The Supremes – “Baby Love” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Brendan Briggs

Brendan is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. In 2022, he released his first album "Dive" under the name "Arctotherium".

“Baby Love” is a straightforward song about wanting to save a romance from deteriorating. The lyrics focus on how the narrator simultaneously deeply loves their beloved but also feels mistreated. In addition, the solution to this problem in the song is to forget about the past, reconcile, and enjoy love again.

This tune was written by the hitmakers of hitmakers: Motown’s very own (and very special) Holland-Dozier-Holland team. Originally, the idea was to mimic “Where Did Our Love Go,” another Motown smash-hit, in hopes of scoring another chart-topper. This goal was met soundly. It looks like deadlines can make you more creative!

In this article, we’ll take a look at these direct lyrics to discover their intended meaning. We’ll also take a look at the songwriting story and the human themes that make this song accessible to anyone. Without further ado, let’s get started!

“Baby Love” Lyrics Meaning

The song begins by setting the scene and the situation. First, the narrator professes her deep love for her “baby love.” This, however, isn’t good enough to fix the problem. She accuses her man, saying, “all you do is treat me bad.” They’re having some difficulties, but she wants to overcome them.

She asks, “what did I do wrong to make you stay away so long?” toward this end. Whatever she has done wrong, she’s willing to fix it. She tells him she’s been “missing” him too much to hold any grudges. The affection is still there; there’s just been some issues along the way.

“Instead of breaking up,” she continues, the couple ought to “do some kissing and making up.” At this point, the narrator reveals that her main fear is the end of the relationship. Her solution is simple: forget the past, rekindle the flame, and move on. Solid advice, I’d say!

Verse three adds some depth to the story, though only in vague terms. The narrator says, “all my whole life… I never loved no one but you.” This either means the narrator is young or that the relationship has lasted a long time. Given the rest of the lyrics, I’d say that the latter is the intended meaning.

After establishing her loyalty, she asks, “Why do you do me like you do?” in order to get to the point. She’s holding up her end, and she’s willing to move forward. The fact that her efforts aren’t being matched makes the situation very unbearable.

Verse four escalates the tone further. The narrator begins pleading with her beloved, asking him not to “throw our love away.” She’s “not happy” like she was in former days because “loneliness” has overtaken her. She feels neglected and alone; her only option is to try and reset the romance she originally had.

At this point, the lyrics are repetitive. In summary, “Baby Love” follows a classic Motown formula to the letter: happy music, distressed lyrics. The song is all about having a deep desire to fix a broken relationship – something that many in this world can relate to.

The Story Behind “Baby Love”

As mentioned previously, this song came out of the unforgettable hit-making machine that was 1960s Motown Records. Songwriters Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, and Eddie Holland get to take credit for bringing this idea into reality. The Supremes get the credit for bringing it to life.

According to multiple sources, “Baby Love” was intended to mimic “Where Did Our Love Go” for the obvious reason that the latter track was an instant classic. The songwriting team went to work, intent on bringing in more gold for Motown, and evidently succeeded.

This didn’t happen before one major revision. According to Rolling Stone magazine, Berry Gordy (then head of Motown) sent the creative team back to the drawing board when he heard the initial version of “Baby Love.” His reasoning? It “wasn’t catchy enough.” Talk about high standards!

Nonetheless, the result was something we can all appreciate. After The Supremes added their timeless performance to the song’s idea in 1964, it took the world by storm. “Baby Love” became a #1 hit for The Supremes and earned itself a permanent spot in American musical history.

I couldn’t finish the article in good conscience without telling you about the other fine musicians who performed on this famous recording. Motown’s top-tier studio musicians, known as The Funk Brothers, provided the instrumentation for this tune. They are also responsible for countless other Motown classic hits and influenced the respective worlds of their own instruments in a truly indelible way. As a bass player myself, I wouldn’t be anywhere without James Jamerson, a prolific member of this talented group.

Anyway, my geeking out is over. The next time you listen to this smash hit, let these pieces of music history make it even more special for you!