"Pops, We Love You (A Tribute to Father)" is a 1978 single recorded and released by Motown stars Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson andStevie Wonder, as a tribute to the late Berry "Pops" Gordy, Sr., father of Motown founder Berry Gordy, who had died that year after a long battle with cancer. It was written by the Bee Gees producer, Barry Gibb.
For the duration of Criteria recording studios tenure in its native Miami, Berry Gordy's father, Berry Gordy, Sr., otherwise known as "Pops", was one of the overseers of his son's label and was one of many to guide its many artists, most of which became famous following the release of successful records. Among those who he helped mentor were Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Stevie Wonder. At one point, Gaye was Gordy's son-in-law after he married his daughter Anna.
When Gordy Sr. died that October, a song was composed in tribute to him and a full-length album with songs by other Motown artists was planned. For the title track, Ross, Gaye, Robinson and Wonder were called in to record the song. Ross, Gaye and Robinson recorded the track together in Criteria Studios but Wonder, who was busy at work on a mostly instrumental piece to a soundtrack for the movie, later called Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants, recorded his part separate from the rest of the trio. His voice was later dubbed. Ross and Gaye were sparked from the recording of the song that they agreed to add vocals to another song, the lite funk-laden, socially conscious "I'll Keep My Light in My Window" (written by Leonard Caston, Jr. and Terri McFaddin), marking their first studio duet since the Diana & Marvin sessions of 1972. Unlike the 1972 sessions, Gaye and Ross recorded the duet together.
The song was issued as a single in December 1978, just before the Christmas season. The 7-inch and 12-inch releases of the single had the song's 45rpm shaped around a red heart. The song was a mild hit upon its release reaching as high as number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1979, while reaching number 66 on the UK Singles chart. It fared better on the U.S. R&B charts, peaking at number 26.
The disco version and the single version of the song was placed on the final track listing of the Pops, We Love You album.
- Diana Ross - lead vocals
- Marvin Gaye - lead vocals
- Smokey Robinson - lead vocals
- Stevie Wonder - lead vocals
- Barry Gibb - backing vocals
- Joey Murcia - guitar
- George Terry - guitar
- George Bitzer - keyboards
- Paul Harris - keyboards
- Harold Cowart - bass
- Ron Ziegler - drums
- Joe Lala - percussion
- Herbie Mann - flute
- Albhy Galuten - synthesizer, orchestral arrangement
- Karl Richardson - engineer
- Dennis Hetzendorfer - engineer