Love Takes Time
|"Love Takes Time"|
U.S. commercial cassette single
|Single by Mariah Carey|
|from the album Mariah Carey|
|Released||September 11, 1990|
|Mariah Carey singles chronology|
"Love Takes Time" is a song recorded by Mariah Carey. It was written by Carey and Ben Margulies, and was produced by Walter Afanasieff for Carey's debut album, Mariah Carey (1990). It was released as the album's second single on September 11, 1990 through CBS Records. It was the first of several adult contemporary-influenced Carey ballads to be released as a single, and its protagonist laments the loss of a lover and confesses that "love takes time" to heal and that their feelings for their ex-lover remain.
Carey quickly recorded the song at the very last minute prior to when her debut album was already "completed" and being processed for release. She played the "Love Takes Time" demo to CBS Records former CEO Don Ienner while on an airplane, very impressed with the song however Ienner and other officials were slightly reluctant to include the recording on her upcoming album because it was already going through final stages of completion, eventually the song made the cut to the album because Carey successfully protested. Famously, "Love Takes Time" is not seen on track lists of early pressings of her 1990 debut album but is heard on the album, her debut album track-lists containing "Love Takes Time" is later seen on re-issues of the album released by Sony.
"Love Takes Time" was well received by critics and went to become another success very similar to her debut single "Vision of Love" in the United States and Canada, it became her second number-one single in the United States on its ninth week, attaining the position for three weeks. However, it failed to match the foreign success of "Vision of Love", this time charting weakly in Europe, Australia and the United Kingdom. A music video was provided for the song, filmed in black and white at a beach. "Love Takes Time" has been included on Carey's compilation album Greatest Hits (2001), as well as her 2015 compilation album Number 1 To Infinity, among others. "Love Takes Time" was heavily promoted in the U.S., being performed live on shows such as The Arsenio Hall Show, Mariah's Thanksgiving NBC Special and The Des O'Connor Show. She performed the song live at various locations such as, MTV Unplugged in 1992, the Music Box Tour, and recently her Number 1's tour in Las Vegas.
In 1988, an 18-year-old Mariah Carey moved out from her mother's house in Long Island and into an apartment in Manhattan. She had composed a four-track demo tape with her writing partner Ben Margulies while she was attending high school. As 1988 progressed, Carey struggled to impress record executives with the tape and had failed in securing a record deal. She worked several jobs, including as a waitress and coat-checker, in order to pay for studio sessions with Margulies to make changes to the demo. After several months, Carey befriended singer Brenda K. Starr, and soon became one of her back-up vocalists. During recording sessions and rehearsals, Starr began to notices "glimpses" of Carey's "gifted" vocals. She thought that Carey was capable of achieving mainstream success and that she needed some guidance to break into the industry.
One evening, Starr took Carey to a record industry gala with hope of convincing a record executive to listen to Carey's demo. Jerry L. Greenberg, the president of Atlantic Records was interested in Carey, but as she handed him the tape, Tommy Mottola grabbed it, and said that he would tend to "the project". Mottola left the event later that evening, and got into his limousine and listened to the tape. He quickly realized that he had found a talented vocalist, turned the car around and returned to the party to find Carey, but she had already left. After a week of tracking her down through Starr's management, Mottola got in touch with Carey and brought her over to Columbia Records. After meeting with Carey and her mother Patricia for the first time, Mottola said, "When I heard and saw Mariah, there was absolutely no doubt that she was in every way destined for super-stardom." After a few brief meetings, Carey was signed to Columbia in December 1988.
Writing and recording
Mariah Carey's debut album for her label Columbia was completed and being mastered when she wrote the song with Ben Margulies. Margulies said, "It was sort of a gospelish thing I was improvising, then we began working on it. It was on a work tape that we had...and we recorded a very quick demo. It was just a piano vocal demo - I played live piano, and she sang it." Carey was on a mini-tour of ten states, playing acoustically with a piano player and three back-up singers. While on a company plane, she played the demo of "Love Takes Time" for Columbia Records president Don Ienner. "All the important guys were on the plane," Margulies said. "Tommy Mottola, Ienner, and Bobby Colomby." Carey was told the song was a "career-maker," and that it had to go on the first album. She protested - her album was already being mastered, and she intended this ballad for her next release.
The demo was sent to producer Walter Afanasieff. When Carey flew west to work with Narada Michael Walden on some tracks for her first album, Tommy Mottola and Don Ienner were impressed with Afanasieff's work and gave him an executive staff producer job with the label. "I guess to see if he made the right choice, (Tommy) called me up one day," remembers Afanasieff. "He said, 'We've got this Mariah Carey album done, but there's a song that she and Ben Margulies wrote that is phenomenal, and I want to try everything we can to put it on the album.' I said, 'What do you want me to do?' and he said, 'You only have a couple of days, but are you ready to cut it?' I couldn't believe the opportunity that it was. I'd never produced anything by myself up until that time."
The demo was very close to what Mottola wanted the finished product to be, according to Afanasieff. "We cut the song and the music and the basics in about a day - and the only reason is this deadline. It was do it or we were gonna miss out on the whole thing. We got the tape and recorded everything and we got on the plane and went to New York (and) did her vocals. She did all the backgrounds, practically sang all night...We came back to the studio that afternoon, and we had to fix one line very quickly, and then (engineer) Dana (Jon Chapelle) and I got back on the plane with the tape, went back to the studio in Sausalito, and mixed it. So it was a three-day process: a day and a half for music, kind of like a day for vocals, and a day for mixing."
Afanasieff heard from Columbia executives as soon as they received the mix. They wanted Carey's vocal a little louder, so a remix was quickly completed. The producer asked if the song would still make the debut album, and was told, "We're going to do our best." When the album was released, "Love Takes Time" was not listed on the cassette or compact disc. "(On) some of the original first copies of the record, they didn't have time to print the name of the song," Margulies laughs. "And so the song's on there, but it doesn't say that it's on there. It was a song that actually was strong enough to stop the pressing...I don't know if they had to throw away a few hundred copies."
Upon its release, "Love Takes Time" received acclaim from critics. In 2015, Est 1997 writer Mario stated that it was an ″Adult Contemporary ballad″ and that it was "arguably some of the strongest melodies and bridge in Mariah’s catalog." He continued by saying that ″Her vocals are so pure and passionate that every emotion filters through the music and just reaches and warms the heart. It’s the realisation of a universal truth by a young woman who’s still learning to deal with feelings. There’s almost a sense of naivety in the lyrics but, at the same time, the song sounds mature and it’s relatable. That’s a constant in Mariah’s catalog, something that has marked her strength and endurance as a writer."
During a review of her 2001 Greatest Hits album in May 2002, Devon Powers of PopMatters praised the song along with "I Don't Wanna Cry", calling it "stupendous" and said that ″Her lyrics were exactly what you wanted them to be: simple, memorable, and absolutely true." Stephen Filippelli from Review Stream called the song decent, but mainly criticized the music video for the song. Amanda Dobbins and Lindsay Weber of Vulture listed "Love Takes Time" at number-nineteen on their list of "Mariah Carey’s 25 Best Singles". OO Cities called the song a "beautiful ballad".
The song did not receive as many awards as "Vision of Love," but still managed to win a BMI R&B Award for Song of the Year and Songwriter Award. The song also won Carey the 1991 Soul Train Music Award for Best R&B/Urban Contemporary New Artist.
"Love Takes Time" was another success like Carey's debut single "Vision of Love" in the United States: it debuted at #73 on September 15, 1990, it reached number–one in its ninth week on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent three weeks at the top of the chart, from November 10 to 24, 1990. It spent seven weeks in the top ten and 17 weeks in the top 40 and the RIAA certified it gold. It topped every other Billboard chart for which it was eligible (including the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks). On the Radio & Records CHR/Pop Airplay chart the song debuted at #37 on the September 14, 1990 issue and after eight weeks reached and peaked at #1 for two weeks, it stayed on the top 10 of the chart for eight weeks and remained on it for seventeen weeks. Because its success was divided over two calendar years it did not rank high on Billboard's year-end charts, making 76 on the 1990 chart and 69 on the 1991 chart.
However, "Love Takes Time" failed to emulate its U.S. success in any other market except Canada, where it reached number two on the Canadian Singles Chart. "Love Takes Time" did reach the top ten in New Zealand but it did not make much of an impact elsewhere, becoming a moderate top 20 hit in Australia, and a top 40 hit in the UK and the Netherlands. It failed to reach the top 40 in Germany, peaking at number fifty-seven.
Music video and other versions
The single's video, directed by Jeb Brien and Walter Maser, features Carey walking around a beach after a man walks away with luggage in Venice, Los Angeles, California. The video is not included on the DVD/home video #1's (1999). A live performance of the song filmed at Proctor's Theatre in New York in 1993 was included instead.
The official single version of the song muffles Carey's whistle note at the conclusion of the bridge before the final verse.
Worldwide CD single
UK CD single
European CD maxi-single
UK limited edition picture disc
- Kelly Clarkson did a cover of this song while performing at a mini tour in 2003.
Charts and certifications
Certifications and sales
- List of Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles of 1990
- List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 1990 (U.S.)
- List of number-one R&B singles of 1990 (U.S.)
- Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 20. ISBN 0312195125.
- Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 22. ISBN 0312195125.
- Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 23. ISBN 0312195125.
- Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. pp. 25–26. ISBN 0312195125.
- "Hero" inside story
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- "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. December 22, 1990. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
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- Gavin Ryan (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
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- "American single certifications – Mariah Carey – Love Takes Time". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 2012-12-12. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH