About The Song

Background

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” is a song by the legendary American vocal group The Temptations. Released in May 1966 as a single from their album “Gettin’ Ready,” it quickly became one of their most iconic hits. The song was written by the prolific songwriting duo Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland, Jr., both of whom were integral to the success of Motown Records. Whitfield, in particular, played a crucial role in shaping the sound of The Temptations, producing many of their biggest hits.

This song marked a significant moment in The Temptations’ career, as it solidified their transition from smooth, polished ballads to a more gritty, soulful style that came to define their music during the late 1960s. “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” achieved commercial success, peaking at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart. Its energetic rhythm and impassioned vocals made it a favorite among fans and a staple of the group’s live performances.

Musical Style

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” is characterized by its upbeat tempo, driving rhythm, and robust vocal delivery. The song features a powerful lead vocal performance by David Ruffin, whose gritty, emotive voice became a hallmark of The Temptations’ sound during this period. Ruffin’s passionate delivery perfectly matches the song’s theme of desperation and determination.

The instrumental arrangement, orchestrated by Norman Whitfield, includes a prominent horn section, dynamic bass line, and lively drum beats, all of which contribute to the song’s infectious groove. The use of call-and-response vocals between Ruffin and the other group members—Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams—adds a layer of intensity and urgency to the performance. This dynamic interplay is a signature element of The Temptations’ style, showcasing their vocal harmonies and individual talents.

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Lyrics

The lyrics of “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” convey a narrative of heartfelt pleading and persistence in the face of romantic rejection. The narrator is willing to set aside his pride and openly beg for his lover to return, emphasizing the depth of his love and desperation. The opening lines set the tone for the song:

“I know you wanna leave me, but I refuse to let you go / If I have to beg and plead for your sympathy, I don’t mind ’cause you mean that much to me.”

These lines establish the central theme of the song: the narrator’s refusal to give up on his relationship, no matter how undignified his efforts may seem. The chorus reinforces this sentiment with its memorable refrain:

“Ain’t too proud to beg, sweet darlin’ / Please don’t leave me, girl, don’t you go.”

Throughout the song, the lyrics maintain a consistent focus on the narrator’s emotional vulnerability and his willingness to go to great lengths to keep his lover by his side. This raw expression of emotion is a key element of the song’s appeal, resonating with listeners who have experienced similar feelings of desperation and longing.

Cultural Impact

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” had a significant cultural impact upon its release and continues to be celebrated as one of The Temptations’ signature songs. It played a crucial role in establishing the group’s reputation as one of Motown’s leading acts and helped to define the sound of 1960s soul music. The song’s success on the charts and its popularity among fans contributed to The Temptations’ enduring legacy in the music industry.

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The song’s energetic and soulful style influenced many artists and helped to shape the direction of soul and R&B music in the late 1960s and beyond. Its raw emotion and powerful vocal performances set a standard for future generations of musicians, inspiring countless covers and renditions by artists across various genres. Notable covers include those by the Rolling Stones, Rick Astley, and Ben Harper, each bringing their own unique interpretation to the classic track.

In addition to its musical influence, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” has also been featured in numerous films, television shows, and commercials, further cementing its place in popular culture. Its inclusion in the 1991 film “The Commitments” and the 2006 musical “Dreamgirls” introduced the song to new audiences, ensuring its continued relevance and appeal.

Conclusion

“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” stands as a testament to The Temptations’ talent and the enduring appeal of their music. Its blend of passionate vocals, dynamic instrumentation, and heartfelt lyrics makes it a timeless classic that continues to resonate with listeners of all ages. The song’s success and cultural impact underscore the importance of The Temptations in the history of soul and R&B music, highlighting their ability to convey deep emotion through their music.

Through its exploration of themes such as love, desperation, and persistence, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” offers a relatable and powerful message that remains relevant today. The Temptations’ masterful performance and the song’s infectious energy ensure that it will remain a beloved classic for years to come, solidifying its place as one of the defining tracks of the Motown era.

Video

Lyrics

🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤

I know you wanna leave meBut I refuse to let you goIf I have to beg and plead for your sympathyI don’t mind, ’cause you mean that much to me
Ain’t too proud to beg and you know it (sweet darlin’)Please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)Ain’t too proud to plead, baby, babyPlease don’t leave me, girl (don’t you go)
Now I heard a cryin’ manIs half a man, with no sense of prideBut if I have to cry to keep youI don’t mind weepin’ if it’ll keep you by my side
Ain’t too proud to beg, sweet darlin’Please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)Ain’t too proud to plead, baby, babyPlease don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)
If I have to sleep on your doorstepAll night and dayJust to keep you from walkin’ awayLet your friends laugh, even this I can stand‘Cause I wanna keep you, any way I can
Ain’t too proud to beg (sweet darlin’)Please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)Ain’t too proud to plead, baby, babyPlease don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)
Now I’ve gotta love so deep, in the pit of my heartAnd each day it grows more and moreI’m not ashamed to come, and plead to you babyIf pleadin’ keeps you from, walkin’ out that door
Ain’t too proud to beg and you know it (sweet darlin’)Please don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)Ain’t too proud to plead, baby, babyPlease don’t leave me girl (don’t you go)Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby (sweet darling’)

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