Pop Archives

Gene Pierson - Reach Out (1970)

(Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland)
Australia Australia
#12 Sydney

Creative, psychedelic version of the Motown classic, single on Festival by Gene Pierson, real name Giancarlo Salvestrin.

Gene Pierson was an Australian who moved to New Zealand in 1965 to avoid military conscription in Australia.

In Sydney he had been in The Inturns, who recorded one unreleased single with Nat Kipner, and he had begun a promising solo career, but In New Zealand, under his new stage name, he built a successful career as a pop singer and released a handful of singles, one of which went to #1 at pirate station Radio Hauraki.

After returning to Sydney in 1969 for his father's funeral, Pierson/Salvestrin took his New Zealand records to Festival. He recorded briefly with Pat Aulton at Festival, but it was I'll Be There that charted, produced by Richard Batchens with backing by Simple Image with vocalist Barry Leaf.

After working in TV (Channel 7), journalism (Go-Set) and PR (Sydney Bistros), Gene Pierson went into the business side of music, and later formed the labels Laser and Big Mouth.

References, further reading:
1. Most of the above is precised from Glenn A. Baker's detailed and colourful liner notes to Gene Pierson's retrospective CD Spinning The Moments. Read them online at GenePierson.com.au, along with numerous clippings and graphics. Not to be missed!
2. The Gene Pierson biography at Bruce Sergent's site tells the New Zealand segment of the story.

Suggested by Terry Stacey & Mike Robbins.

The Four Tops - Reach Out I’ll Be There (1966)

(Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland)
Original version
#1 USA #1 UK #24 Melbourne #34 Brisbane #11 Brisbane

Single on Motown YouTube, one of two #1s by The Four Tops in the 60s, along with I Can't Help Myself (1965).

Motown stalwarts The Four Tops, with lead singer Levi Stubbs, had been around since 1953, working the clubs, touring with Billy Eckstine, and recording for Columbia and Riverside. They were signed by Motown's Berry Gordy in 1964 and charted #11 with Baby I Need Your Loving, the first of over twenty US Top 40 singles 1964-1963, many written by Holland-Dozier-Holland.

Gloria Gaynor - Reach Out I’ll Be There (1975)

(Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland)
Later version
#60 USA #14 UK #41 Sydney #25 Melbourne #16 Brisbane #32 Adelaide #21 NZ

Single on MGM by disco star (b.1943) whose first hit was Never Can Say Goodbye (1974, #9 USA) but is better known for I Will Survive (1979, #1 USA). YouTube

Further reading: Gloria Gaynor biography by Andy Kellman at All Music.