“You Can’t Hurry Love” by The Supremes
Despite The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” utilizing some versatile wording, the sentiments expressed are uniform throughout. And they are respectively relayed by two different characters, the singer’s and her mother.
The singer’s main characteristic is her desire to score a serious boyfriend. In fact if she doesn’t achieve this goal, her mind cannot be at rest.
Apparently she has frolicked in the field of romance before, only to come out each time brokenhearted. But as alluded to earlier, she’s the type who can’t focus without love. True love serves as her support system, so to speak. And she is growing ever-impatient with being devoid of such. Indeed at times she is tempted to just throw in the towel. But then she remembers the advice of her mother, which serves as the chorus and title of this song.
And said advice centers on the notion that true love isn’t something that can be rushed. And the overall implication isn’t that mom dukes is telling her to wait for the right man per se. Rather she is letting her know that there are certain criteria to true love which the narrator must be prepared to practice. For instance, she has to be ready to give as well as take.
Also trust is an important component, and it takes time to develop such. In fact it’s so important that it must be developed “no matter how long it takes”. And ultimately it is this counsel which keeps the singer optimistic that true love is forthcoming, despite its delay in materializing.
Who Wrote “You Can’t Hurry Love”?
This song was written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland (Brain Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland). This trio of composers literally defined the Motown sound during the label’s heyday of the 1960s’. And yes, this song is a product of Motown Records.
This track was inspired by a gospel entitled “(You Can’t Hurry God) He’s Right on Time” from the 1950s, as relayed by a singer named Dorothy Love Coates (1928-2002). Additionally, according to Lamont Dozier, the actual sound of the track was influenced by an earlier Supremes’ tune entitled “Where Did Our Love Go” (1964), which Holland-Dozier-Holland also put together.
Meanwhile the bassline, which some consider to be the most-prominent part of the song, was put together by James Jamerson (1936-1983). Jamerson was a member of a crew called The Funk Brothers who worked on the entirety of The Supremes “A’ Go-Go”, the album this song is derived from.
And the late Jamerson performing in such an impressive manner was no anomaly, as he was ranked ‘the Greatest Bassist of All Time’ by Rolling Stone in 2020.
Release Date of “You Can’t Hurry Love”
The official release date of this track was on the same date as the aforementioned album, 25 August 1966. And “You Can’t Hurry Love” also served as the second single from that project.
On the B-side of this track was the song “Put Yourself in My Place”, a tune which proved to be a notable hit for The Isley Brothers also during 1966.
A Mega Hit Song
“You Can’t Hurry Love” marks one of the dozen times The Supremes topped the Billboard Hot 100. It also reached the pinnacle of Billboard’s R&B chart. In addition to that, it enjoyed a similar success on the Cashbox Top 100 and Cashbox R&B listings, as well as the Record World 100 Top Pops and Records World Top 50 R&B charts.
And outside of the US, it also scored a number one on Canada’s Billboard chart and a number three in England (the UK Singles Chart).
Additionally, this hit has earned a place on the distinguished “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” list, which has been compiled by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
And in recognition of this track as a signature song in The Supremes’ impressive catalog, a 21st century musical has been put together. The said musical goes by the titled “You Can’t Hurry Love: The Music of Diana Ross and the Supremes”.
Meanwhile The Supremes and co. were able to record this hit in only two sessions.
The three members of The Supremes at the time this song was recorded were Diana Ross, Mary Wilson (1944-2021) and Florence Ballard (1943-1976). And just to note, the late Mary Wilson was the only member to remain in the group from start (1959) to finish (1977).
This song has been covered by a few big-name artists, such as Whoopi Goldberg (1986), The Dixie Chicks (1999), Bette Midler (2014) and Boyzone (2014). However, the most-successful cover of the 20th century was that of none other than Phil Collins, who dropped his own version of this classic in 1982.
Said rendition topped the UK Singles Chart in addition to scoring a number one in a few other countries. This also marked Collins’ first number one in the UK as a soloist. And he said that the goal was to create “a remake, not an interpretation” of the original, as well as intending the cover to be “a tribute to Motown”.
It has been pointed out by some concerned observers that the versions of “You Can’t Hurry Love” you likely have access to via iTunes are stereo mixes. Meanwhile the true original, in lieu of the technology of the day, was mixed in mono and recorded with such in mind by the musicians involved. So the implication is that the original mono version is better than the stereo ones.