The Sapphires - Gotta Have Your Love

The Sapphires "Who Do You Love"

The Sapphires - Evil One..

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In 1963, a young producer named Jerry Ross discovered a group known as the Sapphires featuring lead vocalist Carol Jackson, and back-up singers Joe Livingston and George Garner.Sapphires The guys and girl had a unique soul sound which Ross hypothesized would be very commercial, and he soon had them signed to Swan records.

"Where Is Johnny Now b/w Your True Love" was co-written by Carol, and released in mid-1963. Although the single didn't put the group on the map, it did establish their sound, and made way for their first big hit. "Who Do You Love," a light playful number bounced up the charts to land at number 25 at the beginning of 1964. The song was a little gem written especially for the group by one young Kenny Gamble, who would find his own success in the 1970s with his Philidephia International label.

By the time the follow-up single, "I Found Out Too Late" was written, recorded, and released, the Beatles had invaded North America and the girl group sound had some competition on its hands. The song, very similar to "Who Do You Love" failed to make significant gains in the market, but not for lack of beauty. Another girl group, the Swans, was called in to do back-up on this and further Sapphires' songs. Interestingly, on many Sapphires' records, the two male singers are often not even heard. Perhaps a better name for Carol and the girls could have been Sapphire and the Swans.

A belated album enitled Who Do You Love soon made its way onto record shelves. It featured the six sides which had been used for single release and an additional six songs from another session. "Gotta Be More Than Friends" and its B-side also came from this LP and they were the last Sapphires' tunes to be issued on Swan.

ABC-Paramount signed an agreement with Ross to record the Sapphires on their label. The Swans were believed to be left behind at this point, and new back-up singers Valerie Simpson, Melba Moore, and Nick Ashford added a Motownish flavour to the groups record. "Let's Break Up For A While" was a haunting balled much in the style of 50s doo-wop, while a further release, "Thank You For Loving Me" continued the Sapphires' slide from the charts.

Carol and company, however, soon found themselves back on track with a number 77 pop hit and also a number 33 R&B smash with "Gotta Have Your Love." The song had an excellent soul shouter, "Evil One" as its follow-up, but it's wild production didn't translate into record sales.

"Gonna Be A Big Thing" was later recorded by another Ross girl group called the Yum Yums, but the Sapphires sang it to much of the same effect. By the end of 1965 this tune hadn't found any openings into the pop market.

The Sapphires last single, the go-go dance sensation "Slow Fizz" was arguably on of the best girl group dance records ever recorded. Written by Whyte Boots members Pam Sawyer and Lori Burton, the backing track also turned up as another song called "Baby You've Got Me" on a 1994 compilation of the group's best hits. The remnents of the Sapphires were gone by the end of 1966.

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