So, after “Love Child” was an across the board smash for Diana Ross & The
Andantes Supremes, detailing the pleas not to have sex before marriage, because, you know, sex before marriage always leads to pregnancy, just ask Bristol Palin….
….They decided to follow up one soap opera on vinyl with a even grander one, one vaguely (ok, obviously) based on Douglas Sirk’s soapy remake of Imitation of Life (1959)…
Enter “I’m Living In Shame”
We know the story of the movie: fair skinned able to pass daughter disassociates herself from dark mother to make it in the big white world as a self made woman, which breaks moms heart and mom dies of a broken heart. Perfect Melodramtic crap, that got Juanita Moore an Oscar nomination in 1959 for best supporting actress.
Perfect stuff to distill into a 3 minute Pop single for Diana Ross, right?
The pre-chorus of “Mama, can you hear me?” is actual dialogue from the film.
Actually, it was quite fitting.
By 1969 it was clear that Diana Ross was backstabbing her way to the top, so, in a good fit of “vinyl acting” most fans could readily assume that Diana Ross could be such an ingrate of a daughter, even if her and her mother actually had a fairly strong emotional bond from what all eyes could see (if we want to pick on Supremes with mother issues, we should dig through Mary Wilson’s emotional baggage).
The odd sincerity does work at odds with some serious ridiculous lyrics…
….notably: “Came the telegram, Mama Passed away making homemade jam”
Sorry…. but… even 40 years later…. ahahhahahahahahahhahahahhahaha.