Song of the Day: The Contours, “Do You Love Me” (1962)

Motown Records started off as a dance-oriented label, and one of their biggest smash hits was a 1962 song, “Do You Love Me,” that talks about a man who tries to regain the affections of a loved one by showing off his skills by performing several dances, including the mashed potato and the twist.

The song was written by Barry Gordy, who offered it to The Contours with the intention of giving it to The Temptations had the former group turned it down. It is worth noting that “Do You Love Me” clearly showcases Gordy’s songwriting talents, standing as a crossover of many genres, from rock and roll to soul to R&B, with this eclectic blend making it palatable across many culturally different audiences.

The Contours were a dance band from Detroit. They were initially turned down by Motown’s founder before getting a second audition for the label thanks to the band’s bass singer Hubert Johnson’s cousin, star vocalist Jackie Wilson. “Do You Love Me” was the biggest hit of their career; since debuting it in 1962, the song has been covered by countless bands and been featured in many films and TV shows – including a prominent featured spot on 1987’s Dirty Dancing, which prompted its re-release as a single.

“I can mash potatoes, I can do the twist / Well now, tell me, baby, do you like it like this?”

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