Classics: Rose Royce – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore (Whitfield Records)
‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ marked quite an interlude in the repertoire of Rose Royce. Leavin’ aside the infectious gems which had been for much on their growing reputation to embark on some downtempo territories.
As a matter of fact, producer Norman Whitfield had the idea of collaborating with British arranger/composer Paul Buckmaster. From then, The twosome decided to contact songwriter Miles Gregory. They soon after discovered he was under medication from overuse of drugs. And, therefore, that he was in a lot of pain at the time.
Gregory finally wrote the song though. This resulting in ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’. A song which admittedly found its inspiration in the man’s own situation and his deteriorating physical health. And what a masterpiece he wrote at the end. Most likely givin’ a double meaning to his lyrics. Meanwhile Gwen Guthrie‘s sultry performance was to bring the whole to some unequalled level.
“You abandoned me, love don’t live here anymore. Just a vacancy, love don’t live here anymore. When you lived inside of me, There was nothing I could conceive that you wouldn’t do for me. Trouble seemed so far away. You changed that right away, baby…”
Countless cover versions of this jewel appeared along with time without ever beating the original. Although The Basement Boys turned it in to an outstanding uptempoed gem back in 1988, eventually titling it ‘Love Don’t Live Here No More’, with remix courtesy of Tony Humphries.
According to Songfacts, this song was written by Miles Gregory after his wife left him, emptied the house and wrote in lipstick on the bedroom wall “Love don’t live here anymore.”
– Formed in Los Angeles, CA in the early 70’s, Rose Royce (Magic Wand at the time) started as backing musicians with Edwin Starr who introduced them to producer Norman Whitfield. They would soon after act as a studio band for Undisputed Truth whose bandleader introduced singer Gwen Dickey to Whitfield. And Rose Royce was born, makin’ their debut with the memorable ‘Theme From Car Wash’.
The central theme to Joel Schumacher written film of the likes would be the very first of an impressive series of hot jams for the band. Among their classics, ‘Wishing On A Star’, ‘Do Your Dance’ and ‘Love Don’t Live here Anymore’. Not to mention ‘Still In Love’ or ‘Is It Love You’re After’ among others.
The arrival of the 80’s would also mark the progressive beginning of the end for the band, although they keep on touring regularly in the UK.
– Contemporary Music may not have become what it is without Norman Whitfield‘s contribution. As a matter of fact, he might pretty well be the first producer ever who established a sound / an approach as a trademark…
Hailing from Harlem, NY, he and his family relocated to Detroit where he started working with Motown’s head Berry Gordy. Aged 19, he progressively established himself as in charge of the quality control department. A position which allowed him to determine which songs would or would not be released, prior to join the label’s in-house songwriting staff.
He would find his niche in the production though. When he came to collaborate with Marvin Gaye on the memorable ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ back in 1968. Then with Edwin Starr, 2 years after, crafting ‘War’ for him. But even more when he took over Smokey Robinson‘s role as the main producer for The Temptations back in 1966.
From then on, he took the group to a brand new dimension. What he did was changing the nature of the songs, from love matters to the social issues of the time, such as war, poverty and politics. But also experimenting sound effects and production techniques. Eventually getting the group into a darker infectious sound blending psychedelic Rock and Funk. From this liaison which lasted until 1975, came gems such as ‘Ain’t Too Proud To Beg’ back in 1966. But also ‘Cloud Nine’ and ‘Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)’. Not to mention the memorable ‘Papa Was A Rolling Stone’, ‘Plastic Man’ and ‘Law Of The Land’…
Whitfield parted ways with The Temptations coz’ they disliked how he put more emphasis on the instrumentation instead of their vocals. And also because they wished he wrote more romantic ballads for them. This therefore led him to leave Motown and launch his own Whitfield Records imprint. From then, he convinced The Undisputed Truth and Jr. Walker. Respectively producing ‘You + Me = Love’ and ‘Back Street Boogie’ from them. Then Rose Royce who were Edwin Starr‘s backing band while at Motown.
He most likely scored his biggest success ever with ‘Car Wash’ for the latter. A cut which won Whitfield a 1977 Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album. He soon after also composed the theme song for the 1977 motion picture ‘Which Way Is Up?’, performed by Stargard.
Among his biggest productions as well, the mellow ‘Love Don’t Live Here Anymore’ by Rose Royce. And also ‘Is It Love You’re after’. A jam which British producer Mark Moore sampled on the ‘Theme From S-Express’ back in 1988.
Whifield underwent treatment for diabetes and other ailments at Los Angeles’s Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, in 2008. He fell into a coma, briefly improved, but sadly succumbed to diabetic complications on Sept. 16, 2008, aged 68.
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