Freda Payne

Band of Gold

Song Review by

Far and away the biggest hit of Freda Payne's career, "Band of Gold" was also one of the biggest successes for the legendary Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team following their departure from Motown. It's easy to miss the song's real meaning if you're not listening closely, because on the surface, "Band of Gold" is filled with the typical emotions of a heartbreak song: sadness, longing, abandonment, a little betrayal. But reading between the lines, the source of those feelings is very different: the song is really the tale of a woman's disappointment on her wedding night, when her new husband is unable to perform and leaves her to sleep alone. You only get this from one key line -- "Hoping soon/That you'll walk back through that door/And love me like you tried before" -- but it's unmistakable. Payne's vocal is powerful but full of yearning vulnerability, painting her as much more disappointed than angry. Yet clearly, this is also a woman who wants sexual satisfaction, who likely wasn't content to say "It's OK, it happens to everyone" -- who is, in short, really, really bummed out ("I wait in the darkness of my lonely room/Filled with sadness, filled with gloom"). This acknowledgment of a woman's sexual appetite is still in the context of the bonds of holy wedlock, and it hardly draws attention to itself. Nonetheless, "Band of Gold" signals a loosening of sexual mores that was taking root in society and would filter into pop music more and more in the coming decade. Even apart from its social significance, "Band of Gold" is a musical powerhouse, boasting a compulsively listenable hook, a great walking Motown-style bassline, a sitar-like guitar effect, and a deceptively detailed arrangement (all the backing vocalists just melt into the rest of the track to the point where they're barely noticeable). The song went to number three on the pop charts in 1970, notching Payne her only Top Ten hit, and went all the way to number one in the U.K.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Band of Gold 1970 ZYX Music 2:53
Greatest Hits 1991 Fantasy 2:55
Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, Vol. 2 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
Super Bad 1991
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 0:00
All Woman, Vol. 1 1992
Various Artists
Time Music 4:06
Missing You: 10 Original Oldie Love Songs 1992
Various Artists
Laurie
Rhythm & Blues: 1970 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music
Sounds of the Seventies: Seventies Top Forty 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:54
63 Hits from the Sensational Seventies 1993
Various Artists
Fat Records
Grand Strand Gold [1998] 1994
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:54
Gay Happening, Vol. 2 1994
Various Artists
Dance Street 4:12
Hits from the 70's [Fat Boy] 1995
Various Artists
Fat Boy 4:08
Sweet Soul Music [K-Tel] 1995
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 3:20
Now & Then [Original Soundtrack] 1995
Original Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:53
Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind! Vols. 1-5 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 2:57
Soul Classics, Vol. 1 [Intercontinental] 1996
Various Artists
ITC Masters / Intercontinental Records 3:05
Gay Anthems 1996
Various Artists
Almighty Records 5:48
Disco Fever: 18 Disco Stompin' Greats 1996
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:07
Hit Songs from the 70's [Prime Cuts] 1997
Various Artists
St. Clair / Prime Cuts 3:02
Global Rock, Vol. 1: From London to L.A. 1997
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
The Seventies Generation: 1970 1997
Various Artists
St. Clair / Retro Records 3:08
Blues Brother Soul Sister [Time Music] 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Heart & Soul 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
The Best of Motorcity Records, Vol. 17 1997
Various Artists
Hot Productions
Global Rock, Vol. 1-3: From London to L.A. 1997
Various Artists
Columbia River Entertainment Group
Essential Hits Collection 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
Greatest Love [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:52
Shag Spectacular, Vol. 2 1998
Various Artists
Orion 4:08
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Band of Gold/Contact 1998 Sequel
Seventies Collection 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
Detroit: Motor City Frenzy 1998
Various Artists
Hot Productions 3:27
60's Generation 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
60's Girl Power 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:54
Sisters of Soul [Excelsior] 1998
Various Artists
Excelsior Recordings 3:05
Seventies Generation: 1970-1971 1999
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:08
Sisters of Soul [Crimson] 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
The In Crowd [Crimson] 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:53
HDH Solid Gold, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Holland / Fantasy 2:55
Sophisticated Soul 1999
Various Artists
Mars Entertainment / Mars 2:55
Invictus Chartbusters 1999
Various Artists
Sequel 2:55
Lost in Love 2000 Universal Special Products 2:55
Soul Train: The Dance Years 1970 2000
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
1970 [Direct Source] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Best of the 70's: Hits of 1970 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Rock Culture 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:07
Fine Tuning 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Women in Rock: Changing Times 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
The Seventies Generation: A Decade of Fun 2000
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:08
Sisters of Soul [Direct Source] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Best of the Seventies 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Hot Rod Rock 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
The Best of the 70's, Vol. 1 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Women in Rock [Direct Source #2] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Best of the 70's [Direct Source 6 CD Box] 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Band of Gold: The Best of Freda Payne 2000 Music Club Records 2:53
Solid Gold Soul [Castle] 2000
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:55
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 2:54
World of Disco 2001
Various Artists
ZYX / ZYX Music 4:08
70's Generation [Direct Source] 2001
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:05
Capital Gold Legends 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:54
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1970-1974 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 2:55
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:56
Unhooked Generation: The Complete Invictus Recordings 2001 Castle Music Ltd. 3:42
The Blues & Soul, Vol. 2: 1970-1971 2002
Various Artists
Connoisseur 2:53
Soul Spectacular! The Greatest Soul Hits of All Time 2002
Various Artists
Rhino 2:55
Sounds of the Seventies [Castle] 2002
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:52
Disco Divas: Birth of Girl Power 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:06
The Seventies: A Decade to Remember [K-Tel] 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:06
Then: Totally Oldies, Vol. 4 2002
Various Artists
Varèse Sarabande / Varese 2:50
Classic Soul Hits! [Direct Source 2003] 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:06
Driving Rock [Box Set] 2003
Various Artists
Direct Source Special 3:06
Disco Inferno [K-Tel] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:07
Rock N Roll Reunion 1970 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:04
All Your Disco Favorites 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 4:06
Bubblegum Soul 2003
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd. 2:55
WCBS FM: Motown, Soul and Rock N Roll: Motown 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 2:55
Simply the Best Platinum Soul 2003
Various Artists
WEA International 2:55
Almighty 1's: 30 Pop'd Up No. 1 Hits 2003
Various Artists
Almighty Records 4:41
Pop Divas [Goldies Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Goldies 0:00
Dynomite Dolls of the 70's 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:02
Gold Collection: Golden Oldies 2004
Various Artists
St. Clair 3:04
Hits of the 70's [Madacy Box] 2004
Various Artists
Madacy 3:05
This Is the Modern World [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal International 2:54
Ocean Boulevard 2004
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:52
Death Disco LTD: The Club Soundtrack 2004
Various Artists
Discotheque 2:51
Leaders of the Pack: The Very Best of the 60's Girls [Universal] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 2:53
Ocean Boulevard, Vol. 3: The Capitol-EMI Masters 2005
Various Artists
Ripete Records 2:52
Soul 2 Soul 2005
Various Artists
Direct Source 3:04
Invictus' Greatest Hits/Hot Wax Greatest Hits 2009
Various Artists
Edsel 2:57
Mod Mania 2010
Various Artists
Universal Distribution 2:53
100 Hits: Pop Essentials
Various Artists
DMG TV 2:53
100 Hits: The Best Seventies Album
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 2:53
70s U.S. Playlist
Various Artists
Crimson 2:54
Greatest Ever! Mod
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:54
Mum Songs
Various Artists
Crimson 2:53
The Ultimate Collection: Number 1s
Various Artists
Union Square Music 2:53