Written and produced by Motown's main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, it was the number-one song on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart for two separate weeks: December 13, 1964 to December 18, 1964, and January 10, 1965 to January 16, 1965, and reached the number three position on the soul chart. The group made their first of 17 appearances live on the popular CBSvariety programThe Ed Sullivan Show performing this single on Sunday, December 27, 1964.
The group also recorded a German version of the song, entitled "Johnny und Joe".
The Supremes recorded a German-language version of the song, titled "Jonny Und Joe," which was included in the compilation album "Motown Around the World." In 1965, The Newbeats released a version of the song on their album, Run Baby Run. In 1967, the song was a repeat hit for Motown act Jr. Walker & the All Stars, whose version reached the top 10 on the R&B chart and the top 25 on the pop chart. In 1969 Lloyd Charmers recorded, as Soul Stirrers, an early reggae version on his Tramp label Jamaica. In 1987, Welshrock and roll singer Shakin' Stevens covered the song, making it a hit in the UK and Ireland. Shakin' Stevens version surpassed The Supremes original no. 27 chart placing by reaching no. 24. A minor key version was released by the alternative band The Afghan Whigs in 1992. The song was also covered in 2001 by fellow Detroit singer Freda Payne, whose sister Scherrie Payne became a member of the Supremes in 1973. The song was covered in 2012 in the Glee episode, "Thanksgiving" by Dianna Agron, Naya Rivera, and Heather Morris. American indie rock band Yo La Tengo performed a version of the song in March 2013 for The A.V. Club's A.V. Undercover series.