Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)
Single infobox |
Name = Superstar
(Remember How You Got Where You Are)
from Album =
October 17, 1971
Format = 7" single
Hitsville USA(Studio A); September 11, September 15, September 18, and September 21, 1971
Psychedelic soul/ funk
Length = 2:52
Label = Gordy
Producer = Norman Whitfield
Chart position =
#18 (US Pop Singles)
#8 (US R&B Singles)
Last single = "It's Summer"
This single = "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)"
Next single = "Take a Look Around"
(1972)"Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" is a 1971 hit single for the Gordy (
Motown) label, recorded by The Temptationsand produced by Norman Whitfield. Something of an early ancestor to the "diss songs" prevalent in hip hop musictowards the end of the 20th century, "Superstar" is an attack at two former Temptations members, David Ruffin(who had been fired back in 1968) and his cohort Eddie Kendricks(who quit the act in early 1971 and negotiated a Motown solo deal).
Kendricks quit the group amidst conflicts and tension between him and bandmates
Otis Williamsand Melvin Franklin, and after being denied the opportunity to record a solo album of classic-styled soul as a reprieve from Norman Whifield's psychedelic soulrecordings, which he detested. Kendricks told Ruffin, with whom he had continued an alliance, of his problems with the group. Ruffin, at the time a successful Motown solo artist with a Top Ten hit in "My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me)", convinced Kendricks that he was good enough to succeed as a solo artist, and that neither of them needed the Temptations as a safety net.
Not long after Kendricks' departure, the
falsettosinger was heard in several interviews blaming his departure on the "jealousy" of Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin. Kendricks pointed out the failure of "It's Summer", the first single not to feature Kendricks' vocals. He and Ruffin went on to propose that even Norman Whitfield had lost faith in the Kendricks-less group, since he had taken the Kendricks-led " Smiling Faces Sometimes" from the Temptations and re-tooled it as a Top 5 hit for new Motown act The Undisputed Truth. In one " Right On!" magazine interview, Ruffin stated that he and Kendricks were considering asking current Temptations lead singer Dennis Edwardsto join a new singing group that would include the three of them and, once his health improved, Kendricks' good friend Paul Williams (another founding member of the Temptations who was forced to quit the group in 1971 because of failing health).
Ruffin and Kendricks' statements did not please the rest of the group or Whitfield. The song "Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" had begun its life as a song Whitfield and lyricist
Barrett Strongwere writing about one of Whitfield's former friends, a producer whom Whitfield thought had become too cocky after achieving success. By the time the song was completed and being recorded by the Temptations, however, Otis Williams recalled that the song was "about David [Ruffin] and Eddie [Kendricks] " ref|Otisquote.
The recorded version of the song features Dennis Edwards,
Melvin Franklin, and new Temptations Damon Harris(Kendricks' replacement, making his Temptations debut here) and Richard Street(who replaced Paul Williams) trading lines that constituted a friendly warning to their former colleagues:
:"Don't change your style now that you've reached the top":"Don't choose your friends by what they've got":"Remember, beneath the glitter and gleam":"Like everyday people, you're just a human being"
The song goes on to ask "superstars" Ruffin and Kendricks (who are never named in the song, although the song's intent is clear) "do you know who your real friends are?" and to "remember how you got where you are."
The Funk Brothers, Motown's in-house studio band, backed "Superstar" with a funkinstrumental track highlighted by Earl Van Dyke's pianochords.
"Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)" was a Top 10 hit on the Billboard
R&B singles chart, and peaked at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Notably, among the few covers of "Superstar" is a 1975 version by Ruffin, one of the subjects of the original record.
* Lead and background vocals by
Dennis Edwards, Melvin Franklin, Damon Harris, Richard Street, and Otis Williams
* Instrumentation by
The Funk Brothers
# Williams, Otis and Weigner, Harry (2002). My Girl: The Very Best of the Temptations (Compact disc liner notes). New York: Motown/Universal Records.
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