Bring it Back: Dawn Penn No, No, No (You Don't Love Me) Image

by Biko Kennedy

A classic tale of a song that can never die, Dawn Penn's version of 'You Don't Love Me' has transcended four decades of continued spins with her most recent performance on the BET Awards on Sunday, June 30th causing an increased interest in this once number one cushion.

A single based on Bo Diddley's 1950's blues classic You Don't Love Me (You Don't Care) which was later popularized by Willie Cobb's version in the 1960's, Dawn Penn first recorded her version in 1966 for Studio One's ace producer Clement 'Coxson' Dodd.

"During the original recording at Studio One with Jackie Mittoo and Tommy McCook and the Skatalites, there was an error in the chord/progression and instead of doing it all over, they finalised the recording," Penn reminisced with the Jamaica Observer. "I re-recorded the song again in 1968."

After a hiatus from the music industry in the 1970's, Penn appeared on the Studio One anniversary show where she performed You Don't Love Me much to the delight of the audience with the Steely & Clevie revamped version. She returned to the studio to record the new version for the tribute album Steely & Clevie Play Studio One Vintage released on the American independent company Heartbeat Records.

Adapted as a lead single for her album No, No, No, Big Beat/Atlantic Records saw the song climb the charts in Europe and the United States truly making it a career-defining period.

"My musical career didn't start until 1994. I would say the highlight was when I got signed to Atlantic and when I got nominated for a Grammy.

"I [remember singing] as Suzette because when I was studying French at St Hugh's High School, I was told that Suzette was French for Dawn. When I entered the pop section of the Jamaica Festival competition, Tyrone Evans of the Paragons told me that I should sing as Connie McGann because Dawn Penn didn't sound professional," she explained to the Jamaica Observer.

Here's a mix featuring Dawn Penn, Bounty Killer, Dennis Brown and Ken Boothe;

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