Love Takes Time

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For the Orleans song, see Love Takes Time (Orleans song).
"Love Takes Time"
U.S. commercial cassette single
Single by Mariah Carey
from the album Mariah Carey
  • Sent From Up Above
  • Vanishing
  • You Need Me
  • Vision of Love
Released September 11, 1990 (1990-09-11)
Format CD single, cassette single, 7" single
Recorded May 1990
Length 3:50 (album version)
3:50 (radio version)
Label Columbia, CBS
Writer(s) Mariah Carey, Ben Margulies
Producer(s) Walter Afanasieff
Mariah Carey singles chronology
"Vision of Love"
"Love Takes Time"

"Love Takes Time" is a song written by Mariah Carey and Ben Margulies, and produced by Walter Afanasieff for Carey's debut album, Mariah Carey (1990). It was released as the album's second single in the third quarter of 1990. 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 her feelings for her ex-lover remain. It became Carey's second number 1 single in the United States.

"Love Takes Time" was included on Carey's compilation album The Ballads (2008), as well as her 2015 compilation album Number 1 To Infinity, among others.


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.[1] 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.[2] After several months, Carey befriended singer Brenda K. Starr, and soon became one of her back-up vocalists.[2] 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.[3]

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.[4]

Writing and recording[edit]

Mariah Carey's debut album for the label 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."[5]


"Love Takes Time" was another success like Carey's debut single "Vision of Love" in the United States: it reached number 1 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). 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.

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.[6][7]

Music video and other versions[edit]

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) because Carey has admitted[when?] she is ashamed of it. A live performance of the song filmed at Proctor's Theatre in New York in 1993 was included instead.

Track listings[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

  • Philippine idol winner Mau Marcelo covered the song on her album "I Shine For You" in 2007.
  • Kelly Clarkson did a cover of this song while performing at a mini tour in 2003.

Charts and certifications[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 20. ISBN 0312195125. 
  2. ^ a b Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 22. ISBN 0312195125. 
  3. ^ Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 23. ISBN 0312195125. 
  4. ^ Nickson, Chris (November 25, 1998). Mariah Carey Revisited: An Unauthorised Biography. St. Martin's Press. p. 25-26. ISBN 0312195125. 
  5. ^ "Hero" inside story
  6. ^ "1991 Winners: Soul Train Music Awards - Internet Archive Wayback Machine". February 8, 2005. Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  7. ^ (March 12, 1991). "Soul Train - Season 20, Episode 22: The 5th Annual Soul Train Music Awards". Retrieved November 20, 2012. 
  8. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Love Takes Time". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  9. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Love Takes Time" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. December 22, 1990. p. 90. Retrieved June 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 9171." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 9165." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved May 31, 2015.
  13. ^ "Hits of the World" (PDF). Billboard. Retrieved May 31, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Mariah Carey - Love Takes Time" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 46, 1990" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  16. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Love Takes Time" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  17. ^ " – Mariah Carey – Love Takes Time". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  18. ^ "Mariah Carey: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  19. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Mariah Carey. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  20. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Mariah Carey. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  21. ^ "Mariah Carey – Chart history" Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for Mariah Carey. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
  22. ^ "Top 100 Hit Tracks of 1990". RPM. December 22, 1990. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Top 100 Adult Contemporary Tracks of 1990". RPM. December 22, 1990. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Jaarlijsten 1990" (in Dutch). Stichting Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "The Year in Music: 1990" (PDF). Billboard. December 22, 1990. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  26. ^ Gavin Ryan (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  27. ^ a b "The Year in Music: 1991" (PDF). Billboard. December 21, 1991. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  28. ^ "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

External links[edit]