"You Keep Me Hangin' On" is a 1966 song written by Holland–Dozier–Holland and 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.[1][2]

Over the years, the song has been covered by various artists including Rod StewartVanilla FudgeReba McEntire, and a chart-topping rendition by Kim Wilde.


 [hide*1 History


Original recording[edit]Edit

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 signal heard by Lamont Dozier, who collaborated with Brian and Eddie Holland to integrate the idea into a single.[3]

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) andGeorge 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.[3]

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.[4]

"You Keep Me Hangin' On" was the first single from the Supremes' 1967 album The Supremes Sing Holland–Dozier–Holland. The original version was #339 on Rolling Stone'The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[5]

Recording personnel[edit]Edit

Chart history[edit]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 Freddie Jackson

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]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 rockacid rock,hard rock
Length 2:50 (single edit)

7:00 (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 #6 on the Hot 100 chart two years 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 six minutes and forty-five seconds long.[clarification needed] The recording, done in one take, was Vanilla Fudge's first single.[6]

In an interview with Vanilla Fudge drummer Carmine Appice and classic rock music journalist Ray Shasho in on 12/13/2013,Carmine Appice talks about the band's inception of "You Keep Me Hangin' On." Ray Shasho asks... Carmine, in Vanilla Fudge, whose idea was it to cover The Supremes “You Keep Me Hangin’ On? Carmine Appice says... “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 history (Vanilla Fudge version)[edit]Edit

Chart (1967-1968) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot 100 6

Kim Wilde version[edit]Edit

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Single by Kim Wilde
from the album Another Step
B-side "Loving You"
Released October 13, 1986 (U.K.)[7]

March 3, 1987 (U.S.)

Format 7", 12"
Recorded 1986
Genre Hi-NRGsynthpopdance-rock
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) (1986)

"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 1980s power pop/hi-NRG song.[8] 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 #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.

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

Music video[edit]Edit

A music video was produced to promote the single.[9]

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (1986–88) Peak


Australia (ARIA)[10] 1
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[11] 20
Canada (RPM) 1
Denmark (Tracklisten)[12] 3
France (SNEP)[13] 19
Germany (Media Control Charts)[14] 8
Ireland (IRMA) 2
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[15] 17
Norway (VG-lista)[16] 1
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[17] 2
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 2
US BillboardHot 100 1
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]Edit

"You Keep Me Hangin' On"
Single by Reba McEntire
from the album Starting Over
Released 1996
Format CD singlemaxi single
Genre Dance-Country
Length 3:22
Label MCA Nashville
Writer(s) Holland-Dozier-Holland
Producer(s) Tony BrownMichael 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 on her 1996 album Starting Over. Although not released to country radio, McEntire's rendition was her only dance hit, reaching #2 on Hot Dance Club Play.[18]

Chart (1996-1997) Peak


U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Play 2


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