Thursday, November 7, 2013

Vanilla Fudge: You Keep Me Hangin' On

It is said that Vanilla Fudge’s cover of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hanging On” was recorded in one take; however, it took two times on the charts for their version to become a hit in its own right. A 2:50 edit of a seven minute album cut was originally released in June 1967 and immediately stalled at #67.

Believing in the potential of the band, ATCO Records re-released the single in June 1968 and the second time around it peaked at #6. The first release titled the song as "You Keep Me Hanging On" while the second release correctly rendered the title with the dropped "G."

While it seems unusual for a psychedelic band like Vanilla Fudge would record this tune as their first single, but drummer Carmine Appice explains the rationale:

In 1966, when I joined the band, there was a thing going around the New York area and Long Island that was basically slowing songs down, making production numbers out of them, and putting emotion into them . . . We were all looking for songs that were hits and could be slowed down with emotion put into them. “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” lyrically was a hurtin’ kind of song, and when The Supremes did it, it was like a happy song. We tried to slow down the song and put the emotion the song should have into it with the hurtin’ kind of feeling the song should have [had].

The Supremes released their version in October 1966 and it skyrocketed up both the Hot 100 and the R&B charts to the top position on both. Vanilla Fudge’s first release of the single was probably positioned too close to The Supremes’ version for it to be taken seriously.

By 1968, enough time had elapsed and Vanilla Fudge’s heavy sound was much more palatable to the record buying public. The tune was authored by Motown staff writers Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland who composed numerous hit records for Barry Gordy’s enterprise.

Album Version

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