How Many Heartaches Must I Stand

Soul music is a combination of R&B (Rhythm and Blues) and gospel music.  According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is “music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of funky, secular testifying”.  It was designed to convey strong emotions and typically has deep, meaningful lyrics created for this purpose.  The vocals are typically very emotional and can vary from high energy to more mournful and slow.  A range of musical instruments are used in soul, including drums, guitar, piano and keyboard.  After slavery ended in 1865, African Americans weren’t welcome in the churches of white Americans, so they built their own churches and sang Christian songs with African-American vocal styles and rhythms.  They sang joyful, up-tempo gospel songs while clapping and moving to the beat, and they sang slower gospel songs that expressed deep feelings like yearning for God’s love.  These different styles led to the two main styles of soul music with early soul music being an extension of gospel and Northern Soul being developed out of Detroit and Chicago and called Motown pop soul, which was influenced by businessman Berry Gordy who started Motown Records and used the Funk Brothers as his house band.

The Supremes songs allowed their listeners to be seduced by soul, as they set the standard for decades to come.  The Supremes for a time were the most successful American performers of the 1960s, they even rivaled even the Beatles in terms of red-hot commercial appeal, reeling off five number one singles in a row at one point over a 10-month span from July 1964 to May 1965 including ‘Where Did Our Love Go’, ‘Baby Love’, ‘Stop! In the Name of Love’, ‘Come See About Me’, and ‘Back in My Arms Again’.  Their 12 #1 hits in the first full decade of the rock and roll era places them behind only Elvis and the Beatles in terms of chart dominance.  Motown’s star-making machinery, provided reliable chart-topping hits that were spun from the team of Holland, Dozier and Holland, and this ensured their success.

The Supremes Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard did not start out as an overnight success story, and they were originally a quartet with Barbara Martin and they were first known as the Primettes.  Barbara Martin left the group after their first single.  Diana Ross sang most of their lead vocals, but Flo Ballard was considered to have as good a voice or better when she sang lead, however in late 1963, Ross took over the lead singing for good.  Motown had other talented female singers like Martha Reeves and Gladys Knight, but Diana Ross had pure pop appeal.

The Supremes song ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ came out on their 1966 album The Supremes A’ Go-Go and this song went to #1 in the US and it reached #3 in the UK.  This was written by the prolific songwriting team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier and Eddie Holland.  It was based on a gospel song entitled ‘You Can’t Hurry God’, which was sung by Dorothy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes, a gospel group based in Birmingham, Alabama.  This was the first of a second string of consecutive #1 American hits for the Supremes and it was followed by ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’, ‘Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone’ and ‘The Happening’.  The song is about a mother advising her young daughter to be patient and not rush into establishing a romantic relationship with anyone because when the right time came along, she would meet the right person.

When Berry Gordy gave Diana Ross top billing over the Supremes, this move clearly signaled Gordy’s intention to launch Diana on a solo career.  Cindy Birdsong who had previously been a member of Patti LaBelle & the Bluebelles replaced Flo Ballard in 1967.  Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in early 1968 after a dispute with the label over royalties and profit sharing.  Ross left the Supremes for a solo career in 1969 and continued to be a musical mainstay the following year with the Top 20 ‘Reach Out and Touch Somebody’s Hand’ and the No. 1 ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’.  Motown forced Flo Ballard out of the group that she created, even though she sang on ten No. 1 singles.  She died at the age of just 32 in her home town of Detroit on 22 February 1976.

Diana Ross has won a list of awards, accolades and recognitions that seems to go on and on forever, throughout her long career in show business both as member of The Supremes and during her solo career.  In 1988, Ross was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Supremes, alongside Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard.  She was the recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2007, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 and in 2017 she won the American Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award.

I need love, love to ease my mind
I need to find, find someone to call mine
But mama said you can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
You gotta trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
But how many heartaches must I stand
Before I find a love to let me live again
Right now the only thing that keeps me hanging on
When I feel my strength, yeah, it’s almost gone
I remember mama said
You can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
How long must I wait how much more can I take
Before loneliness will ‘cause my heart, heart to break?
No, I can’t bear to live my life alone
I grow impatient for a love to call my own
But when I feel that I, I can’t go on
These precious words keeps me hanging on
I remember mama said
Can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No you just have to wait
She said trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
No love, love don’t come easy
But I keep on waiting, anticipating for that
Soft voice to talk to me at night
For some tender arms to hold me tight
I keep waiting; I keep on waiting
But it ain’t easy, it ain’t easy when mama said
You can’t hurry love no
You just have to wait
She said trust, give it time
No matter how long it takes
You can’t hurry love
No, you just have to wait
She said love don’t come easy
It’s a game of give and take
You can’t hurry love
No, you can’t

Written for Love Is In Da Blog where Bee asks us to find soul songs about love and this prompt was given by Barbara.

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