"Love Takes Time" is a song written by Mariah Carey and Ben Margulies, and produced by Walter Afanasieff for Carey's debut album, Mariah Carey (1990). It was released as the album's second single in the third quarter of 1990. It was the first of several adult contemporary-influenced Carey ballads to be released as a single, and its protagonist laments the loss of a lover and confesses that "love takes time" to heal and that her feelings for her ex-lover remain. It became Carey's second number 1 single in the United States and Canada.


 [hide*1 Recording


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."

Carey 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." Carey 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 Carey flew west to work with Narada Michael Walden on some tracks for her first album, Tommy Mottola and Don Ienner were impressed with 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 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."

Afanasieff heard from Columbia executives as soon as they received the mix. They wanted Carey'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."[1]

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.


"Love Takes Time" was another success like Carey's debut single "Vision of Love" in the United States: it reached number 1 in its ninth week on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent three weeks at the top of the chart, from November 10 to 24, 1990. It spent 17 weeks in the top 40 and the RIAA certified it gold. It topped every other Billboard chart for which it was eligible (including the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks). 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.

However, "Love Takes Time" failed to emulate its U.S. success in any other market except Canada, where it topped the Canadian Singles Chart for one week. "Love Takes Time" did reach the top ten in New Zealand but it did not make much of an impact elsewhere, becoming a moderate top 20 hit in Australia, and a top 40 hit in the UK and the Netherlands. It failed to reach the top 40 in Germany, peaking at number fifty-seven.

The song did not receive as many awards as "Vision of Love," but still managed to win a BMI R&B Award for Song of the Year and Songwriter Award. The song also won Carey the 1991 Soul Train Music Award forBest R&B/Urban Contemporary New Artist.[2][3]

Music video and other versions[edit]Edit

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 Carey has admitted[when?] she is ashamed of it. A live performance of the song filmed at Proctor's Theatre in New York in 1993 was included instead.

Track listings[edit]Edit

Worldwide CD single

  1. "Love Takes Time"
  2. "Sent from Up Above"

UK CD single

  1. "Love Takes Time"
  2. "Vanishing"
  3. "You Need Me"

European CD maxi-single

  1. "Love Takes Time"
  2. "Sent from Up Above"
  3. "Vanishing"

UK limited edition picture disc

  1. "Love Takes Time"
  2. "Vanishing"
  3. "You Need Me"
  4. "Vision of Love"

Cover versions[edit]Edit

  • Philippine idol winner Mau Marcelo covered the song on her album "I Shine For You" in 2007.
  • Kelly Clarkson did a cover of this song while performing at a mini tour in 2003.


Preceded by

"Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice

Billboard Hot 100 number-one single

November 10, 1990 - November 24, 1990 (3 weeks)

Succeeded by

"I'm Your Baby Tonight" by Whitney Houston

Peak positions[edit]Edit

Chart (1990) Peak


Australian Singles Chart[4] 14
Canadian Singles Chart[5] 1
Dutch Singles Chart[6] 24
German Singles Chart[7] 57
New Zealand Singles Chart[8] 9
UK Singles Chart[9] 37
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 1
US BillboardHot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[10] 1
US BillboardAdult Contemporary[10] 1

Year-end charts[edit]Edit

Chart (1990) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[11] 76
Chart (1991) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[12] 69

Sales and certifications[edit]Edit

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[13] Gold 500,000^

  • sales figures based on certification alone ^shipments figures based on certification alone xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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