June 12, 2009

How many heartaches must I stand?

Phil Collins' second solo album, Hello, I Must Be Going!, has a fun cover of the Supremes' hit "You Can't Hurry Love," composed by the Motown powerhouse of Holland-Dozier-Holland. It wasn't the first cover tune Collins had recorded (his first album, Face Value, contains no less than three), but it was the first one he released as a single. It happens to be my favorite cover tune of the decade, and one of the major reasons I have long considered 1983 to be The Greatest Year in Music.

Part of the appeal of "You Can' Hurry Love" is the accompanying video: thanks to the magic of video compositing, three Phil Collinses stand in for Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. Back in the day, he took himself a lot less seriously:

"You Can't Hurry Love" was a number one hit for the Supremes in the U.S.; subsequently the Collins cover topped the U.K. charts in its own time.

So far, by comparison, I've preferred two originals, and two covers. But with "You Can't Hurry Love," the contest between old vs. new remains in a dead heat. I think both the Supremes' version and Collins' are equally good: mainly because note for note, they're practically identical (apart from Collins' version lacking the horn section).