You Keep Me Hangin' On

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"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
You Keep Me Hangin' On by The Supremes US vinyl.png
Picture sleeve for US vinyl single
Single by the Supremes
from the album The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland
B-side"Remove This Doubt"
ReleasedOctober 12, 1966 (1966-10-12)
RecordedJune 30 and August 1, 1966
StudioHitsville U.S.A. (Studio A), Detroit, Michigan
Genre
Length
  • 2:47 (original release)
  • 3:15 (remastered)
LabelMotown
Songwriter(s)Holland–Dozier–Holland
Producer(s)
The Supremes singles chronology
"You Can't Hurry Love"
(1966)
"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
(1966)
"Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"
(1967)
The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland track listing
12 tracks
Side one
  1. "You Keep Me Hangin' On"
  2. "You're Gone, But Always in My Heart"
  3. "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"
  4. "Mother You, Smother You"
  5. "I Guess I'll Always Love You"
  6. "I'll Turn to Stone"
Side two
  1. "It's the Same Old Song"
  2. "Going Down for the Third Time"
  3. "Love is in Our Hearts"
  4. "Remove This Doubt"
  5. "There's No Stopping Us Now"
  6. "(Love Is Like a) Heat Wave"

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" is a song written and composed by Holland–Dozier–Holland. It was first recorded in 1966 by American girl group the Supremes, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. American rock band Vanilla Fudge released a cover version the following year, which reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. English singer Kim Wilde covered "You Keep Me Hangin' On" in 1986, bumping it back to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1987. In the first 32 years of the Billboard Hot 100 rock era, "You Keep Me Hangin' On" became one of six songs to reach number one by two different musical acts.[1] In 1996, American country singer Reba McEntire's version reached number two on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. The BBC ranked the Supremes' original song at number 78 on the The Top 100 Digital Motown Chart, which ranks Motown releases by their all-time UK downloads and streams.[2]

The Supremes original version[edit]

Background[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was originally recorded in 1966 by the Supremes for the Motown label. The single is rooted in proto-funk and rhythm and blues, compared to the Supremes' previous single, "You Can't Hurry Love", which uses the call and response elements akin to gospel. The song's signature guitar part is said to have originated from a Morse code-like radio sound effect, typically used before a news announcement, heard by Lamont Dozier. Dozier collaborated with Brian and Eddie Holland to integrate the idea into a single.[3]

Many elements of the recording, including the guitars, the drums, and Diana Ross's vocals were multitracked, a production technique which was established and popularized concurrently by Holland–Dozier–Holland (H–D–H) and other premier producers of the 1960s such as Phil Spector (see Wall of Sound) and George Martin. H–D–H recorded the song in eight sessions with the Supremes and session band the Funk Brothers before settling on a version deemed suitable for the final release.[3]

Reception[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was the first single taken from the Supremes' 1967 album The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland. The song became the group's eighth number-one single when it topped the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles chart for two weeks in the United States from November 19 to 26, 1966.[4][5] It peaked at number eight in the UK Singles Chart. The Supremes original version was ranked number 339 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[6] It was voted number 43 on Detroit's 100 Greatest Songs, a Detroit Free Press poll in 2016.[7] Billboard described the song as a "pulsating rocker with the trio in top form" with an "interesting, driving guitar figure throughout."[8]

The track is one of the more oft-covered songs in the Supremes canon. The group performed the song on the ABC variety program The Hollywood Palace on October 29, 1966.[9]

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom 84,000[28]
United States 1,000,000[29][30]

Vanilla Fudge version[edit]

"You Keep Me Hanging On"
Single by Vanilla Fudge
from the album Vanilla Fudge
B-side"Take Me for a Little While"
Released1967 (1967)
Recorded1967
GenrePsychedelic rock[31]
Length
  • 2:59 (single edit)
  • 7:20 (album version)
LabelAtco
Songwriter(s)Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producer(s)Shadow Morton
Vanilla Fudge singles chronology
"You Keep Me Hanging On"
(1967)
"Eleanor Rigby"
(1967)
Vanilla Fudge (1968)

Background[edit]

Vanilla Fudge's 1967 psychedelic rock remake entitled "You Keep Me Hanging On" reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart a year after the release of the Supremes' recording. While the edited version released on the 45 RPM single was under three minutes long, the album version was 7:20. The recording, done in one take, was Vanilla Fudge's first single.[32]

Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice talked about the band's decision to cover the song in a 2014 interview:[33]

That was Mark and Timmy. We used to slow songs down and listen to the lyrics and try to emulate what the lyrics were dictating. That one was a hurtin' song; it had a lot of emotion in it. "People Get Ready" was like a Gospel thing. "Eleanor Rigby" was sort of eerie and church-like ... like a horror movie kind of thing. If you listen to "Hangin' On" fast  ... by the Supremes, it sounds very happy, but the lyrics aren't happy at all. If you lived through that situation, the lyrics are definitely not happy.

The Vanilla Fudge version appears in the series finale of the television show The Sopranos (2007), at the conclusion of episode 1 of season 7 of the television series Mad Men (2015),[34] the film War Dogs (2016), the video game Mafia III (2016), and the film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).

Personnel[edit]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1967–1968) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[35] 50
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[36] 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[37] 11
UK Singles (OCC)[38] 18
US Billboard Hot 100[39] 6

Kim Wilde version[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Youkeepmehanginon.jpg
7-inch vinyl variant of standard artwork; the North American variant uses different colors of the artwork
Single by Kim Wilde
from the album Another Step
B-side"Loving You"
ReleasedSeptember 19, 1986[40]
Recorded1986
StudioWestlake, Los Angeles
GenreHi-NRG[41][42]
Length4:15
LabelMCA
Songwriter(s)Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producer(s)Ricky Wilde
Music video
"You Keep Me Hangin' On" on YouTube

Background[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was covered in an updated version by English singer Kim Wilde in 1986. Wilde's version was a total re-working of the original, completely transforming the Supremes' Motown Sound into a hi-NRG song.[42] She and her brother, producer Ricky Wilde, had not heard "You Keep Me Hangin' On" for several years when they decided to record it. The song was not a track they knew well, so they treated it as a new song, even slightly changing the original lyrics.

Reception[edit]

It was released as the second single from Wilde's fifth studio album, Another Step (although "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was the LP's first worldwide single, as the first single had been released only in selected countries). The song reached number two in Wilde's native United Kingdom,[43] and number one in Australia.[44] It also became Wilde's second and last top-40 entry in the United States following "Kids in America" (1981), as well as her most successful song in that country to date, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in June 1987.[1] It later ranked as the 34th best-selling song of 1987 on Billboard's Hot 100 year-end chart that year. "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was certified silver by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI)[45] for UK sales in excess of 250,000 copies.[46]

In 2006, Wilde performed a new version of the song with German singer Nena for her Never Say Never album.

Music video[edit]

A music video was filmed to promote her single.[47] Directed by Greg Masuak, the video shows Wilde in a dark room lying on a large bed. She then rises from the bed as she sings the song and finds herself being "threatened" by a strange man who is breaking down the walls around her.[48]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Silver 250,000[46]

Other cover versions[edit]

A lesser known cover was made by the famous Welsh singer Tom Jones, in his 1968 album "The Tom Jones Fever Zone" making him the third person to officially feature the song in one of his albums.

American vocalist, songwriter, guitarist, and producer Tim Buckley performed the song on his Dream Letter: Live in London 1968 album, which was released posthumously. American country singer Reba McEntire covered the song in 1995 for her twenty-second studio album, Starting Over. Released as the album's fourth single in 1996 on MCA Nashville Records, it was co-produced by Tony Brown and Michael Omartian. Although not released to country radio, McEntire's rendition was her only dance hit, reaching number two on Hot Dance Club Play.[73]

Dianna Agron as Quinn Fabray performed the song in the Glee episode "Throwdown".[74] It was included on the soundtrack album Glee: The Music, Volume 1, which was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media.[75] Raymund Flandez for The Wall Street Journal was critical of this cover, which he called "thin and jarring",[76] while in 2015 The A.V. Club described it as "one of the best numbers in Glee history"[77] and Mashable ranked it in the show's top 50 songs.[78] The version peaked at number 166 on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending February 27, 2010.[79]

The synth-pop band Colourbox covered the song for its self-titled album in 1985. The Kingston Whig-Standard music critic Greg Burliuk called the recording "the album's weakest track."[80]

The British band Madness included a ska version of the song on their album The Dangermen Sessions Vol. 1 in 2005.

R&B singer Wilson Pickett recorded a version of the Vanilla Fudge cover on his 1970 Right On, and also released it as a single in 1969. Pickett's version reached number 16 on the US R&B chart and 92 on the Billboard Hot 100

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]