Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)

"Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" was a popular hit for Philly soul group The Stylistics in 1971 and was re-released as a hit duet cover for Motown legends Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross in 1973.

The Stylistics version

The Stylistics had just experienced seeing their first song, 1971's "You're a Big Girl Now", reach success on the Billboard R&B charts, peaking at #7 while it peaked at a dismal #79 on the pop charts. Pop success eluded them until their second single, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)", gave them their first taste of pop success peaking at #39 while peaking at #6 on the R&B singles chart, giving them a sneak peek of the group who would score bigger with hits like "Betcha By Golly Wow", "You Are Everything" and "You Make Me Feel Brand New". The song was sung by Stylistics falsetto leader Russell Thompkins, Jr. and was written by Thom Bell and Linda Creed.

Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross version

Around the same time, Motown wanted their most successful label mates Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross to record a duet album. Among the songs they released, their version of "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" was recorded in separate studios and was released as a UK-only single from their duet album, "Diana & Marvin", in 1973. The song became a big success in England reaching #25 on the pop singles chart but was cancelled as a single in America, which in turn, was given the original single, "You're a Special Part of Me", which was as successful in the U.S. as "Stop, Look, Listen..." was in the UK.

Covers and samples

Ever since the song became a hit twice, it has been covered a few times, with the Stylistics version covered by Patti Austin for her 1981 album, "Every Home Should Have One" and Will Downing's 1998 album, "Pleasures of the Night" featuring saxophonist Gerald Albright and the Gaye/Ross version covered by singers Michael McDonald and Toni Braxton for McDonald's "Motown II" album in 2004. But the most famous replay of the Gaye/Ross version took place a year prior when rap duo Smilez and Southstar's one hit, "Tell Me", sampled heavily from the Gaye/Ross version and also sampled a bit of Gaye's soulful vocals from the song's intro. A second sample of that version of the song, at least the music, was sampled again at around the same time by rapper Ja Rule and R&B star Ashanti with their hit, "Mesmerized". However, a straight up, single version appeared more recently (2005), courtesy of the sublime UK singer-songwriter, Lewis Taylor (on his Stoned album, US version). 50 Cent also sampled it in his controversial song Ghetto Qu'ran (Forgive Me).

Credits

The Stylistics version

*Lead vocals by Russell Thompkins, Jr.
*Background vocals by James Smith, Airrion Love, James Dunn & Herbie Murrell
*Lyrics by Thom Bell & Linda Creed
*Produced by Thom Bell

Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross version

*Lead vocals by Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross
*Instrumentation by The Funk Brothers
*Produced by Hal Davis


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