2009-04-01 04:45:06 UTC
one big hit in the early 60's, one that was to return to the charts a
couple of more times over the years.
The group started as a quartet in Detroit in 1958, with orginal
members Billy Gordon, Sylvester Potts, Billy Hoggs and Joe
Billingslea. When Hubert Johnson later joined, they became a quintet.
Johnson's cousin was established entertainer Jackie Wilson. Although
Wilson was not a Motown recording artist, he knew Motown founder Berry
Gordy, Jr. and had recordeed some songs written by Gordy and turned
them into hits. Wilson arranged an audition for the group at Motown.
Their first recording for Motown went nowhere, but Jackie Wilson was
persistent and arranged for the Contours to get another chance. The
group added guitarist Huey Davis and recorded a song written by Berry
Gordy, Jr. titled Do You Love Me. The record was a sensation, rising
to the top of the R&B chart and to #3 pop. The song was later covered
by British groups Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, who had a hit with it
in the UK, and the Dave Clark Five who hit not only in the UK but the
United States as well. Do You Love Me became a rock and roll classic.
From 1962 to 1967 the Contours reached the top forty seven times, but
all of these were on the R&B chart, with songs such as First I Look At
The Purse and Just A Little Misunderstanding. The latter was the
group's sole top forty entry in the UK, in 1970. The group continued
recording throughout the 70's, with some inevitable personnel changes.
The Contours had some links to other memorable Motown aritsts of the
60's. Dennis Edwards, a member in 1967, joined the Temptations the
following year. Joe Stubbs, whose brother Levi Stubbs was a mainstay
with the Four Topps, was a member of the Contours at one time. Billy
Gordon was married to Georgeanna Tillman of the Marvelettes. Hubert
Johnson, whose cousin Jackie Wilson had helped the group so much in
the early days, passed away in 1981.
In 1988 the Contours' hit Do You Love Me was featured in the motion
picture Dirty Dancing, and a reissue of the record returned to the pop
chart once again, rising to #11. The group certainly left its mark.