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.
“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
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? Reflections Writer/s: DAVID BRYAN BENOIT Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind Courtesy of Songfacts