The Marvelettes Don’t Mess With Bill

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The Marvelettes Don’t Mess With Bill

The Marvelettes Don't Mess With Bill

Motown

The song “Don’t Mess with Bill” was written and produced by Smokey Robinson. The message is really clear: Stay away from her man. Bill, that is. (The Bill in the song, Smokey claims, does not refer to himself, as his real name is William Robinson, Jr. It was just a name that fit that lyrics.) The Marvelettes recorded it in 1965 for Motown Records’ Tamla Label. It was released as a single at the end of 1965, backed with “Anything You Wanna Do.” By February of 1966, it had risen to #7 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and #3 on the R&B Singles Chart. It sold more than one million copies and was awarded an RIAA gold record. It’s a classic of that Sixties Motown sound.

The Marvelettes had personnel changes over the years, but for this song, the group included Wanda Young on lead vocals, with Gladys Horton, Katherine Anderson, and The Andantes (Jackie HIcks, Marlene Barrow, and Louvain Demps) on backing vocals. Instrumentation was provided by the fabulous Motown session musicians The Funk Brothers. The Marvelettes were school mates from Inkster, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. They had hits with “Playboy” and “Please Mr. Postman.”

Here are the lyrics to “Don’t Mess with Bill” by The Marvelettes:

“Don’t mess with Bill
Don’t mess with Bill
(Don’t mess with Bill) Say it one more time!
(Don’t mess with Bill)

Now I know he’s a guy who put tears in my eyes
A thousand times or more
Oh but every time he would apologize
I loved him more than before

Hear what I say, girls keep away, ah ah ah
Don’t mess with Bill
(No no no no, Don’t mess with Bill) Leave my Billy alone

(Don’t mess with Bill) Get a guy of your own
(Don’t mess with Bill)

Now there’s Johnny, there’s Joe and there’s Frank and Jim
Just to name a few
Now, Bill’s got me and I’ve got him I’m sure there’s one for you

Hear what I say, girls keep away, ah ah ah
Don’t mess with Bill
(No no no no, Don’t mess with Bill) He’s mine all mine
(Don’t mess with Bill) I say it one more time
(Don’t mess with Bill)

Though I tell myself he wants no one else B
ut keeps coming back to me
Now I’m in no decision to want competition
I want to be sure as can be

Hear what I say, girls keep away, ah ah ah
Don’t mess with Bill
(No no no no, Don’t mess with Bill) Leave my Billy alone
(Don’t mess with Bill) Get a guy of your own
(Don’t mess with Bill) Cause he’s mine all mine
(Don’t mess with Bill) I say it one more time
(Don’t mess with Bill) Hey yeah yeah yeah
(Don’t mess with Bill) Hey yeah yeah yeah
(Don’t mess with Bill) Leave my man alone
(Don’t mess with Bill) Get a guy of your own”

If you are interested in reading about and listening to another song by The Marvelettes, please click here for “Please, Mr. Postman,” which is on Pass the Paisley‘s sister site The Daily Doo Wop.

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to┬áchill out and listen to the featured song on the┬ástereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ free online songs there. Listen free! The TV has several channels, with selections updated twice a week. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “Don’t Mess with Bill” by The Marvelettes.

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