You Keep Me Hangin' On

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"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Single by The Supremes
from the album The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland
B-side "Remove This Doubt"
Released October 12, 1966 (U.S.)
Format Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
Recorded Hitsville U.S.A. (Studio A); June 30 and August 1, 1966
Genre Soul, pop
Length 2:47 (original release)
3:15 (remastered)
Label Motown
M 1101
Writer(s) Holland–Dozier–Holland
Producer(s) Brian Holland
Lamont Dozier
The Supremes singles chronology
"You Can't Hurry Love"
"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
"Love Is Here and Now You're Gone"
The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland track listing
Music sample
Alternative cover

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" is a 1966 song written and composed by Holland–Dozier–Holland. It first became a popular Billboard Hot 100 number one hit for the American girl group The Supremes in late 1966. The rock band Vanilla Fudge covered the song a year later and had a Top ten hit with their version. British pop 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. The single reached number one by two different musical acts in America. In the first 32 years of the Billboard Hot 100 rock era, “You Keep Me Hangin' On” became one of only six songs to achieve this feat.[1] In 1996, Country music singer Reba McEntire's version reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Over the years, "You Keep Me Hangin' On" has been covered by various artists including a charting version by Wilson Pickett, Rod Stewart, and the Box Tops.

The Supremes version[edit]


"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was originally recorded by The Supremes for the Motown label. 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 13, 1966 through November 27, 1966.[2][3] "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was the first single taken from the Supremes' 1967 album The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland. The original version was ranked #339 on Rolling Stone's The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4]

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.[5]

Many elements of the recording, including the guitars, the drums, and Diana Ross and Florence Ballard's vocals, were multitracked, a production technique which was established and popularized concurrently by 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.[5]

The track is one of the more oft-covered songs in the Supremes canon. They performed the song on the ABC variety program The Hollywood Palace on Saturday, October 29, 1966.[6]


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1966–1967) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard R&B Singles Chart 1
U.S. Cash Box Pop Singles Chart 1
Australian Singles Chart 11
UK Singles Chart 8
Preceded by
"Poor Side of Town" by Johnny Rivers
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Supremes version)
November 19, 1966 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Winchester Cathedral" by The New Vaudeville Band
Preceded by
"Knock on Wood" by Eddie Floyd
Billboard Hot R&B Singles number-one single (The Supremes version)
November 26, 1966 – December 17, 1966 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"(I Know) I'm Losing You" by The Temptations

Vanilla Fudge version[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Single by Vanilla Fudge
from the album Vanilla Fudge
B-side "Come By Day, Come By Night"
Released 1967 (U.S.)
Format Vinyl record (7" 45 RPM)
Recorded 1967
Genre Psychedelic rock, acid rock, hard rock
Length 2:59 (single edit)
7:20 (album version)
Label Atco
Writer(s) Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producer(s) Shadow Morton
Vanilla Fudge singles chronology
"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
"Eleanor Rigby"


Vanilla Fudge's 1967 psychedelic/hard rock remake of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" reached number 6 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 seven minutes and twenty seconds long.[7] The recording, done in one take, was Vanilla Fudge's first single.[8]

Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice talked about the band's decision to cover the song in a 2014 interview:[9]

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.


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1967–1968) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6

Kim Wilde version[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Single by Kim Wilde
from the album Another Step
B-side "Loving You"
Released 13 October 1986[10]
Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1986
Length 4:15
Label MCA
Writer(s) Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producer(s) Ricky Wilde
Kim Wilde singles chronology
"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
"Say You Really Want Me"
(North American issue)


"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was covered in an updated version by British singer Kim Wilde in 1986. It was released as the second single from Wilde's Another Step album (although "You Keep Me Hangin' On" was the LP's first worldwide single, as the first single had been released only in selected countries).

Wilde's version was a total re-working of the original, completely transforming the Supremes' Motown Sound into a hi-NRG song.[15] 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. It became the biggest hit of Wilde's career, reaching number 2 in her home country as well as hitting the top spot in Europe and Australia. It also became Wilde's second and last Top 40 hit in the US following "Kids in America" and is also, to date, her most successful song in that country, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for one week in June 1987. It later ranked as the 34th biggest hit of 1987 on Billboard's Hot 100 year-end chart that year.

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

Music video[edit]

A music video was produced to promote the single.[16]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1986–88) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[17] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[18] 20
Canada (RPM) 1
Denmark (Tracklisten)[19] 3
France (SNEP)[20] 19
Germany (Official German Charts)[21] 8
Ireland (IRMA) 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[22] 17
Norway (VG-lista)[23] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[24] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[25] 2
US Billboard Hot 100 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1987) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[26]
Preceded by
"With or Without You" by U2
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Kim Wilde version)
June 6, 1987 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Always" by Atlantic Starr

Reba McEntire version[edit]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Single by Reba McEntire
from the album Starting Over
Released 1996
Format CD single, maxi single
Genre Country
Length 3:22
Label MCA Nashville
Writer(s) Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producer(s) Tony Brown, Michael Omartian, Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire singles chronology
"Starting Over Again"
"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
"The Fear of Being Alone"


Country music 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 #2 on Hot Dance Club Play.[27]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1996-1997) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 2


  1. ^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits: The Inside Story Behind Every Number One Single on Billboard's Hot 100 from 1955 to the Present (5 ed.). Billboard Books. pgs 213, 667. ISBN 0-8230-7677-6
  2. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Company) 78 (47): 30. 1966. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  3. ^ "Billboard Hot 100". Billboard (Nielsen Company) 78 (48): 26. 1966. Retrieved 10 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ a b "You Keep Me Hangin' On". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  6. ^ Host: Herb Alpert (29 October 1966). "Herb Alpert/The Supremes". The Hollywood Palace. Season 4. Episode 6. ABC. KABC. 
  7. ^ Vanilla Fudge- Vanilla Fudge Retrieved January 16, 2015
  8. ^ "You Keep Me Hangin' On" Songfacts entry Retrieved March 18, 2007
  9. ^ Carmine Appice Interview: The Legendary Drummer Keeps ‘Rock’ Hangin’ On Retrieved January 16, 2015
  10. ^ "Certified Awards". BPI. Retrieved 2013-11-03. 
  11. ^ Mason, Stewart. "Kim Wilde – Another Step". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  12. ^ Watson, Graeme (12 September 2013). "Kim Wilde Talks Pop, Parenthood and PVC". OutInPerth. Retrieved 31 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Discogs information on the song by Kim Wilde, Citing synthpop reference.
  14. ^ Denning, Alli. "New Wave Hits of 80s". liketotally80's. Retrieved July 1, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Another Step-Kim Wilde". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-08-14. 
  16. ^ "Kim Wilde - You Keep Me Hangin' On". YouTube. Retrieved 21 January 2014. 
  17. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  18. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  19. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On". Tracklisten.
  20. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On" (in French). Les classement single.
  21. ^ " – Kim Wilde Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  22. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  23. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On". VG-lista.
  24. ^ " – Kim Wilde – You Keep Me Hangin' On". Swiss Singles Chart.
  25. ^ "Kim Wilde: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  26. ^
  27. ^ "Billboard search results for "You Keep Me Hangin' On"". Billboard. Retrieved 2009-05-13. [dead link]

See also[edit]