GUS (Gave Up Smoking) is a community support series for Kossacks in the midst of quitting smoking. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. We avoid discussion of political issues. If you are quitting or even thinking about quitting, please -- join us! You can add GUS to your stream by clicking on the ♥ next to the GUS tag. The GUS Library at dKosopedia is organically evolving, and stocked with free-range information, quit-smoking links, and helpful GUS writing tips.
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I've had an ear worm the past few weeks. Truth be told I have one just about every day, but this one persisted in spite of attempts to placate it with repeated plays. It's not a bad song, in any way shape or form. I'm fairly certain it was instigated in part by my recent attempts to work on seeking a new career, and reminiscing about my dad and his chosen profession, both in private and in behavioral therapy sessions. My dad's birthday is/was March 17th, so my thoughts generally turn to him around this time of year and the end of 1972, and early 1973 were pivotal for me and my family with the death of my mother from breast cancer, so some of the songs from that era are lurking in the background of my mind at any given time anyway.
Some of you might remember the introduction I made with you and my dad from a few years ago. My dad was a travelling salesman, very much a rolling stone in that regard, gone for the entire week on the road, leaving on Monday morning and returning on Friday afternoon and although there was never any infidelity (that I'm aware of) there was a certain detachment in my relationship with him. After the death of my mother, that distance between us was only magnified.
Working through the exercises of What Color Is Your Parachute has stirred up some of the mixed feelings I still have towards my dad, Joe, and his personal philosophy towards jobs and careers, but I've recently been more willing to adjust my perception and acknowledge a kinship that I hadn't recognized (or was unwilling to) before. Being a child of the Great Depression his outlook was very much oriented towards financial gain and he emphasized that in his dealings with me. I wanted the opposite, personal satisfaction with financial gain as a secondary goal and our relationship suffered immensely because of those, as well as other, differences. Looking with renewed interest at my own career opportunities again has inevitably brought me back to Joe and now I'm not so sure we were that different after all. He was very successful in what he did and he also absolutely loved his work. He was a natural for it, very outgoing and people oriented, he could have sold a sack of sh*t to someone and made them think they'd gotten a great deal, but he developed those attributes over time. He claimed to be very shy and introverted as a child and young man. So whether or not he chose the profession or the profession chose him, he used his innate talents to great affect, and lived a fulfilling and satisfying life.
I still have much to do figuring things out about myself and where I want to go next and what I want to be, but things are starting to take shape, and I'm pleased with the direction I'm heading in. usually. It's very much one day at a time in my personal recovery program, but some days I believe I have a promising future, and that mentality and attitude is good progress too.
As for the song, it was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1971. They co wrote some really memorable Motown classics, such as Heard It Through The Grapevine, Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) & Ain't Too Proud To Beg. Whitfield can also lay claim to writing the 1976 Rose Royce hit Car Wash & Strong wrote the first Motown hit in 1960 with Money (That's What I Want).
Whitfield produced 8 of the Temptations LP's, but he offered the song as a single to The Undisputed Truth, probably best remembered for Smiling Faces Sometimes, and they had minor chart success with it. Taking it to the Temptations, it was reworked into a 12 minute opus, eventually making it to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in late 1972. With at least 4 versions of it available, including the original, two different 7 minute extended edits and an instrumental, there's really no other way to describe the unmistakable bass line, wah-wah guitar, beautifully blended vocal talents, story line, setting, and mood on it as anything but epic and Rolling Stone lists it as #168 on its list of 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
41 years ago today, on March 3rd, 1973, it won 3 Grammy Awards. One to the Temptations for Best R&B Vocal Performance by a Duo, Group or Chorus, one to Paul Riser & Norman Whitfield for Best R&B Instrumental Performance, and one to Norman Whitfield & Barrett Strong for Best R&B Song.
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