Song Lyric Sunday – Reflections

Our friend Clive, from Take it Easy, has offered up this week’s Song Lyric Sunday prompt and it is “Songs with a recognizable intro”. I have chosen Reflections by the Supremes. The intro to this song is memorable, well at least to me. The album Reflections was released in 1967. The song was also used as the theme for a TV drama here in the States called China Beach about the Vietnam War. It ran from late 80s to early 90s and was the springboard for some now recognizable.actors.

The Song

“Reflections” was written by the Motown songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland. In a Songfacts interview with Dozier, he explained: “It’s about when the love has gone bad, or when things have changed in life. One thing in life that’s ever changing is tomorrow is always different from today. Things change for many reasons, and you have to be aware of why, and what is happening around you. You have to adapt to the changes in life. That’s what that was about: your reflection on how things used to be, can be and will be, hopefully.

It’s all about hope, too. The main theme of that song is hope: although things have come to pass, you have to start changing, remembering the old to get involved with a new approach in life.”
This song tells the story of a woman who looks back in anguish at her lost love, wondering what could have been had things worked out. But the song was directed in some ways at Motown head Barry Gordy, with the same sentiment.

Starting with “Where Did Our Love Go” in 1964, the Holland-Dozier-Holland team wrote nine #1 hits for The Supremes as well as many big songs for The Four Tops, Martha & the Vandellas, and several other acts on the label. After a few years of runaway success, the three writers demanded publishing rights to their songs, but were rebuffed by Gordy. This was when they wrote “Reflections,” which pleased Gordy by providing yet another hit for The Supremes, but portended the departure of Holland-Dozier-Holland, who left a short time later, breaking their contract in the process. The legal tussle between Gordy and his former star writers stretched on for many years.

Sonically, this was a departure for The Supremes, with no saxophone or prominent electric guitar backbeat. It retained the sturdy bassline of James Jamerson, but featured a Wurlitzer electric piano by Earl Van Dyke and tambourine by Jack Ashford. Pistol Allen was the drummer and Joe Messina added guitar. The oscillator-generated sound effects also appear throughout the track.

This was the first foray for The Supremes into psychedelic pop, a sound fully realized by The Beatles a month earlier when they released their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

“Reflections” has some mind-bending lyrics:

Trapped in a world
that’s a distorted reality

It also opens with some trippy sound effects that were created with a custom oscillator designed by one of The Funk Brothers, who were session musicians for most Motown songs of the period.

This was released during The Summer of Love (1967) when the Vietnam War was raging. This made it an appropriate choice for the theme song of the TV series China Beach, which was set in Vietnam during the war. The series ran on ABC from 1988-1991

The Lyrics

Through the mirror of my mind
Time after time
I see reflections of you and me

Reflections of
The way life used to be
Reflections of
The love you took from me

Oh, I'm all alone now
No love to shield me
Trapped in a world
That's a distorted reality

Happiness you took from me
And left me all alone
With only memories

Through the mirror of my mind
Through all these tears that I'm crying
Reflects a hurt I can't control
Although you're gone
I keep holding on
To those happy times
Oh, girl when you were mine

As I peer through the windows
Of lost time
Keeping looking over my yesterdays
And all the love I gave all in vain
(All the love) All the love
That I've wasted
(All the tears) All the tears
That I've tasted
All in vain

Through the hollow of my tears
I see a dream that's lost
From the hurt baby
That you have caused

Everywhere I turn
Seems like everything I see
Reflects a hurt I can't control

In you I put
All my hope and trust
Right before my eyes
My whole world has turned to dust

Reflections of
The love you took from
Reflections of
The way life used to be

In you I put
All my hope and trust
Right before my eyes
My whole world has turned to dust

Now baby, why did you do it?

Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Courtesy of Songfacts

  12 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – Reflections

  1. November 20, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Good choice Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      November 21, 2022 at 7:28 am

      Thanks Di ☺️💕

  2. November 20, 2022 at 9:40 am

    I like pretty much all their songs, this one included. Loved the China Beach show, just didn’t stay on for very long.:)

    • Christine Bolton
      November 21, 2022 at 7:28 am

      Thanks Barbara. Yes, I liked the show too. ☺️💕

  3. November 20, 2022 at 9:22 am

    I didn’t watch China beach, but I know this song really well. It is a shame that people in the music industry especially label owners wanted to grab all the money away from the others that had all the talent. I can see why you selected this song Christine, as there is no mistaking this intro.

    • Christine Bolton
      November 21, 2022 at 7:27 am

      Thanks Jim. China Beach was a good show ☺️

  4. November 20, 2022 at 6:14 am

    Great choice not a favourite of mine but a great into! 💜

    • Christine Bolton
      November 21, 2022 at 7:26 am

      Thanks Willow ☺️❤️

  5. November 20, 2022 at 5:09 am

    A great choice. I know the song well, and think it was one of their best. It is probably the usual copyright thing but your first video isn’t available here – just thought you might like to know, as that happens a lot to me too.

    • Christine Bolton
      November 20, 2022 at 7:19 am

      Thanks for letting me know that Clive. It’s something we’re not always aware of until someone lets us know. I’ll see if I can switch it out.

  6. November 20, 2022 at 12:32 am

    Beautiful song 🎶

    • Christine Bolton
      November 21, 2022 at 7:26 am

      Thanks Paula ☺️💕

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