"Love Child" is a 1968 number-one hit single released by the Motown label as a single for Diana Ross & the Supremes, although Diana Ross is the only member of the group present on the record. It was the number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for two weeks, from November 24, 1968, to December 7, 1968, and reached number two on the soul chart for three weeks. The song is notable for its then controversial subject matter of illegitimacy. It is also notable for knocking The Beatles' massive "Hey Jude" off the top spot in the United States.
The group, who named themselves The Clan, set to work on a hit single for Diana Ross & the Supremes. Instead of composing another love-based song, the team decided to craft a tune about a woman who is asking her boyfriend not to pressure her into sleeping with him, for fear they would conceive a "love child." The woman, portrayed on the record by Diana Ross, is herself a love child, and, besides not having a father at home, had to endure wearing rags to school and growing up in an "old, cold, run-down tenement slum." The background vocals echo this sentiment, asking the boyfriend to please "wait/wait won't you wait now/hold on/wait/just a little bit longer.
As was often the case with many of the records released under the "Diana Ross & the Supremes" name, Supremes Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong do not appear on the record. Motown session singers The Andantes perform the background vocals, with all lead vocals by Diana Ross, who would leave the group in a year for a solo career.
The resulting track had a decidedly different feel than previous Supremes singles, not only because of its change-of-pace subject matter, but also because of The Clan's production, which gave the melodramatic tale a driving, almost hedonistic rhythm.
Diana Ross and The Supremes premiered the tune on "The Ed Sullivan Show", on Sunday, September 29, 1968. They wore street clothes, minimal make-up and were barefoot while they lip-synched the song. Wilson and Birdsong learned the lyrics just before the show.