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NOD TO THE GODS: Dionne Warwick & The Spinners, ‘Then Came You’
December 15, 2013
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Each and every Sunday night when the clock hits eight, The Strombo Show celebrates the spirit of radio over on CBC Radio 2. It's music for music lovers by music lovers. To kick off the program, we always tip our hats to the legends, the noise-makers and the ground-breakers in a segment that we like to call: Nod to the Gods.

When Dionne Warwick released "Then Came You" with the R&B group The Spinners in 1974, her career was in transition. It was Warwick's first single to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, and became the title track for her 1975 album Then Came You.

In an interview, Thom Bell, the producer who recorded "Then Came You," said that "Dionne made a face after the session and didn't care for the songs very much." In response, Bell ripped a dollar bill in two and signed each half. As the story goes, Bell told her that "if the song doesn't go to number one, I'll send you my half." After it did, Dionne sent back the half torn dollar bill to Bell with an apology.

Unfortunately, the song also has the dubious distinction of being tied with Billy Preston's "Nothing From Nothing," the song that preceded its position on the Billboard Hot 100, as the biggest fall from number one in the history of the chart. They both spent only one week in that number one position before dropping to the 15th spot for the following week.

Incidentally, Preston's song has the honour of being the first musical performance on the debut episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by George Carlin.

After the hit, Warwick continued working with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, eventually becoming second only to Aretha Franklin as the most-charted female vocalist of all time, with more than fifty of her singles making the Billboard Hot 100. Those songs included: "Don't Make Me Over," "I Say A Little Prayer," "Alfie," "There's Always Something There To Remind Me," "I'll Never Fall In Love Again" and more.

And then a few years later, of course, there was this mid-80s classic with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.

For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or relisten, all of the episodes are archived on our Radio page.


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