"Band of Gold" is a song written and composed by former Motown producers Holland–Dozier–Holland (under the pseudonym of Edythe Wayne) and Ron Dunbar. It was a major hit when first recorded by Freda Payne in 1970 for the Invictus label, owned by H-D-H. The song has been recorded by numerous artists, notably competing 1986 versions by contrasting pop singers Belinda Carlisle and Bonnie Tyler, and a 2007 version by Kimberley Locke.
|"Band of Gold"|
|Songwriter(s)||Ron Dunbar, Edyth Wayne|
|"Band of Gold"
|"The Right Stuff" |
The legendary songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland used the name Edythe Wayne because of a lawsuit in which they were embroiled with Motown. Ron Dunbar was a staff employee and producer for Invictus. When they first offered the song to Freda Payne, she balked at the idea of recording it, finding the material more appropriate for a teenager or very young woman while she was nearly 30 years old. Payne reluctantly gave in after much persuasion by Dunbar. Almost immediately following its release, the Payne record became an instant pop smash, reaching number three in the US, where it was certified Gold by the RIAA and number one on the UK singles chart, where it remained at the top spot for six weeks in September 1970.
After Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1967, they were still in contact with Motown's house band, the Funk Brothers and when they started their own recording company, with the intention of self-producing the songs they wrote, they asked the Funk Brothers to play on those songs.
Golden World/Motown session singers Pamela Vincent, Joyce Vincent Wilson, and Telma Hopkins provided the background vocals on the record. Joyce and Telma would later go on to form the group Tony Orlando & Dawn. Also singing in the background is Freda Payne's sister and future member of the Supremes, Scherrie Payne, who was also signed to Invictus at the time as a member of the Glass House group.
The distinctive electric sitar part is played by Dennis Coffey. The lead guitar on the selection is performed by Ray Parker Jr., who later headed the team Raydio before becoming a solo recording artist in his own right.
In 2004, Freda Payne's "Band of Gold" was voted number 391 in Rolling Stone magazine's listing of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.