Of the many Supremes ads I’ve recently found in back issues of Billboard magazine, this one has got to be my favorite. This beautiful full-page, color advertisement ran in the August 13, 1966 issue of the magazine, promoting the recently-released single “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The song was listed as a “National Breakout” in that same issue, and was making its debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at #66.
The fact that the song’s title appears to be racing across the page is appropriate; the following week, “You Can’t Hurry Love” had shot from #66 to #28 on the chart, and the week after that it leapt to #7. From there it climbed up to #4 and, finally, “You Can’t Hurry Love” settled into the top spot in the issue dated September 10. It was the seventh #1 hit for The Supremes, and would soon be followed by number eight, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” The song also helped propel its parent album, The Supremes A’ Go-Go, to the top spot on the Billboard 200, making The Supremes the first female group to have a #1 album.
Although it’s been covered many times over the years — most famously by Phil Collins in 1982 — “You Can’t Hurry Love” remains a definitive Supremes recording, and a perfect example of the kind of crisp, tight composition for which songwriters Holland-Dozier-Holland became famous. Diana Ross excels at the song’s urgent lyrics and catchy melody, showing real growth as a vocalist from the group’s earlier singles; it’s impossible to imagine anyone else making the same sort of impact with the song.