The road to a Motown recording
contract wasn’t an easy one for The Contours. Berry Gordy wasn’t very
impressed following a 3-song audition in 1959 and sent them packing.
Hubert Johnson, one of the original members of The Contours thought his cousin,
the legendary Jackie Wilson might be able to help the group with some
much-needed advice. Wilson asked the group to perform some of their material
for him. Once he was satisfied, Wilson called his old friend Berry Gordy back
at the Motown offices. The very next day, The Contours had a seven-year
contract with the Gordy Label.
In the summer of 1962, The Contours hit the jackpot when Gordy himself penned
the classic “Do You Love Me” for them, which became the group’s biggest
hit as well as Motown’s fastest climbing hit of all time. Within two weeks of
release, “Do You Love Me” became the #2 record in the nation as well as the
group’s first gold record. The ensuing years brought forth such Contours hits
as “Shake Sherrie”, ”Can You Do It”, “Can You Jerk Like Me”,
“Just A Little Misunderstanding”, and “First I look At The Purse”.
The Contours have proudly worn the label “Motown’s #1 party group” for
more than 40 years. Today under the leadership of original member Sylvester
Potts, The Contours are center stage once again. Much of the resurgence in The
Contours popularity has to do with the Academy Award winning film, Dirty
Dancing. Their hit “Do You Love Me” was featured in the film and became so
popular that it gave birth to an international tour entitled The Dirty Dancing
Tour starring The Contours, Bill Medley, Merry Clayton and Eric Carmen. That
tour lasted 10 months, played to over 2 million people in 8 countries and sold
over 10 million copies of “more Dirty Dancing” before it ceased production.
During this time, Motown Records was quick to capitalize on The Contours
popularity by reissuing their original version of “Do You Love Me” in
single and album form. That move paid great dividends for everyone as “Do You
Love Me” climbed to #11 on the national charts, making it one of the few
recordings in history to hit the top 20 in two different decades.
A Contours show is jam-packed with dazzling choreography, impeccable harmonies
and those timeless Motown grooves that everyone knows and loves. You can choose
to dance, sing along or just sit back (if you can) and watch the show as they
perform all of their greatest hits together with many of the greatest hits of
the 60’s and 70’s era, as well as a selection of classic songs from the
Dirty Dancing Soundtrack.
Several CDs are currently available featuring Contour hits; “The Very Best Of
The Contours”, “The Contours - The Millenium Collection”, and the
multi-million selling 4 CD box set “Hitsville USA 1959-1972”.
In recent developments, The Contours were featured on the PBS special “Rock,
Rhythm & Doo-Wop” performing “Do You Love Me” and “First I Look At
The Purse” much to the delight of their legion of fans.
The Contours are in their 4th decade in show business, and are not content to
rest on past laurels. They can still “shake ‘em down” and stand ready to
entertain fans old and new alike.