About The Song

Few had heard of the Four Tops before this song was released in the summer of 1964, but the public quickly became acquainted. The quartet’s debut single sold over a million copies – a feat equally impressive in today’s iTunes era – and landed just outside the Top 10.

Songwriters and producers Holland-Dozier-Holland went the Phil Spector route in the studio, hauling in a 40-piece string section and supplementing the Four Tops’ voices with backing vocals from the Andantes, a female trio also signed to Motown. Spector’s Wall of Sound productions were simultaneously big and small. For all the attention lavished on the strings and vocals, check out the echo on those finger snaps. That’s ultimate flattery for Spector.

Levi Stubbs’ lead vocals capture the ache and longing of a lover hoping to be forgiven. The way he sings the line “lately I’ve been losing sleep” perfectly captures a midnight soul search in a bed too big.

While the competition between the Four Tops and Temptations raged within Berry Gordy’s Hitsville U.S.A. studio, on the carts and among fans, the Four Tops introductory offering more than equaled the Temptations breakthrough “The Way You Do the Things You Do.”

An incredibly durable number, the song charted in various arrangements (and punctuations, appearing as both “Baby I Need Your Lovin’” and “Baby, I Need Your Loving,”) for nearly 20 years after it was released. Folk singer Johnny Rivers had the first cover hit in 1967, but it has also been a hit for lounge singer O.C. Smith, soul singer Geraldine Hunt, pop idol Eric Carmen and, finally, funk singer Carl Carlton in 1982.

Video

Lyrics

Baby, I need your lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Although you’re never near
Your voice I often hear
Another day, ‘nother night
I long to hold you tight
‘Cause I’m so lonely
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’
Some say it’s a sign of weakness
For a man to beg
Then weak I’d rather be
If it means having you to keep
‘Cause lately I’ve been losing sleep
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all you lovin’
Empty nights echo your name
Whoa, sometimes I wonder
Will I ever be the same?
Oh yeah!
When you see me smiling, you know
Things have gotten worse
Any smile you might see
Has all been rehearsed
Darling, I can’t go on without you
This emptiness won’t let me live without you
This loneliness inside, darling
Makes me feel half alive
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’
Baby, I need your lovin’
Got to have all your lovin’

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