dirty dancing movie?
Good work out song.
damn this song is just wow beautiful nothing like what they make now a days
Love this song
izzympa117
Boy did I dance to this, love it still!
best band best song ever
I love this song
Great song.
I
ART LABOE TONIGHT BABIES FOR MUSIC LIKE THIS. THE OLDIES AND THE GOODIES. I LOVE IT. MEET ME THERE OR BE SQUARE. PEACE, LOVE, AND HAVE FUN. I have to go now. I have Synagogue right now. PEACE.
DO YOU LOVE ME?
Great song.
Just don't make music like they used to.... I would love for someone to bring this music back!
I love this
You will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest possible Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. But if you don't post this you die in two days. Now you have started reading so don't stop. Put this on at leats 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters.

lkalenyuk
dirty dancing brings back memory.
it still sounds good!
Good group. Love do you love me. Great song and group.
First time I ever heard this I was a little girl watching "dirty dancing" lol I learned the mash potato because of this song
The guys on the left corner on cover. Looks like Mike Tyson
susnashine
Shake it up!
I am hooked
angelofmcy
They just don't write good music like old Motown music anymore!
this is the s**t right here.
thadteddy
You will be kissed by the love of your life on the nearest possible Friday. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. But if you don't post this you die in two days. Now you have started reading so don't stop. Put this on at leats 5 songs in 143 minutes and when done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters.
This on Girl Groups Radio ?! The Contours - a Girl Group? I don't think so.
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works!

lynntom95
This is Rock and Roll.
First time i heard it, i loved it
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