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"Love Takes Time" is a song and the second single by Mariah Carey from her debut album, Mariah Carey. The song was written by Mariah Carey and Ben Margulies, and produced by Walter Afanasieff. The song was recorded in May of 1990 and was officially released as the second single on September 11, 1990 in the third quarter of 1990. It was the first of several adult comtemporary-influenced Mariah Carey ballads to be released as a single and her second number one song of her career.
The protagonist of the song laments the loss of a lover and confesses that "love takes time" to heal and that her feelings for her ex-lover remain.
Mariah Carey's debut album for the label was completed and being mastered when she wrote the song with Ben Marguiles. "It was sort of a gospelish thing I was improvising, then we began working on it," Marguiles relates. "It was on a work tape that we had...and we recorded a very quick demo. It was just a piano vocal demo - I played live piano, and she sang it."
Mariah was on a mini-tour of ten states, playing acoustically with a piano player and three back-up singers. While on a company plane, she played the demo of "Love Takes Time" for Columbia Records president Don Ienner. "All the important guys were on the plane," Marguiles recalls. "Tommy Mottola, Ienner, and Bobby Colomby." Mariah was told the song was a "career-maker," and that it had to go on the first album. She protested - her album was already being mastered, and she intended this ballad for her next release.
The demo was sent to producer Walter Afanasieff. When Mariah flew west to work with Narada Michael Walden on some tracks for her first album, Tommy Mottola and Don Ienner were impressed with Walter Afanasieff's work and gave him an executive staff producer job with the label.
"I guess to see if he made the right choice, (Tommy) called me up one day," remembers Walter Afanasieff. "He said, 'We've got this Mariah Carey album done, but there's a song that she and Ben Marguiles wrote that is phenomenal, and I want to try everything we can to put it on the album.' I said, 'What do you want me to do?' and he said, 'You only have a couple of days, but are you ready to cut it?' I couldn't believe the opportunity that it was. I'd never produced anything by myself up until that time."
The demo was very close to what Mottola wanted the finished product to be, according to Afanasieff. "We cut the song and the music and the basics in about a day - and the only reason is this deadline. It was do it or we were gonna miss out on the whole thing. We got the tape and recorded everything and we got on the plane and went to New York (and) did her vocals. She did all the backgrounds, practically sang all night...We came back to the studio that afternoon, and we had to fix one line very quickly, and then (engineer) Dana (Jon Chapelle) and I got back on the plane with the tape, went back to the studio in Sausalito, and mixed it. So it was a three-day process: a day and a half for music, kind of like a day for vocals, and a day for mixing."
Walter Afanasieff heard from Columbia executives as soon as they received the mix. They wanted Mariah's vocal a little louder, so a remix was quickly completed. The producer asked if the song would still make the debut album, and was told, "We're going to do our best."
When the album was released, "Love Takes Time" was not listed on the cassette or compact disc. "(On) some of the original first copies of the record, they didn't have time to print the name of the song," Marguiles laughs. "And so the song's on there, but it doesn't say that it's on there. It was a song that actually was strong enough to stop the pressing...I don't know if they had to throw away a few hundred copies."
For the release to radio, a second mix was created that muffled Carey's whistle note in the background of the song, during the song's bridge. This version of the song appeared in all of the official single releases of "Love Takes Time" in the US and abroad.
The single's video, directed by Jeb Brien and Walter Maser, features Carey walking around a beach after a man walks away with luggage in Venice, Los Angeles, California. The video is not included on the DVD/home video #1's (1999) because Mariah has admitted that she is ashamed of it. A live performance of the song filmed at Proctor's Theatre in New York in 1993 was included instead.
"Love Takes Time" became Mariah's second #1 hit song of her career. The song spent three weeks on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from November 10th to November 24th. It spent 19 weeks in the top 40 and it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The song also topped Billboard's R&B and Adult Contemporary charts once again. Because its success was divided over two calendar years it did not rank high on Billboard's "Year End" charts, making #76 on the 1990 chart and #69 on the 1991 chart.
Even though "Love Takes Time" also peaked at #1 in Canada, it failed to make an impact elsewhere, only reaching the top 40 in the UK and the Netherlands, the top 10 in New Zealand, the top 20 in Australia, but failed to reach the top 40 in Germany. The song didn't receive as many awards as "Vision of Love" did, but it managed to win a BMI R&B Award for "Song of the Year" and a "Songwriter Award."
|Australian Singles Chart||14|
|Canadian Singles Chart||1|
|Dutch Singles Chart||24|
|German Singles Chart||57|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||9|
|UK Singles Chart||37|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs||1|