Music

The Supremes' 'You Keep Me Hangin' On': A 1960s Band Says It Gave the Song the Feeling It 'Should Have'

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is one of The Supremes‘ most famous songs. During an interview, a member of a classic rock band said the song should have had a different feeling because of its lyrics. He revealed why his band covered the song. The band’s rendition of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” became a hit in its own right.

How a classic rock band learned to perform slow covers of songs

Carmine Appice is a drummer who co-wrote two of Rod Stewart‘s big hits: “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” and “Young Turks.” He was also a member of the band Vanilla Fudge. During an interview with Songfacts, he discussed how he learned to cover songs and make them slower.

“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,” he recalled. “The Vagrants were doing it, they had Leslie West in the band. The Rich Kids were doing it, they had this writer named Richard Supa. The Hassles were doing it, they had Billy Joel. It all started from The Rascals, I think.”

Vanilla Fudge’s Carmine Appice felt The Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ should be a slow ‘hurtin” song

Appice explained why Vanilla Fudge slowed down its cover of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” “We were all looking for songs that were hits and could be slowed down with emotion put into them,” he remembered. “‘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,” Appice added. “We slowed it down and put the emotion into it.”

The way the world reacted to The Supremes’ ‘You Keep Me Hangin’ On’ and Vanilla Fudge’s cover of the song

The original version of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” became a huge hit. The track lasted 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100. It spent two weeks at the top of the chart. Its parent album, The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland, was a hit as well. The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 29 weeks.

Meanwhile, Vanilla Fudge’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” was also a hit. Vanilla Fudge’s cover peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained on the chart for 17 weeks. The song became the band’s only charting single in the United States besides “Where Is My Mind,” which peaked at No. 73. Vanilla Fudge gave “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” a new feel and listeners seemed to like it.

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