wthen Bruce Springsteen carried out his new single The Tonight Present with Jimmy Fallon on November 14, she was in rapturous applause, with the ecstatic host of the US present leaping from her chair to declare that the boss had “smashed it!”
However 3,300 miles away, Springsteen’s rendition of the misplaced Motown traditional Do I Love You (Certainly I Do), from his new album of soulful covers, Solely the robust survivewas rekindling a debate that had raged for practically half a century.
Initially recorded in 1965 by Frank Wilson, Do I Love You frequently topped the charts of the best Nordic soul information of all time – however went virtually unheard. It was solely because of the urge for food for soul music in golf equipment akin to Wigan On line casino, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel and Blackpool Mecca within the Seventies that the report was rescued from oblivion within the vaults of the Motown label. How precisely this occurred has been the topic of a lot disagreement within the still-burgeoning Nordic soul scene ever since.
Russ Winstanley, from Wigan, is the self-proclaimed man who ‘found’ the music. One of many founders of Wigan On line casino – which attracted hundreds of soul followers from 1973 till it closed in 1981 – DJed on the membership on its final night time, and the final music ever performed there was Wilson’s Do I Love You. And Winstanley says he is the person answerable for an underground hit.
Within the early Seventies, whereas scouring again catalogs for uncommon, unheard songs to play at On line casino, he found a niche in Motown’s 1965 choices. “We used to deliver a number of the nice American artists to play up north and we have been speaking to them about this report that had been scrapped,” says Winstanley. “I used to be intrigued. A short while later, it simply arrived within the mail.”
Winstanley will not say who he thinks might have obtained the copy from the Motown information. “I do not need to get anyone in bother. I imply, I do know it was 50 years in the past, however…”
Northern soul DJs have been very aggressive and protecting of their discoveries, and to forestall rivals from realizing what he was enjoying, Winstanley says he lined the label with a faux one, proclaiming the report to be ‘Eddie Foster’ .
Nonetheless, Winstanley’s story is hotly contested. Nordic DJ Richard Searling, from Bolton, factors to a charismatic determine from the Seventies scene known as Simon Soussan, primarily based in Leeds however of Franco-Moroccan descent. Soussan, he says, would go to America as a vinyl detective, searching down rarities for dwelling DJs.
Searling, creator of a historical past of the Nordic soul known as Setting the report straight, says: “The copies of the report that have been within the Motown vaults have been… borrowed. Then Soussan despatched one to On line casino in about 1975. He had already put a brand new label on it, saying it was Eddie Foster. Nobody had any concept it was Frank Wilson till a lot later. It was Soussan who found the music.” And the place is he now? “Over there someplace,” says Searling. “Possible.”
“It definitely wasn’t Soussan,” Winstanley insists. “The recording was despatched to me by one of many teams I spoke with.”
One factor they’ll each agree on is that Do I Love You was an on the spot hit with the Wigan On line casino crowd. “It was big from the primary play,” says Searling. “An enormous success from the beginning. It has turn out to be a Wigan On line casino traditional.”
“The response has been unbelievable,” provides Winstanley. “It truly is the proper Nordic soul report.”
The recording was deleted from the Motown catalog as a result of on the final minute they determined to not launch it. Wilson, who died in 2012 on the age of 71 from prostate most cancers, gave an interview to Searling in 2001 and stated that simply earlier than the report’s scheduled launch on December 23, 1965, Motown founder Berry Gordy took on the one hand to say that he had a alternative: did he need to be an artist or did he need to be a author/producer? In response to Wilson, it was a “use” and he went on to work with artists akin to Marvin Gaye, the Supremes and the 4 Tops.
Winstanley says 500 vinyl demo copies of the music have been produced to ship to radio stations, however then all however one have been destroyed when it was determined to not launch it.
Searling says solely six have been produced. Different sources declare that 250 have been made. Regardless of the fact, solely a tiny handful of copies have been put into Detroit’s Motown vaults and forgotten till practically a decade later when somebody—both Soussan or the artist unnamed soul of Winstanley – launched a number of.
In response to Searling, there are most likely three of the unique demos nonetheless in existence, two of which he believes are within the UK. Winstanley says he offered his copy for £1,000 in 1978. Final yr, the identical copy is believed to have modified arms on the non-public report collectors’ marketplace for £100,000.
For greater than 4 a long time, the music remained revered in Britain however unknown within the States. Then, in 2019, the eventual winner of the Strictly Come Dancing, actor Kelvin Fletcher and his dance accomplice Oti Mabuse, carried out a routine for him. By final yr, the music had been utilized in at the very least two TV commercials, one for eggs and one for fried hen.
Now Springsteen has given it new life. BBC Radio 2 made it report of the week, and Springsteen appeared on Zoe Ball’s breakfast present, saying it was one in every of his favourite songs from the brand new album.
He stated: “I used to be listening to a Northern Soul compilation on iTunes or someplace and I noticed this is without doubt one of the best undiscovered Motown songs I’ve ever heard. In america, it is utterly unknown, utterly unparalleled, and I believed if I can get anyplace close to Frank Wilson’s vary, I will cowl it.”
Regardless of the talk over who found Do I Love You, followers of northern soul are at the very least united of their applause for Springsteen. Says Searling: “No matter purists consider his cowl of Do I Love You, he is lastly introduced the music to a brand new viewers.”