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  1. #1
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    Nothing But Heartaches

    Next week will mark 56 years since the release of "Nothing But Heartaches", a notable single in the Supremes' discography for breaking the string of consecutive #1 hits. It's a favorite of mine. I love everything about it. Diana's lead is very good, but this is actually one of those songs where I feel like my attraction is less so Diana and more so Flo and Mary and the Funks. The version on the EE with the extended instrumental break knocked my socks off. The Funks were kicking butt on this one.

    I stand behind QC's decision to release this as the follow up to "Back In My Arms Again", but I also get why it may have failed to meet the expectations set by the previous five singles. I personally feel like the first five #1s, while they might have some sort of similarity to the songs before it, they are all mostly very different from the one that came before it. "Baby Love" does not sound like "Where" to me, nor does "Come See" sound like "Baby Love", or "Stop" sound like "Come See", or "Back" sound like "Stop". But "Heartaches" does have a "Back In My Arms Again" knock off sound. It's possible that the first five left the public feeling like they were hearing something new, while "Heartaches" had a "been there, done that" sound. Of course the song may have also "suffered" from the fact that it was released within about a week of the More Hits album and was cannibalized by it. Why buy the single when you can get the new album with the single, plus two other huge hits, plus a bunch of new cuts? If anything, releasing the two in such close proximity was the dumb decision. Perhaps "Heartaches" should've been rushed out as soon as it was completed in May instead of sitting on it for two months.

    Still, the song managed to make it to #11 on the Hot 100 and #6 R&B, which is nothing to sneeze at. And Cashbox listed the song as the #8 bestseller on their Top 100, and #3 bestseller R&B. Imagine if it hadn't had to compete with More Hits. Might it have become the sixth #1? How incredible would the group's reign have been with that feat and then the release of "Symphony", making it seven consecutive #1 hits!

    "Heartaches" is also the last time that I would categorize a Supremes single as the girl group sound. After that, the sound matures a lot.

    It's my understanding that "Nothing But Heartaches" is considered a fan favorite, so show your love for or share your thoughts on this noteworthy song.


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    I am not talented enough for such an in-depth analysis but when I started listening to the radio in late 65/early 66, I immediately gravitated toward Motown. So I started buying up everything that was already out and anxiously looked forward to each new release. Those 1966 Greatest Hits packages, each with its own color scheme, were heaven sent!

    So I bought this album after the fact and was not aware at the time of the details of the chart history. As for the top three hits, all were magnificent to my teenage years at the time and I would have had no explanation [[still don't) for why Heartaches broke that string of number ones. But your theory makes sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Next week will mark 56 years since the release of "Nothing But Heartaches", a notable single in the Supremes' discography for breaking the string of consecutive #1 hits. It's a favorite of mine. I love everything about it. Diana's lead is very good, but this is actually one of those songs where I feel like my attraction is less so Diana and more so Flo and Mary and the Funks. The version on the EE with the extended instrumental break knocked my socks off. The Funks were kicking butt on this one.

    I stand behind QC's decision to release this as the follow up to "Back In My Arms Again", but I also get why it may have failed to meet the expectations set by the previous five singles. I personally feel like the first five #1s, while they might have some sort of similarity to the songs before it, they are all mostly very different from the one that came before it. "Baby Love" does not sound like "Where" to me, nor does "Come See" sound like "Baby Love", or "Stop" sound like "Come See", or "Back" sound like "Stop". But "Heartaches" does have a "Back In My Arms Again" knock off sound. It's possible that the first five left the public feeling like they were hearing something new, while "Heartaches" had a "been there, done that" sound. Of course the song may have also "suffered" from the fact that it was released within about a week of the More Hits album and was cannibalized by it. Why buy the single when you can get the new album with the single, plus two other huge hits, plus a bunch of new cuts? If anything, releasing the two in such close proximity was the dumb decision. Perhaps "Heartaches" should've been rushed out as soon as it was completed in May instead of sitting on it for two months.

    Still, the song managed to make it to #11 on the Hot 100 and #6 R&B, which is nothing to sneeze at. And Cashbox listed the song as the #8 bestseller on their Top 100, and #3 bestseller R&B. Imagine if it hadn't had to compete with More Hits. Might it have become the sixth #1? How incredible would the group's reign have been with that feat and then the release of "Symphony", making it seven consecutive #1 hits!

    "Heartaches" is also the last time that I would categorize a Supremes single as the girl group sound. After that, the sound matures a lot.

    It's my understanding that "Nothing But Heartaches" is considered a fan favorite, so show your love for or share your thoughts on this noteworthy song.

    Somewhere in this site's archive is a very good post detailing some very compelling explanations as to why NBH didn't chart higher, given how solid it is. I think we generally agreed that it was a SUPER tough week to be released. I can't recall all the other songs released the same week, but I recall it read like a "Best of the 1960s" playlist. I recall coming down on the side of the argument that Motown did everything correct and the song should have been a #1, but it was just released into a terribly competitive environment.

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    Not every song can go #1 and as thanxal pointed out, there was competition out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    Somewhere in this site's archive is a very good post detailing some very compelling explanations as to why NBH didn't chart higher, given how solid it is. I think we generally agreed that it was a SUPER tough week to be released. I can't recall all the other songs released the same week, but I recall it read like a "Best of the 1960s" playlist. I recall coming down on the side of the argument that Motown did everything correct and the song should have been a #1, but it was just released into a terribly competitive environment.
    This site's archive is often a pain to navigate. Gonna have to skip that one and accept your brief synopsis in it's place.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    Not every song can go #1 and as thanxal pointed out, there was competition out there.
    Of course every song can't go #1, but the group had five in a row prior and to many ears "Heartaches" was as good as the others. Releasing a single and the album it's contained in within a week of each other can't be good for the single. Since Cashbox tallied actual sales, even with the album "Heartaches" was a top 10 seller. One has to question how More Hits ate into it's success.

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    Nothing but heartaches, per google, peaked #11 at start of September 1965. Here is the top 10 chart that week. Some classics here. https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1965-09-03

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    I'm showing my love for The Supremes' classic "Nothing But Heartaches". It will always be one of my all time favorites by the group [while More Hits by The Supremes is my favorite album by them]. Even thought it didn't hit the top of the charts like the previous five singles did, it's still a great song!

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    I've loved this song since the first time I heard it in 1981. It's classic Supremes and it's classic Motown.

    I think some fans equate chart position with a songs greatness but I never have. There are many great classic Motown songs that didn't chart higher than Nothin' But Heartaches. Baby, I Need Your Loving by the Four Tops also peaked at #11 on the charts. Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin and Tammi only reached #17, Don't You Worry 'bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder peaked at #16, Tracks of My Tears and Oh, Baby Baby both also peaked at #16 and Goin' To A Go Go peaked at #11. All classic Motown songs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    Nothing but heartaches, per google, peaked #11 at start of September 1965. Here is the top 10 chart that week. Some classics here. https://www.billboard.com/charts/hot-100/1965-09-03
    Definitely a tough week. Still, "Heartaches" is a song that will always have questions attached to it, namely because the Supremes were competing with their own album. Such a silly move on the part of Motown. I'd love to know from those involved why the decision to release the song when it was released and then drop the album the following week.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    I'm showing my love for The Supremes' classic "Nothing But Heartaches". It will always be one of my all time favorites by the group [while More Hits by The Supremes is my favorite album by them]. Even thought it didn't hit the top of the charts like the previous five singles did, it's still a great song!
    Absolutely a great song! Thanks for showing it some love Eddie!!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SatansBlues View Post
    I've loved this song since the first time I heard it in 1981. It's classic Supremes and it's classic Motown.

    I think some fans equate chart position with a songs greatness but I never have. There are many great classic Motown songs that didn't chart higher than Nothin' But Heartaches. Baby, I Need Your Loving by the Four Tops also peaked at #11 on the charts. Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin and Tammi only reached #17, Don't You Worry 'bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder peaked at #16, Tracks of My Tears and Oh, Baby Baby both also peaked at #16 and Goin' To A Go Go peaked at #11. All classic Motown songs.
    I agree. Some fans do the same thing with albums, equating it's greatness to chart position. Some of my favorite albums and songs of all time- some of the best music IMO- never even charted. Such a silly way to view music. But to each his own, I guess.

    Great examples also SB! "Baby I Need Your Loving" and "Mountain", in particular, are probably among the most well known and beloved songs in the history of music, and I don't believe I'm going overboard with such a statement. The fact that they weren't top 10 pop hits doesn't seem to bother anyone. A classic is a classic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Definitely a tough week. Still, "Heartaches" is a song that will always have questions attached to it, namely because the Supremes were competing with their own album. Such a silly move on the part of Motown. I'd love to know from those involved why the decision to release the song when it was released and then drop the album the following week.
    Ran, you're always understated! "Rough" week, indeed:
    1. Help! - Some British Dudes
    2. Like a Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
    3. California Girls - The Beach Boys
    4. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
    5. It's the Same Old Song - The Four Tops
    6. I Got You Babe - Sony and Cher
    7. You were on My Mind - We Five
    8. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag - James Brown
    9. Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
    10. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me - Mel Carter
    11. Nothing But Heartaches - The Girls

    Now, I wasn't alive that week, but WTF, man! What an unreal collection of songs! Other than maybe You Were on My Mind and Eve of Destruction, they are all absolute 60s classics.

    I think if there was an error, it was putting NBH up against such a strong showing of It's the Same Old Song. Wait till it fell out of the top 10 and then release NBH.

    Looking at that list for the week of Sept. 4, 1965, the 60s were a much better time for music. Much better. Hit after hit after hit. Now's it's the same four recycled chords ad infinitum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Definitely a tough week. Still, "Heartaches" is a song that will always have questions attached to it, namely because the Supremes were competing with their own album. Such a silly move on the part of Motown. I'd love to know from those involved why the decision to release the song when it was released and then drop the album the following week.
    They were probably trying to have fresh product for the distributors to coincide with the Copa engagement, especially since the last couple of albums hadn't done as well as WDOLG.

  15. #15
    First heard it in 1977 at 11 years old. Stereo mix on the blue Greatest Hits album. All this Supremes/Motown stuff was new to me and it seemed every song on the album was better than the last one played. But, when I got to "Nothing But Heartaches", I stayed on that song forever. I played it so much I didn't get to any of the other songs on the LPs for days. Yes, as you said RanRan, it was Flo and Mary who stole the show.

    They were mixed so that in my imagination, when they answer Diana's "I can't break away" line, Mary was kinda close to her mike and Flo was standing at some distance away almost as if she was in a canyon! The use of echo on their voices made them sound almost eerily otherworldly and I LOVED THE HELL OUT OF THAT!

    At the time, I didn't know anything about the musicians being called The Funk Brothers but I did know that whoever was playing, they were playing the living daylights out of this thing. The music sounded huge, dense and thrillingly dangerous to me. Then later when I got the mono mix, I loved it even more because there is a wonderful sort of "droning" sound to the record, as if there were so many instruments crammed in, the grooves of my record just couldn't handle it all.

    For me, this is as close to a perfect Motown records as you can get. I actually prefer it to "Back In My Arms."
    Last edited by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance; 07-09-2021 at 08:35 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Definitely a tough week. Still, "Heartaches" is a song that will always have questions attached to it, namely because the Supremes were competing with their own album. Such a silly move on the part of Motown. I'd love to know from those involved why the decision to release the song when it was released and then drop the album the following week.
    The song is classic Motown with Diana sounding as kittenish as ever. Considering America’s love affair with the Supremes at the time, i see no other reason for “Heartaches” not to have gone at least top five. It certainly is good enough.
    Favourite part has to be Diana singing the line “I keep a loving him more each day”

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    Quote Originally Posted by thanxal View Post
    Ran, you're always understated! "Rough" week, indeed:
    1. Help! - Some British Dudes
    2. Like a Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
    3. California Girls - The Beach Boys
    4. Unchained Melody - The Righteous Brothers
    5. It's the Same Old Song - The Four Tops
    6. I Got You Babe - Sony and Cher
    7. You were on My Mind - We Five
    8. Papa's Got a Brand New Bag - James Brown
    9. Eve of Destruction - Barry McGuire
    10. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me - Mel Carter
    11. Nothing But Heartaches - The Girls

    Now, I wasn't alive that week, but WTF, man! What an unreal collection of songs! Other than maybe You Were on My Mind and Eve of Destruction, they are all absolute 60s classics.

    I think if there was an error, it was putting NBH up against such a strong showing of It's the Same Old Song. Wait till it fell out of the top 10 and then release NBH.

    Looking at that list for the week of Sept. 4, 1965, the 60s were a much better time for music. Much better. Hit after hit after hit. Now's it's the same four recycled chords ad infinitum.
    I was alive during the mid '60s and I fondly remember all the Great Music that I was hearing on the radio back then. Just look at that list of songs from '65; everything from 'game changing' classics to 'guilty pleasures' and The Supremes [not to mention Motown] were in the thick of it all!

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    In the end NBH peaked at #11. I guess another question would be why hasn't the song gone on to become a legendary Supremes or Motown standard? Peak chart position at the time doesn't necessarily determine this. For instance Ain't Too Proud to Beg peaked at #13 on the pop chart and that song is an essential Motown and Temptations classic.

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    I love NBH.always have. But it didn't get the pr the other songs did.
    Twice bg had the girls sing a standard in place of NBH than ,on two shows they performed Mother Dear instead.
    A bit confusing

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    In the end NBH peaked at #11. I guess another question would be why hasn't the song gone on to become a legendary Supremes or Motown standard? Peak chart position at the time doesn't necessarily determine this. For instance Ain't Too Proud to Beg peaked at #13 on the pop chart and that song is an essential Motown and Temptations classic.
    In LA pop/top forty radio I remember Nothing But Heartaches being in the Top Ten. It's The Same Old Song was Top Five at the same time. Both were quite reminiscent of the preceding #1 hits by both groups. I think ITSOS was an even better song/record than I Can't Help Myself. At the time, I didn't think NBH was better than Back In My Arms Again. Now, I think it is more classic DMF Supremes than BIMAA. The alternate version with the instrumental break is my favorite track on the More Hits EE. It alone is worth the price of the More Hits EE! Thanks again, George & Andy

    As for pop chart placements by classic Motown hits, Baby, I Need Your Loving, Tracks of My Tears, Ain't Too Proud To Beg and Ain't No Mountain High Enough were not fully appreciated by pop radio until after the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Temptations and Marvin Gaye truly achieved pop icon status. The DMF Supremes were the first Motown act to do so. I remember this even if I was just a youngster in 1965 !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    In the end NBH peaked at #11. I guess another question would be why hasn't the song gone on to become a legendary Supremes or Motown standard? Peak chart position at the time doesn't necessarily determine this. For instance Ain't Too Proud to Beg peaked at #13 on the pop chart and that song is an essential Motown and Temptations classic.
    IMO, the one reason that NBH hasn't become a legendary Supremes or Motown standard compared to the example of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" is that The Supremes had so many number one [pop] hits whereas The Temptations did not. I'd presume that all of the groups worked each of their latest singles as though they were going to reach the top, so The Tempts treated [for example] ATPTB as a worthy hit [and well it was, but I digress]. If any Tempts track reached Top 20 or even Top 10, then it was [for them] their latest biggest hit. I guess my thought is that it's all relative. NBH didn't reach number one for The Supremes, but they had plenty of others to go in their pantheon of number one hits. We fans love it for the awesome song it is, the general public doesn't tend to think of it because there are 12 other identifiable Supremes songs they can point to and sing-along to.

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    Iím a little confused because this song IS considered a ďclassicĒ Supreme and Motown song. I hear it often enough on the radio. Itís only people on some internet sites that talk about chart position. No one else thinks that while driving and this song comes on, or when you are grocery shopping and this song is blaring throughout the store. Can you imagine overhearing a convo in isle 12 between shoppers about why this song didnít chart as high as Baby Love? Lol.

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    Along with the availability of More Hits... shortly after the release of Nothing But Heartaches, which was the reason I did not buy the single, the simultaneous release of the first two Coke commercials may have lessened the likelihood that people would buy the new 45.

    People well may have been confused, because when The Supremes' "new record" came on the radio, more than half the time it was one of the group's Coke ads, which were played in heavy rotation, and when the actual single was aired, people, only half-listening, could be forgiven for thinking it was yet another Coke ad.

    Generally, you would hear the Coke ads three or four times per hour, while you would hear the new single only once every two or three hours.

    Also, DJs added to the confusion, playing the ad, then the single, back-to-back, or vice versa. No matter which was played first, when one followed the other, it seemed like a very long Coke commercial, as there was no interruption and no break in the consistent sound of the group and the band.

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    Always one of my favorites. Number eleven on the charts is still pretty good. As mentioned before, I as well considered this to be the last "group" single. After this Mary and Flo's backing vocals are lowered and very basic except for a while until "You Keep Me Hanging On ". It was all about Diana after this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    They were probably trying to have fresh product for the distributors to coincide with the Copa engagement, especially since the last couple of albums hadn't done as well as WDOLG.
    Makes sense. I just checked "Back In My Arms Again". It peaked in early June, so my idea of releasing "Heartaches" in May right after it was completed wouldn't have made since. Of course I don't know how much time it took "Back" to fall out of the top 10, but I think it would've made sense to release "Heartaches" as soon as it did.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WaitingWatchingLookingForAChance View Post
    For me, this is as close to a perfect Motown records as you can get. I actually prefer it to "Back In My Arms."
    I used to prefer it to "Back", but I think they run about neck and neck with me these days. "Back" may have the edge. Where "Heartaches" to me has Diana sort of understated, while Flo and Mary and the Funks are ripping it up, "Back" has everybody firing on all cylinders. I love them both though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by daviddh View Post
    I love NBH.always have. But it didn't get the pr the other songs did.
    Twice bg had the girls sing a standard in place of NBH than ,on two shows they performed Mother Dear instead.
    A bit confusing
    Interesting point as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by khansperac View Post
    I’m a little confused because this song IS considered a “classic” Supreme and Motown song. I hear it often enough on the radio. It’s only people on some internet sites that talk about chart position. No one else thinks that while driving and this song comes on, or when you are grocery shopping and this song is blaring throughout the store. Can you imagine overhearing a convo in isle 12 between shoppers about why this song didn’t chart as high as Baby Love? Lol.
    True, but in this forum where we dissect the ins and outs of the music, the pondering of chart position can't be out of bounds.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floyjoy678 View Post
    Always one of my favorites. Number eleven on the charts is still pretty good. As mentioned before, I as well considered this to be the last "group" single. After this Mary and Flo's backing vocals are lowered and very basic except for a while until "You Keep Me Hanging On ". It was all about Diana after this one.
    I think "Itchin", "Hurry", "Hangin", "Love Is Here" and "Happening" are all great examples of the Supremes group sound. To my ears only "Symphony" and "My World" toned the girls down considerably. "Hurry" sort of has the girls a bit more into the orchestration than usual, but I chalk that up to Motown maybe trying to cover for the fact that Marlene replaced Flo, if that is in fact what happened.

    To me "Nothing But Heartaches" is the last time the Supremes released a single that was sort of standard girl group fare.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky2012 View Post
    In LA pop/top forty radio I remember Nothing But Heartaches being in the Top Ten. It's The Same Old Song was Top Five at the same time. Both were quite reminiscent of the preceding #1 hits by both groups. I think ITSOS was an even better song/record than I Can't Help Myself. At the time, I didn't think NBH was better than Back In My Arms Again. Now, I think it is more classic DMF Supremes than BIMAA. The alternate version with the instrumental break is my favorite track on the More Hits EE. It alone is worth the price of the More Hits EE! Thanks again, George & Andy

    As for pop chart placements by classic Motown hits, Baby, I Need Your Loving, Tracks of My Tears, Ain't Too Proud To Beg and Ain't No Mountain High Enough were not fully appreciated by pop radio until after the Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Temptations and Marvin Gaye truly achieved pop icon status. The DMF Supremes were the first Motown act to do so. I remember this even if I was just a youngster in 1965 !
    I think I commented that the instrumental break on the alternate version made the track even better the last time we discussed this subject.

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    Motown was still striving to reach the Pop market more than the R & B Market in 1965 1966 1967.

    I think at the time that NBH may have been regarded as a little bit more R & B than Pop [[which made it more popular with us fans). Perhaps that hurt it on the chart a little bit.

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    ^^^I can't agree, Rob. The "I can't break away..." sequence is pure pop.

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