How a Violent Argument Inspired The Supremes’ ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’
“Stop! In the Name of Love” is one of the most memorable songs from The Supremes’ career. Interestingly, a major musician started writing the track after quarreling with his girlfriend. Here’s how the argument inspired some amazing music.
How an ’embarrassing situation’ inspired 1 of The Supremes’ songs
Songwriters Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland formed the songwriting trio Holland-Dozier-Holland. According to The Guardian, the trio was responsible for some of Motown Records’ most famous songs, including The Four Tops’ “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” and Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heat Wave.” They also wrote several hits for The Supremes.
During an interview with Performing Songwriter, Dozier discussed the inspiration behind “Stop! In the Name of Love.” “The title came from a fight with my girlfriend,” he said. “I got caught in an embarrassing situation where I was being a little unfaithful.”
“This particular girl was very headstrong,” Dozier continued. “So we got into an argument. She started swinging, missed me, hit the floor. And I laughed and said, ‘Please stop! Stop in the name of love.’ I was being facetious.”
How Lamont Dozier and his girlfriend reacted when he came up with the title of ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’
Dozier and his girlfriend thought what he said was funny. “Then we busted out in laughter because it was so corny to us,” he recalled. “She had a chokehold on me, and I said, ‘Hold it for a minute. Did you hear a cash register? Is that a hit title?’ And she started laughing again.”
Dozier coming up with the name of “Stop! In the Name of Love” actually caused the fight to stop. “The music stopped the fight,” he said. “It came to the rescue. Then Brian came up with the hook [musically] for it.”
How the world reacted to ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’
“Stop! In the Name of Love” was a big hit for The Supremes. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 12 weeks. The song’s parent album, More Hits by The Supremes, was a hit as well. The album reached No. 6 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 37 weeks. It certainly had a fitting title given the success of “Stop! In the Name of Love.”
“Stop! In the Name of Love” has a legacy beyond its initial popularity. The Hollies and the cast of Glee both covered it; the latter incorporated it into a mashup with En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind.” Lil Wayne sampled Margie Joseph’s rendition of “Stop! In the Name of Love” for his track “Gossip.”
The Supremes’ Mary Wilson told the YouTube channel Professor of Rock that “Stop! In the Name of Love” was the most popular song at her live shows. She sees it as the most iconic song of The Supremes’ discography. “Stop! In the Name of Love” remains a beloved song — even if it came from a place of strife and anger.