Reach Out I'll Be There

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"Reach Out I'll Be There"
Single by the Four Tops
from the album Reach Out (1967)
B-side "Until You Love Someone"
Released August 18, 1966
Format 7" single
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); 1966
Genre Soul
Length 3:01
Label Motown
Songwriter(s) Holland–Dozier–Holland
Producer(s) Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier<ref name="Rice"/>
the Four Tops singles chronology
"Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"
"Reach Out I'll Be There"
"Standing in the Shadows of Love"

"Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"
"Reach Out I'll Be There"
"Standing in the Shadows of Love"
Peaked @ #1 on October 15, 1966

The Four Tops recorded this in just two takes, and had practically forgotten about the song until it was released, assuming it was a "throwaway" album track. Motown boss Berry Gordy had other ideas and released it as a single. Gordy had a knack for identifying hit songs, and got this one right. The Motown songwriting team of Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland (Holland/Dozier/Holland) wrote this. They told lead singer Levi Stubbs to sing like Bob Dylan on "Like a Rolling Stone," which explains the urgency in his lyrics. Phil Spector once described this as "Black Dylan." This was one of many hits the Holland-Dozier-Holland team wrote for The Four Tops. Some of these songs sounded remarkably similar, but the Motown writers didn't have time to start from scratch with every song, since they were expected to crank out lots of songs in a hurry. H-D-H averaged two or three songs a day and literally had to clock in to work. Lamont Dozier said in a 1984 interview with NME: "If we didn't complete them at least we would start them. We would have parts of the songs, like hooks, or maybe parts of verse, so that at the end of the day we would have something accomplished. I guess that was primarily the reason for the success we had in such a short time. We were there eight or nine years and out of those years we racked up some 50 or 60 Top 20 records, 66 Top Ten... something like that." The line, "happiness is just an illusion" appeared in another Motown song that was on the charts at the same time: "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" by Jimmy Ruffin. That one also rhymed "illusion" with "confusion." Telma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent sang backup. They later went on to form the successful vocal trio Dawn along with Tony Orlando. Diana Ross recorded this for her 1971 album Surrender, taking the song to #29 in the US. Her version, which was produced by Ashford & Simpson, is drastically different from the Four Tops original. Ross sang it in a similar style to her 1970 hit, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." >> This song has an interesting chart history in the UK: The original hit #1 in 1966, Gloria Gaynor took a disco version to #14 in 1975, a remix of the Four Tops version by the production team Stock, Aitken & Waterman went to #11 in 1988, and Michael Bolton's version hit #37 in 1993.

Music video


Now if you feel that you can't go on
Because all of your hope is gone,
And your life is filled with much confusion
Until happiness is just an illusion,
And your world around is crumblin' down;
Darling, reach out (come on girl, reach on out for me)
Reach out (reach out for me.)
I'll be there, with a love that will shelter you.
I'll be there, with a love that will see you through.
I'll be there to always see you through.

When you feel lost and about to give up
'Cause your best just ain't good enough
And you feel the world has grown cold,
And you're drifting out all on your own,
And you need a hand to hold:
Darling, reach out (come on girl, reach out for me)
Reach out (reach out for me.)
I'll be there, to love and comfort you,
And I'll be there, to cherish and care for you.
I'll be there to love and comfort you.

I can tell the way you hang your head,
You're without love and now you're afraid
And through your tears you look around,
But there's no peace of mind to be found.
I know what you're thinkin',
You're alone now, no love of your own,
But darling, reach out (come on girl, reach out for me)
Reach out (reach out for me.)
Just look over your shoulder
I'll be there, to give you all the love you need,
And I'll be there, you can always depend on me.

Weekly charts

Chart (2016) Peak
September 3, 1966 82
September 10, 1966 657
September 17, 1966 26
September 24, 1966 10
October 1, 1966 7
October 8, 1966 2
October 15, 1966 1
October 22, 1966 1
October 29, 1966 3
November 5, 1966 4
November 12, 1966 11
November 19, 1966 14
November 26, 1966 32
December 3, 1966 38
December 10, 1966 47
Preceded by
"Cherish" by The Association
US Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
October 15, 1966 – October 22, 1966 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"96 Tears" by ? & the Mysterians
US Cash Box number-one single
October 15, 1966 (1 week)
Preceded by
"Beauty Is Only Skin Deep" by The Temptations
US Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles number-one single
October 29, 1966 – November 5, 1966 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Love Is a Hurtin' Thing" by Lou Rawls
Preceded by
"Distant Drums" by Jim Reeves
UK Singles Chart number-one single
October 29, 1966 – November 12, 1966 (3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys