Let me get my Carrie Bradshaw out of the way: Have you ever doubted yourself and feared what the next day would bring after meeting someone for a first date? Subsequent dates? The first time you had sex? The first time you said you love a person to their face, unsure whether that person would say it back to you? Ever wondered what life would be like if a loved one were taken away from you? Ever have those internal monologues where you questioned your actions, your reactions, your thought process? If any of these have stopped you in your track at any moment in your life, this song pretty much covers how that dread feels. In their self-reflective best, Carole King and Gerry Goffin serve this existential classic that captures the inner turmoil of humans, while anchoring it with a sexual encounter – not an easy feat to achieve under 3 minutes of music!
I bestowed my 11 on Will You Love Me Tomorrow upon reflection; as it was initially going to another track (we will get to it #soon) until I remembered how powerful and close to the bone the lyric here cut me. When I was first becoming an adult (gay man) and was full of self-doubt over my physique and my not-so cookie cutter appearance in the gay world - the men I was attracted to were not the kind that would return my affections, but rather the ones who were only after a night of sex and nothing else. After going through this cycle a few times and growing from it, I had come to realise another layer to the lyric – would *I* still love *me* tomorrow? Was the validation I was after my own?
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
was the very reason we had the top 20 rule around the song list. I could not bear getting so close to paying this song its dues and coming up short at the last minute, because had we gone for débuts only, without considering breakthroughs, The Shirelles
wouldn’t even have featured at all, since they débuted in the 50s!
My wishes for The Shirelles
to do well would first be short lived, as no one was giving them the 10s they deserved! The girls started getting 9s however, taking them up from the top 50 to the top 30 until @saviodxl
gave the act that tragic 2 that saw them sink out of the top 40 again! Luckily, a great lot of you came in and rectified that injustice from the middle to the end of voting period and The Shirelles
kept climbing back up the rate. Funnily enough, once The Shirelles
got to the top 20, they were pretty much always tied to The Saturdays
and you were due to get the oldest and newest songs of the list in subsequent eliminations; but the last few voters really separated the two to get to the result we have today.
Will You Love Me Tomorrow
was poorly received by The Shirelles’ lead singer Shirley Owens
at first as she felt the sound was ‘too country’ for the group (their music being more on the doo wop and gospel side of things), which led to the gorgeous string arrangement being added. Shirley
’s delivery and the harmonies from the rest of the band are what really connected with me and drove the lyric home. That longing, self doubt and desperation in Shirley’s voice are all so palpable, so heartfelt over that stunning instrumental, it is impossible not to be moved by the whole thing.
I was not the only one to feel that way either, as Will You Love Me Tomorrow
became the first song by an African American all-girl group to reach #1 in the US Charts in 1960. This success prompted a rise in girl groups and paved the way for the many that came after, in fact critics trace back the subsequent success of Girl Groups to what The Shirelles
pioneered. Will You Love Me Tomorrow
is one of the most decorated songs on our list too, it is ranked by Acclaimed Music as the best song of 1960 and #162 Greatest Song Of All Time. Rolling Stone thought it #126 of The 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time and Billboard names it #3 of 100 Greatest Girl Group Songs Of All Time.
started out as Poquellos
with four teenage girls from New Jersey in 1957. Founding members were Shirley Owens
, Doris Coley
, Addie ‘Micki’ Harris
and Beverly Lee
. They entered a talent show at a teacher’s suggestion. After hearing the girls sing I Met Him On A Sunday
, their classmate Mary Jane Greenberg
convinced them to meet with her mother Florence Greenberg
, owner of Tiara Records
. Tiara Records and The Shirelles’ contract were sold to Decca Records
in 1959 for $4000. After two singles did poorly on the charts, Decca gave up on the girls. This led the girls to sign with Scepter Records
(Greenberg’s new label), the company that would house them during their peak period. More to this story in Part 2!
In 1994, The Shirelles
were awarded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation
’s Pioneer Award
for their contribution to music. In 1996, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame
. In 2002, it was the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame
and finally in 2004, Rolling Stone ranked them #76 of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. Their sound and contribution can still be felt an seen in pop music nowadays.
PopJustice thought this of The Shirelles -
(6) really needs to explain how he gets to his score as that commentary means a 10 in my book
- Nice, moving melody and vocals. Tech: 4 Taste: 2 = 6 points. Kermit_The_Frog
(9) makes more sense
- (Almost) pop perfection - I’ll even conveniently forget that MOR bore Carole King wrote it… Riiiiiiiii
(8.8) finds this as intensely relatable as I did
- The song with to most beautiful lyrics out of this entire list. (sorry Bananarama)
(8.7) prefers another version, I should point out Cher also does one!
- This is one of my all time favourite songs! So nearly went straight in with my 11. If it was the Roberta Flack version I would have given it in a heartbeat. Saviodxl
(2) was the wolf in sheep’s clothing the whole time!! Get her, Jade!!
- I know the 60s songs have some nice choruses, but this song makes me think it doesn't... Filippa
(10) stans talent
! - Carole King is one of my favourite song writers. So today you would have a different arrangement but it’s such a good melody. I love this song. It’s the incarnation of the 60ies
Trouble In Paradise
(10) is still impressed by everything to do with this number, and serves up some impressive commentary to boot!
- The combination of Carole King’s genius songwriting and the vocal talents of the Shirelles is to die for! The fact that this songs message is still so powerful all these years later speaks to just how talented King is. I love how this version wraps her mature and complex viewpoint on love and sex into the sounds of youthful pop (of that time). There’s something subversive about this song wrapped in classic wall of sound style youthful romance production about the fear of losing love after having sex.
(8) also appreciates but not this version the most
- Obviously this record has a special place in history, and obviously it's queen Carole so I need to give it a high score, but that's the problem. Carole's solo version is absolutely definitive, and this version just pales in comparison. Sprockrooster
(10) mentions another great version (rate idea – different covers of Will You Love Me Tomorrow?)
- One of those classics, that in pretty much every rendition (but especially Amy Winehouse) is also amazing, cause the original is amazing.
(9) asks a question he himself answered a few pages ago
- You just can’t go wrong with Carole King’s songwriting, can you? Still beautiful after all these years. DominoDancing
(6.5) just wasn’t feeling this one at all, sadly
- A lot of these 60s songs are so similar in terms of arrangement and sentiment that it is hard to put in words why I prefer one over the other anyway, but this really lacks any kind of unique feature. Solid, but not a favourite.
(9) was spoiled for choice over a favourite version too
- This actually sounds quite lovely, doesn’t it? There have been so many versions of this that I’ve heard through the years, but it’s always nice hearing the original. May not be my favorite version of it, but a wonderful effort. Unnameable
(10) will be sad to lose this one so soon after the 11
– the classic definition of what a 60s girlgroup should sound like, and a fine song from Carole King. DJHazey
(10) is so right when he is right!!
- Obviously a classic through and through but the part that I will always remember the most is the string arrangement -- especially when it goes into another gear during that instrumental bridge. Also "so tell me now and I won't ask again" is just everything.