Monday, July 16, 2018

Musical Monday - Working My Way Back to You - Forgive Me Girl by the Spinners

#1 on the Billboard Hot 100: Never.
#1 on the Cash Box Top 100: Never.
#1 on the U.K. Chart: April 12, 1980 through April 19, 1980.

When I was young, I was more familiar with the 1966 version of this song by the Four Seasons due to the fact that my mother had an album of that band's hits. That said, I much prefer this version of the song. While the Four Seasons version is perfectly fine, the Spinners ramped up the tempo by giving it a driving disco beat and punched up the lyrics by making the song into a medley with Michael Zager's Forgive Me Girl. Couple those elements with the Spinners' characteristic choreography and presentation, and this is simply a better performance of the song, even though the bass singer (who I believe is Pervis Jackson) is clearly not a smooth dancer. This is pretty much the apex of disco-era R&B music, and for the most part, also its swan song.

Working My Way Back to You is a catchy peppy song with really quite problematic lyrics. The problem is, the lyrics to the song present a picture of a pretty awful person. The character portrayed by the singer is not only a jerk, he's an abusive jerk. He starts off by admitting that he fooled around, but escalates to saying that he made his girlfriend cry and that doing so made him feel like a man. Now that he's lost her, he regrets his actions and is making all kinds of promises to try to win her back, but this is also classic abuser behavior. The apologies, the promises, the pleas, the "just give me one more chance" routines, they are all almost textbook abuser behaviors, and knowing that gives this song a decidedly darker cast than was probably intended.

Previous Musical Monday: Going Underground/Dreams of Children by the Jam
Subsequent Musical Monday: Call Me by Blondie

Previous #1 on the U.K. Chart: Going Underground/Dreams of Children by the Jam
Subsequent #1 on the U.K. Chart: Call Me by Blondie

List of #1 Singles from the Billboard Hot 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles from the Cash Box Top 100 for 1980-1989
List of #1 Singles on the U.K. Chart for 1980-1989

The Spinners     1980s Project     Musical Monday     Home

No comments:

Post a Comment