jr. walker & the all stars

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On this day in music history: July 19, 1969 - “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” by Jr. Walker & The All Stars hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #4 on the Hot 100 on August 9, 1969. Written by Johnny Bristol, Harvey Fuqua, and Vernon Bullock, it will become the second R&B chart topper for the Motown singer and saxophonist. The track is recorded in late 1968 at Motown’s Studio A in Detroit with members of The Funk Brothers sitting in for members of Walker’s band. The Originals (“Baby I’m For Real”) and The Andantes, will provide the background vocals. “What Does It Take” will initially be passed over for release in one of Motown’s Quality Control meetings in favor of another Jr. Walker song titled “Home Cookin’” (#19 R&B, #42 Pop). When that single is only moderately successful, “What Does It Take” will be immediately pulled from the vault and is released on April 25, 1969. “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love)” will take off faster than any of Walker’s singles since “Shotgun” four years before, becoming his second million seller.

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Jr. Walker & the All Stars released three singles on Harvey Fuqua’s Harvey label before it was acquired by Berry Gordy’s Motown Group. This is one side of the band’s first release for Gordy’s Soul imprint. It was an ordinary blues jam, but it showcases the saxophone soloing that would soon become one of Motown’s signature sounds. Walker’s next single, “Shotgun”, would shoot to #1 R&B and #4 Pop making it one of Motown’s biggest hits of 1965.