Use Ta Be My Girl – The O’Jays | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#4) & R&B (#1 for 5 weeks); 1978

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

After 10 years as a group, the O’Jays had only one Top 10 R&B single to show for their efforts – 1967’s I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today) – and the future wasn’t looking any brighter.

Fortunately the Intruders, who were riding high with Cowboys To Girls, urged their label heads, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, to check out the Ohio group. Impressed, they signed the O’Jays first to Neptune and then Philadelphia International Records.

The chemistry clicked and in 1973 the O’Jays were on the map with Back Stabbers, the first of 10 R&B #1’s. Other “message” songs followed: Love Train, For The Love Of Money, and Give The People What They Want.

By 1976, the group was anxious to get back to romance. The R&B #1 Darlin’, Darlin’ Baby (Sweet, Tender, Love) fit the bill as did Use Ta Be My Girl. Inspired by the retro doo-wop sound of Otis Day & The Knights from Animal House, Girl gave the O’Jays their biggest-ever hit.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2024 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • Kenny Gamble
  • Leon Huff

Lyrics Written by:

  • Kenny Gamble
  • Leon Huff