About The Song

Background

“Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” is a song by The Temptations, released in 1966 as a single from their album “The Temptations Wish It Would Rain.” The song was written by Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr., who were prolific songwriters and producers at Motown Records. Known for their ability to blend soulful melodies with meaningful lyrics, Whitfield and Holland crafted “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” as a reflection on the superficial nature of physical beauty versus inner qualities.

The song marked a continuation of The Temptations’ evolution towards more socially conscious themes, following earlier hits like “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” It became a successful single for the group, reaching number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 1 on the Billboard R&B Singles chart.

Musical Style

“Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” features a mid-tempo groove with a lush, orchestral arrangement typical of many Motown productions of the era. The song opens with a memorable string intro, setting a romantic and introspective tone. The instrumental backing includes soulful guitar riffs, a steady rhythm section, and melodic horns that complement the smooth vocal harmonies of The Temptations.

The vocal performance, led by David Ruffin, showcases his emotive delivery and ability to convey sincerity and depth. The harmonies provided by Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, Melvin Franklin, and Otis Williams add richness and texture to the song, enhancing its emotional impact. The production by Norman Whitfield is polished yet retains a warmth and authenticity that resonates with listeners.

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Lyrics

The lyrics of “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” explore the theme of inner beauty and the superficiality of judging others solely based on physical appearance. The song challenges the notion that external beauty defines a person’s worth, emphasizing the importance of character and integrity. The opening lines set the stage for this message:

“So in love, sad as could be / ‘Cause a pretty face got the best of me.”

These lines convey the narrator’s initial attraction to physical beauty, which ultimately proves to be superficial. The chorus reinforces the song’s central theme:

“Beauty’s only skin deep, yeah yeah yeah / Beauty’s only skin deep, ooo ooo ooo.”

Throughout the song, the lyrics highlight the contrast between outer beauty and inner qualities such as kindness, loyalty, and honesty. The narrator learns the valuable lesson that true love and lasting relationships are built on a deeper connection beyond surface appearances.

Cultural Impact

“Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” resonated with audiences during the 1960s and continues to be celebrated as a classic example of The Temptations’ ability to blend soulful melodies with meaningful social commentary. The song’s success on the charts underscored its popularity and relevance, solidifying The Temptations’ reputation as one of Motown’s premier acts.

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Beyond its commercial success, “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” contributed to discussions about beauty standards and self-worth. Its message of looking beyond physical appearances to appreciate inner qualities resonated with listeners of all ages, making it a timeless anthem for self-acceptance and understanding.

Conclusion

“Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” remains a poignant reflection on the nature of beauty and its deeper significance. The Temptations’ soulful rendition, coupled with Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr.’s insightful lyrics, created a song that transcends its time, offering a timeless message about the importance of inner qualities over superficial appearances.

Through its musicality and lyrical depth, “Beauty Is Only Skin Deep” continues to inspire listeners and provoke thought about societal attitudes towards beauty. The Temptations’ enduring legacy as pioneers of soul and R&B music is exemplified in this song, which stands as a testament to their ability to address universal themes with grace, authenticity, and musical innovation.

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Lyrics

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So in love, sad as could be‘Cause a pretty face got the best of meSuddenly, you came into my lifeAnd gave it meaning and pure delightNow, good looks, I’ve learned to do without‘Cause now I know it’s love that really counts
‘Cause I know that(Beauty’s only skin deep, yeah, yeah, yeah)I know that(Beauty’s only skin deep, oh yeah) yes indeed
Now you speak your words warm and sincereAnd let’s me know that your love is nearA pretty face you may not possessBut what I like about you is your tendernessA pretty face maybe some guys tasteBut I’ll take lovin’ in it’s place
‘Cause I know that(Beauty’s only skin deep, yeah, yeah, yeah)And you know that(Beauty’s only skin deep, oh yeah) oh baby, oh yeah(Oh yeah, oh yeah)
Ooo(Beauty’s only skin deep, oh yeah)
My friends ask, what do I see in youBut it goes deeper than the eye can viewYou have a pleasin’ personalityAnd that’s an ever lovin’ rare qualityNow show me a girl, a girl that’s fineAnd I’ll choose the one with true lovin’ every time
I know that(Beauty’s only skin deep, yeah, yeah, yeah)And I believe that(Beauty’s only skin deep, oh yeah)
So if you’re lookin’ for a lover (oh yeah)Don’t judge a book by it’s cover (oh yeah)She may be fine on the outside (oh yeah)But so untrue on the inside (oh yeah)Ooo

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