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I Hear a Symphony

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"I Hear a Symphony"
side-A label
Side A of the Canadian single
Single by the Supremes
from the album I Hear a Symphony
B-side"Who Could Ever Doubt My Love"
ReleasedOctober 6, 1965
RecordedSeptember 22, 28–30, 1965
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A)
GenrePop, R&B
M 1083
The Supremes singles chronology
"Nothing but Heartaches"
"I Hear a Symphony"
"My World Is Empty Without You"

"I Hear a Symphony" is a 1965 song recorded by the Supremes for the Motown label.

Written and produced by Motown's main production team, Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song became their sixth number-one pop hit on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart in the United States for two weeks from November 14, 1965, through November 27, 1965.[1][2] On the UK singles chart, the single peaked at number thirty-nine.



The Supremes enjoyed a run of hits through 1964 and 1965 under the guidance of writer/producers Holland–Dozier–Holland. In mid-1965, the producers came to realize they had fallen into a rut when the Supremes' "Nothing but Heartaches" failed to make it to the Top Ten, missing it by just one position and breaking the string of number-one Supremes hits initiated with "Where Did Our Love Go." Motown chief Berry Gordy was displeased with the performance of "Nothing but Heartaches," and circulated a memo around the Motown offices that read as follows:

We will release nothing less than Top Ten product on any artist; and because the Supremes' world-wide acceptance is greater than the other artists, on them we will only release number-one records.

Holland-Dozier-Holland therefore set about breaking their formula and trying something new. The result was "I Hear a Symphony," a song with a more complex musical structure than previous Supremes releases. "Symphony" was released as a single in place of another Holland-Dozier-Holland Supremes song, "Mother Dear", which had been recorded in the same style as their earlier hits.

In a 1968 interview,[3] Diana Ross said that this was one of her favorite songs to perform, even though its key register posed some challenges.[4]

Billboard called the song a "blockbuster" as well as a "well-written rhythm ballad with pulsating beat and top vocal work."[5] Cash Box described it as a "rhythmic, medium-paced romancer about a lucky gal who’s head-over-heels in love with the special guy of her dreams."[6] Record World said that "The Supremes will hear a symphony of coin for 'I Hear a Symphony.'"[7]

"I Hear a Symphony", later issued on an album of the same name, became the Supremes' sixth number-one hit in the United States. After the number-five hit "My World Is Empty Without You" and the number-nine hit "Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart," the Supremes began a run of four more number-one hits: "You Can't Hurry Love," "You Keep Me Hangin' On," "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone," and "The Happening." The group performed the hit song on The Mike Douglas Show on November 3, 1965.[8]




Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States 1,000,000[23][24][25]
Worldwide 2,000,000[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 77, no. 47. Nielsen Company. 1965. p. 22. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. Vol. 77, no. 48. Nielsen Company. 1965. p. 20. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  3. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "O-S interview index" (audio). Pop Chronicles. University of North Texas Libraries.
  4. ^ Diana Ross interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  5. ^ "Spotlight Singles" (PDF). Billboard. October 23, 1965. p. 16. Retrieved 2021-03-09.
  6. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. October 23, 1965. p. 14. Retrieved 2022-01-12.
  7. ^ "Single Picks of the Week" (PDF). Record World. October 23, 1965. p. 1. Retrieved 2023-07-19.
  8. ^ Guest co-host: Zsa Zsa Gabor (3 November 1965). "November 3, 1965". The Mike Douglas Show. Season 4. Episode 43. Cleveland. CBS. KYW-TV.
  9. ^ Liner notes. The Complete Motown Singles Vol. 5: 1965, Hip-O Select – B0006775-02, USA, 04 Aug 2006
  10. ^ "Every Unique AMR Top 100 Single of the 1965". Top 100 Singles. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  11. ^ "Billboard HITS OF THE WORLD". Billboard. 4 December 1965. p. 30.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5581." RPM. Library and Archives Canada.
  13. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Supremes The" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  14. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search lever". Flavour of New Zealand.
  15. ^ "Supremes: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  16. ^ "The Supremes Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  17. ^ "The Supremes Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard.
  18. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Cashbox. November 1, 1965. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  19. ^ "The CASH BOX Top 50 In R&B Locations". Cashbox. November 27, 1965. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  20. ^ "100 TOP POPS: Week of November 27, 1965" (PDF). Record World. worldradiohistory.com. November 27, 1965. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  21. ^ "TOP 40 R&B: Week of December 11, 1965" (PDF). Record World. worldradiohistory.com. December 11, 1965. p. 20. Retrieved 29 January 2021.
  22. ^ "The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1966". Cashbox. Retrieved 31 December 2020.
  23. ^ Joseph Murrells (1984). Million Selling Records from the 1900s to the 1980s: An Illustrated Directory. B.T. Batsford. p. 215. ISBN 9780713438437. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  24. ^ Barry Lazell, ed. (1989). Rock Movers & Shakers. Billboard Publications, Incorporated. p. 495. ISBN 9780874366617. Retrieved 23 January 2020.
  25. ^ UNKNOWN MILLIONAIRES continued. Vol. 35. Johnson Publishing Company. April 1980. p. 136. ISSN 0012-9011. Retrieved 24 January 2020. {{cite book}}: |work= ignored (help)
  26. ^ Joseph Murrells (1984). Million Selling Records from the 1900s to the 1980s: An Illustrated Directory. London: B.T. Batsford. p. 215. ISBN 0-7134-3843-6.

External links[edit]