Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)

The £100,000 copy

The most valuable soul single ever, Frank Wilson’s Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) was sold for £25,742 in 2009 on Motown’s Soul label. It was bought by soul specialist John Manship, and sold on in August 2020 for £100,000. 400% in ten years.

That copy has a rubber stamp and handwriting on it.  The only other known copy has an autographed greeting from Frank Wilson, which is probably a plus. This is an exception. Mind you, if there’s a third copy with no autograph it might be worth even more. That’s the one Berry Gordy is rumoured to own.

This is mentioned elsewhere, but I was inspired to add more when Bruce Springsteen released his cover version in 2022 on Only The Strong Survive.

Bruce Springsteen: I started to record a song by Frank Wilson, who was very popular in the Northern Soul scene. But it was a song called ‘Do I Love you” that is completely unknown in the United States. No one had ever heard it in the United States, but it’s always been popular here. So I cut that. It felt great, so I thought I’d make a record of soul music.

Graham Norton Show, BBC 1, 11 November 2022

Bruce is right. This 1965 song used to be a total obscurity. Frank Wilson isn’t even mentioned in either of the encyclopaedic books on Motown, by Sharon Davis ad the Thames & Hudson coffee table one. Berry Gordy mentions him a couple of times in his autobiography, but only as a producer.

Frank Wilson was a Motown producer, and wrote the song. It was scheduled for 23 December 1965 release. Motown boss Berry Gordy didn’t like his vocal, and wanted him to focus on production. Originally, 250 demos were pressed, and destroyed. It became a Northern Soul favourite. Don’t get excited if you see one … it was reissued in 1979 with a Tamla-Motown label, and then again in 2005 with a facsimile label.

The story is on The Complete Motown Singles: 1965 box set. Ironically, the single wasn’t recorded at Motown, but in Los Angeles at an unknown date, produced by Hal Davies and Marc Gordon. LA was a Motown outpost.

Frank Wilson Berry Gordy had just paid a visit to Los Angeles for what was then called a disc jockey convention.He mentioned to Hal Davies and Marc Gordon that he wanted to open up a West Coast Motown office, and asked them if they’d be interested in running the office for Motown … the very next day after the offer was made, they contacted me and asked if I would become part of their team.

ThE Complete motown singles: 1965

Wilson started producing, and the single was scheduled for release. He went to Detroit.

Frank Wilson Berry said, Frank, you know I’m getting ready to release this record on you.We’re excited about it, but I want to ask you a question. Do you really want to be an artist, or do you want to be a writer and producer?’
And it was right there and then that I told him I wanted to be a writer and producer. And it was decided that he would not release that record on me.’

the complete motown singles: 1965

Then the LA office was shut down, and Frank Wilson moved to Detroit.

This was Motown. The backing track of Do I Love (Indeed I Do) was re-used for Chris Clark’s version in 1966, and she recorded both sides … Sweeter As The Days Go By as well. That also got shelved, until The Complete Motown Singles: 1966.

The Four Tops also recorded the B-side SweeterAs The Days Go By but that stayed in the vault up until their 2005 Lost & Found compilation according to the box set notes. . Marvin Gaye was another who tried Sweeter As The Days Go By, in 1966, and that also stayed hidden until the 1979 British Motown compilation album From The Vaults.

The Northern Soul floor-filler of Do I Love You was actually a bootleg. One of the two copies in the Motown library was taped illegally, speeded up quite a lot (Northern Soul liked fast records) and released as if by ‘Eddie Foster’ (an actual 1967 soul artist).

1979 re-issue TMG 1170

Tamla-Motown then issued the original in Britain in 1979 … note the DJ copy sleeve note below. It appeared on This is Northern Soul and Northern Souk For Connoisseurs. The first American release was 1995.

DJ / Promo copy in picture sleeve, 1979

2015’s Record Store Day brought a facsimile version, with Chris Clark’s 1966 cover version on the reverse. This is the copy in my box of essential 7″ singles.

Then there’s a 2018 copy on the OutaSight label, still available new at £10.99

2018 Outtasight copy as SOUL ESSENTIALS. Left: promo copy. Right: sell-through copy

The same year, Third Man Records did one of their special Motown releases, designed to look like an acetate, so pre-dating the valuable original. They decided it was recorded on November 3rd 1965 (assuming the US date order). Whether they had extra information, I don’t know.

This copy is on sale on line at 179 euros:

This is how Rare Record Guide 2024 rates them, and they ignored that US copy on Soul S-35019:

dateLabel & numbercontentsvalue in mint
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) /
Sweeter As The Days Go By
£100,000 +
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) /
Sweeter As The Days Go By
DJ copy / picture sleeve
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) /
Sweeter As The Days Go By
(£250 – £400 on Discogs)
982 153 0
die cut picture sleeve
Frank Wilson: Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)/
Chris Clark: Do I Love You (Indeed I Do
SEV 001
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) /
Sweeter As The Days Go By
2018Third Man Records
TMR-552 /
Motown B0028208:21
Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) /
Sweeter As The Days Go By
£20 – £50

The record has been used since, once for a KFC advert. It appears in the film Northern Soul (2014). In Ricky Gervais’s Cemetery Junction (2010), when the lads enter the disco, in an important scene three-quarters of the way through, the live band are playing Do I Love You? (Indeed I Do).

Bruce Springsteen put it on Only The Strong Survive in 2022, a great covers album. He recorded forty songs, and kept just fifteen of them. Was he aware that Do I Love You (IndeedI Do) has a connection to Someday (We’ll Be Together), the closing track? The Supremes original was produced by Frank Wilson.

I bought the CD for £10.99. The orange vinyl LP version was £34.99 in HMV because it had three sides. I liked the CD having an inner sleeve, because your fingers get all over a CD trying to extricate it from cardboard packs.

Bruce’s version contains sample of the original:

Bruce then created an instant collectable by issuing a 45 single in a limited edition of 3000 in a kind of lottery. He does it at the same length, but with a larger choir and added strings and brass. There’s a lovely Hammond organ break in the middle too. It’s one of the few Motown covers that equals or exceeds the original.

The Bruce Springsteen version is on YouTube (LINKED HERE):