Saturday, May 8, 2021

The Supremes Made History When This Album Hit No. 1 on Oct. 22, 1966 [EUR Video Throwback]

supremes
The Supremes: Mary Wilson, Diana Ross and Florence Ballard

*Fifty-four years ago today, The Supremes made history as the first girl group to score a No. 1 album in the United States.

Their ninth studio LP, “The Supremes A’ Go-Go, was released by Motown on August 25, 1966 with two tracks that hit the Top 10 on the Hot 100 chart.

Supremes-a-go-go

The first was the No. 9 hit “Love is Like an Itching in My Heart.” written and produced by Motown’s main production team of Holland–Dozier–Holland, and featuring instrumentation by The Funk Brothers. With Diana Ross on lead and background vocals from Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, the song was one of their few that did not reach No. 1.

Released in April 1996, the track about being “bitten by the love bug” and not being able to scratch the itch peaked at No. 9 for one week in May of 1966.

The second release from “The Supremes A’ Go-Go,” on July 25, 1966, was the No. 1 classic “You Can’t Hurry Love,” also written and produced by Motown’s house writers Holland–Dozier–Holland.

According to AllMusic, “You Can’t Hurry Love” was based on the 1950s gospel tune “(You Can’t Hurry God) He’s Right on Time,” written by Dorothy Love Coates of The Original Gospel Harmonettes. Her lyrics included: “You can’t hurry God/you just have to wait/Trust and give him time/no matter how long it takes.”

Songwriter Lamont Dozier said, according to Songfacts.com, “We were trying to reconstruct ‘Come See About Me’ and somehow it turned into ‘You Can’t Hurry Love.’ It was basically a gospel feel we were after.”

The song is housed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s permanent collection of 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. It was such a huge hit that Motown head Berry Gordy had The Supremes cut an Italian version, “L’amore verrà” (“Love Will Come”).

On the strength of its two hit singles, “The Supremes A’ Go-Go” unseated the Beatles album “Revolver” at No. 1 on Oct. 22, 1966, and stayed on the Billboard album chart for 60 weeks, selling more than 3,500,000 copies worldwide. One million of those sales were in the U.S.

Watch a 1966 interview with The Supremes below.

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