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‘You Can’t Hurry Love’: The Supremes Race Towards Chart Immortality

The 1966 smash had the working title ‘This Is Where I Came In,’ before Holland-Dozier-Holland found the lyric they wanted.

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Supremes 'You Can’t Hurry Love' artwork - Courtesy: UMG
Supremes 'You Can’t Hurry Love' artwork - Courtesy: UMG

The peerless Supremes racked up a remarkable tally of 12 No.1 American pop singles in just five years and four months, between 1964 and 1969. On September 10, 1966, they moved into the second half of that run, which saw the trio hurry towards chart immortality with “You Can’t Hurry Love.”

You Can't Hurry Love

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The trio’s first six pop chart-toppers had, incredibly, all arrived within the space of 15 months, from “Stop! In The Name Of Love” in August 1964 to “I Hear A Symphony” in November 1965. When the group returned to singles action the next year, “My World Is Empty Without You” reached “only” No.5 and “Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart” No.9. But as their next release, “You Can’t Hurry Love” was in a hurry, taking just five weeks to race 66-28-7-4-1.

No.2 won’t do

By this time, Berry Gordy’s expectations for Motown were almost ruthlessly high. As recalled in Volume 6 of the Complete Motown Singles series, in early July, 1966 he sent a memo to his staff that read: “We will release nothing less than Top 10 product on any artist. And because the Supremes’ worldwide acceptance is greater than the other artists, on them we will release only No.1 records.”

Listen to the Best Motown Songs Ever playlist.

The Holland-Dozier-Holland composition had the working title “This Is Where I Came In,” before they landed on the lyric they wanted. Taken from the album The Supremes A’ Go-Go, it was a hands-down commercial winner from the get-go. The single started its two-week run atop the Hot 100 this week in 1966 and spent a fortnight as the R&B chart No.1 as well.

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It goes without saying that the most famous remake of “You Can’t Hurry Love” is Phil Collins’ No.1 interpretation from 1982, but like so many other Motown copyrights, it was also covered from within, so to speak. The Jackson 5 recorded the tune, which among many other remakes, was also done by Bette Midler on her It’s The Girls album in 2014.

Buy or stream “You Can’t Hurry Love” on The Supremes A’ Go-Go.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jaden Paul

    September 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    The Supremes hit Number 1 in August 1964 with Where Did Our Love Go…Stop! in The Name Of Love was early 1965–their fourth of five in a row…

  2. R. Mark Desjardins

    July 25, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    How well I remember that July day back in 1966. I was 15 years old and my family was visiting family members in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, not far from Windsor, across from Detroit. I was in a shopping mall store and as I walked by the Music Department, heard “You Can’t Hurry Love” blasting from a speaker. Stopping dead in my tracks, I immediately knew who was singing and purchased a copy of this 45 rpm on the distinctive Tamla/Motown Canadian label. I still have that original single and what a flood of fond memories this feature story has brought back!

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