Through most of 1964 and into 1965, The Supremes were on top, having five number ones in succession. They’re sixth single was called “Nothing But Heartaches” and everyone held their breath to see if The Supremes could do it again. No one had ever had six number ones in a row. Well, after that song peaked at number eleven, not even making the Top 10, neither had The Supremes.
“I Hear a Symphony” was written by the same team that wrote all their other hits, known as Holland-Dozier-Holland, (Brian, Lamont and Eddie) they were three of the most talented songwriters in the business in the mid-Sixties. I think it’s safe to say, that Motown Records would never have reached the status it reached if it hadn’t been for Holland-Dozier-Holland.
They really wanted another number one for The Supremes. So, in spite of all that, “I Hear a Symphony” is quite different from the earlier hits. The key is different and the whole feel of the song is different. H-D-H were really taking a chance that it would be a hit. Diana Ross told a reporter in 1968 that this was one of her favorite songs to sing in concert.
They released the song as the title song of their eighth studio album I Hear a Symphony which peaked at number eight on the album chart and sold almost two million copies.
“I Hear a Symphony”was recorded on September 22, 1965, it entered the Hot 100 about a month later on October 30 at number 39 which was the highest any Supremes song had ever entered the charts. H-D-H were hopeful they had another hit on their hands. They had nothing to worry about. Three weeks later, on November 20 it hit number one and stayed there for two weeks.
They could not keep the streak going again, however, the next two songs, “My World Is Empty Without You” (#5) and “Love is Like an Itching in My Heart” (#9) were both Top 10, but not number one. After that they would come back with four number ones in a row. Stay tuned.