(This idea was sponsored by fellow Astrologer Wonder Bright.)
About a week and a half ago, Wonder commented that an alternate Capricorn “girl-group-a-scope” could be The Supremes 7th #1, “You Can’t Hurry Love.” It didn’t take me long to realize that, well, there’s enough Supremes Chart Toppers for each sign. What was I waiting for? As the Golden Anniversary of their most groundbreaking year draws to a close, I send them back into Space as I look at which astrological signs coordinate best with their most famous songs. It’s not always a logical pairing of their recording date(s), release dates or peak times on the Billboard Hot 100, but some pure essence distillation that inherently, America’s Sweethearts of the Sixties speak to everyone, and every sign.
“Stop! In The Name Of Love” (Motown 1074, 1965)
If there’s ever a definitive, distinct, and albeit signature calling card in the Supremes vast catalog of hit records, the title decidedly goes to their fourth #1. When you think of The Supremes, you first and foremost think of raising your hand in that arresting gesture.
Although I pre-warned about trying to tie specifics to the actuality of the Astrology during the songs run, “Stop!” did peak at the height of Aries Season in late March through Early April of ’65. Nothing like celebrating your 21st Birthday with the #1 hit in the Country like Diana Ross did that year.
It is also very “Aries” to be adamant, action orientated and well, a bit accusatory. Those are all elements of the most straightforward call out of bad behavior in the Supremes Catalog. It’s the one Supremes record that declares war and has the focus of the song being about self-preservation and determination. Ever known an Aries to not be about their interests first?
“Back In My Arms Again” (Motown 1075, 1965)
Out of the run of The Supremes first 5 #1 hits, “Back In My Arms Again” was the most frolicsome, carefree and celebratory. However, there’s always a lumbering sense of tension, a temperamental boil to the proceedings that come into full force after some shady name checking of those “other two” Supremes, Florence and Mary. We all know our first Venus sign can invite the heavens and the wrath of hell with a fixed determination. Among the “touchdown” feel of this song (which built steam all through Taurus Season of ’65), one can see the bull ready to charge when challenged.
“I’ve listened once to my friends advice, but it’s not gonna happen twice” speaks to the legendary tendency for Taurean folks to be stubborn. The title itself, a celebration ode to the satisfactory nature of possession deepens the desire ties. Taurus likes tangible things, and there’s nothing like having your boo back, right by your side, so you can exult that you’re so satisfied.
“The Happening” (Motown 1107, 1967)
It’s the first Supremes #1 not explicitly a “love song.” It’s perhaps the only Supremes #1 Hit record objectively about the human condition, happenstance, and the changing winds of fate & fortune. With one’s mind alive, you wake up, suddenly just wake up, and all of a sudden, like coming out of a Venusian slumber, you’re a prattle with Mercurial thoughts.
It’s also The Supremes first Multi-media #1 hit, also being the theme song for a Faye Dunaway/Anthony Quinn Movie of the same name. What could be more Gemini than being the biggest bundle of thoughts in a group of something. It’s a hit record, a movie theme, a sage piece of advice, and a fun romp worth becoming a blaring hip hop sample 40 years later. Okay, as a Gemini I might take a bit more ownership over “The Happening” since, in happenstance, it was my senior quote in my High School Year Book.
It’s also a wise bit of message dressed it the most absurd of Mid/Late 60’s Sunshine Pop. In a lot of ways it’s the least likely of #1 hits by The Supremes. Despite its wise warnings, it doesn’t take life too seriously. The level of mental awareness doesn’t deflate Diana, nor Mary nor Florence in their performances. Maybe it has to do with all three Supremes having prominent Gemini in their charts (Diana and Mary Mars/Uranus in Gemini, Florence with a host of Moon, Mercury, Saturn and Uranus placed there). That ability not to deflate comes with a bit of bittersweet quicksilver; it is the last #1 hit record Florence Ballard appeared on before being fired from the group.
“Come See About Me” (Motown 1068, 1964)
It starts off with the opening line of “I’ve Been Crying (Boo-Hoo)” for Chrissakes. Not to play into Cancer stereotypes, but if we’re to go with the Cardinal-Emotional component of the premiere Water Sign, there’s no reason to look further than the blatant emotions of “Come See About Me.”
Like the Cardinal Predecessor above, it does have a particular Astrology-in-the-moment connection, as its mid July of ’64 completion date puts it smack dab being completed in Cancer season. Perhaps there’s something to be said that it saw the bulk of its success at the height of the Capricorn Christmas Season of ’64 speaks to the desire of warmth and cuddles at the height of the coldest part of the year. We can add in that it was the “accidental” #1 only released in retaliation to Nella Dodds’s cover. Cancer protects what it cherishes, and there was no way an outsider was going to make bank on a Supremes album track.
“Come See About Me” is the first #1 that’s completely in its feels; sometimes it’s up, sometimes it’s down and all it wants you to do is cuddle up with it and reassure it. Its predecessor #1’s have a slightly different bend that’ll come up shortly. Otherwise it’s going to keep crying for you. Utterly devoted to be the soldier of love in the Supremes catalog, I’ve always felt that the emotional grudge held by this hit was enough to give fodder for the remaining Supremes catalog until Diana Ross went solo.
“Baby Love” (Motown 1066, 1964)
Cute as a kitten, how can you deny the charms of a Leo….or “Baby Love” for that matter? Away from the resolute mechanical precision of the Supremes first chart topping effort, winner #2 (appropriate for the 2nd Fire sign in the zodiac) had a wonderful base template to be more theatrical, more flamboyant.
Indeed it was ordered to be less demure by Motown Mastermind Berry Gordy; there’s a very “cowardly lion” first take of “Baby Love” that got locked in the vaults before the peacock re-record got the stamp of approval. Finished a month after “Come See About Me” at the tail’s end of Leo season, it couldn’t help but steal the spotlight once the kinks in the royal mane were combed out, as it saw single release a full 6 weeks earlier. Stage Hog.
Just like a Leo, it’s the biggest stage hog out of all of The Supremes #1 hits. Although it doesn’t rank as the best-seller of their #1 hits, it stayed at the top of the Billboard Charts for a Full Month, from Halloween to Thanksgiving 1964. Leo also needs an audience, and I’ve never met a Leo that ain’t too proud to beg. Asking what they did wrong to lose their crowd of even one is very much in the Leo tradition in my eyes. Of course, that’s all backed up with the assertion that their love is far too valuable to throw away; after all that’s the note the song finishes on. It wouldn’t be the humble lion without a thread of ego underlying all the proceedings.
“Where Did Our Love Go?” (Motown 1060, 1964)
Sometimes you just open the conversation with a question. How does Virgo gather all the answers? Virgo gets the answers by repeating the question until they get those answers. The work of saying “Baby, Baby” (a systematic tick of a phrase that would continually show up in The Supremes work) 71 times in 2 minutes and 35 seconds makes me give the methodical tip of mercurial analytical hat to The Supremes first #1 hit.
The legend of hard work and due diligence of finding what’s “just right” fits into the mythology of “Where Did Our Love Go?” as well. After 5 years of hard work, touring, and trying on different vocal costumes that wouldn’t fit, Motown’s Disney Princesses would find their breakthrough success in the form of a hand-me-down dress of a record from Motown’s first Mercurial Maiden, Gladys Horton. It would peak as the Sun shifted from Leo to Virgo as summer wound down, after the Supremes spent 2 months on the road promoting the song.
“Where Did Our Love Go” is also a fantastic story song. Although it starts in present tense, in the current mental-emotional state, it retraces every little detail of how the relationship began and documents the steps of how it all started to unravel, piece by piece, taking breathers and breaks in those “Baby, Babys.” Spending the rest of the time flashing between present and past, the Supremes first pole position success is a brilliant piece of Mercurial time jumping analysis. By the time it clunks to a thudding end, you have all of the research, and all of the answers about how to proceed. You can’t get any more Virgo than that.
“You Keep Me Hangin’ On” (Motown 1101, 1966)
Libra was the first sign to give me difficulty in paring a Supremes #1 song to its archetype. I immediately went for pure Venusian, assigning some of the more “pure beauty” of a few other Supremes hits. Then, with a bit of debate and conversation with a fellow astrologer, I had to do a process of elimination. I can’t purely focus on the positive and negate the negative. If “Stop! In The Name Of Love” is all about Martian self determination, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is all about the Venusian process of trying to strike a balance or cutting the cord, whichever is easiest.
In that desire to strike balance, Libra can be an energy that relies on passive aggressive behavior and quite a bit of gaslighting. The underlying vibe of independence desired in The Supremes 8th #1 hit is completely reliant on the other person making the decision. It isn’t Diana (with Florence Ballard being the extra scale of balance quite often on this record) the protagonist calling the shots, but in actuality, she is very strategically trying to surgically remove herself from an emotionally unfulfilling situation.
All the action items are about what the dude *should* do. Libra likes to win, or suffer as little when it comes to matters of the heart, and will work hard at letting others give them what they want, even if that’s for you to get the hell out of their lives so they can sleep at night. I guess it should come as no surprise that this backwards anti-independence anthem was released at the tail-end of Libra season ’66, then. Case closed.
“Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone” (Motown 1103, 1967)
Obsession and accusation, reinforced with old school Mars self preservation (the traditional ruler of Scorpio) and Plutonic upheaval (the sometimes modern ruler of Scorpio). The least Motown-y of The Supremes #1 hits makes a very epic, heaven or hell transformative statement. It’s the one Supremes record done in stage play mode; there’s a distinct Act I, Act II and Act III here.
There’s the core belief here that there was love always, and there’ll always be love. it’s just the other persons fault for not making the commitments and laying a series of booby traps that squandered all the opportunities for love to flourish. If you’ve ever had a Scorpio go ballistic on you, I wouldn’t be surprised, verbatim, that they said “look at my face, see how crying has left its trace.” I wouldn’t be surprised if they turned the whole community you ran in against you either.
This is the First Supremes chart topper that not only has Florence and Mary reinforcing the betrayal via their response backgrounds, but you have the eternal damnation of The Andantes as final judgment “sweetener” to round out the proceedings in a fashion not unlike but totally unlike their role on Martha & The Vandellas “Jimmymack.” The deeper we get, the more we make actual astrological connections to the original life of the records and the skies of the times. Although it saw dawn in the middle of Capricorn season of ’67, the final obsessive touches were put on “Love Is Here” during Scorpio Season ’66, after using the full set of resources of Motown Los Angeles and Motown Detroit.
“I Hear A Symphony” (Motown 1083, 1965)
So Sagittarius has the charm to swindle while leaving a smile on your face. Consider “I Hear A Symphony” the Supremes #1 Sagittarius swindled from Libra. I asked Nick Dagan Best, ye’ ole comrade of History/Astrology crossover about this dilemma (blame my Moon/Mars?) and he (rightly, ever tell a Leo he’s wrong?) gently reminded me to focus on the Jupiterian aspects of “I Hear A Symphony” versus the Venusian-relational aspects of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
True to my moon, I got to pondering and pontificating and eventually agreed. Nobody said Sagittarians had an original thought in their minds or souls, but once they’re convinced of a good one they’ll run endurance distances with it. Speaking of swiftness, “I Hear A Symphony” was one of the most swift Supremes songs to reach the top of the Pop Charts, taking approximately 5 weeks to go from release to the top, staying there through the early Sagittarius Thanksgiving ‘65 season.
One thing we can never fault Sagittarius for is the ability to be buoyant, optimistic, righteously so. So it seems appropriate to assign The Supremes most unabashedly joyful song to the archer sign always shooting for their dreams, reasonable or impractical. It’s a prayer of thanks that peaked at a time when most Americans take the time to look inwards, around copious amounts of food, and give thanks for those they love. It does, like the other two Fire Sign assigned Supremes efforts, get a bit dogmatic, but, the intentionality is pure.
“You Can’t Hurry Love” (Motown 1097, 1966)
Once you reach the mountain top, you might yield success. Capricorn energy wants you to put in your dues before you’re rewarded, so it’s by no joke a Capricorn Astrologer told me this was the Capricorn Supremes #1. Again, my mutable as hell ass isn’t here for debating when people are right as reason. You can’t get away from Saturnine responsibility. Take wisdom to the core of what you need, what you desire and what will healthily sustain you.
Nevermind the fact in the whole life of the song is governed by a parental figure. Don’t forget what you’ve learned and what you’ve inherited to keep you afloat in rougher seas of life. Of course, it’s one of the most successful “Mama Said” songs of all time, and we know how Capricorn prizes success. Oft covered, it’s probably one of the songs that keeps the Holland-Dozier-Holland team rolling in royalties half a century later.
It’s advice and morals reliable as a paycheck every 2 weeks. That’s reality that can’t hurt that much.
“Love Child” (Motown 1135, 1968)
Well it is the most eccentric tale in the canon of Supremes #1s. And if I had a quarter for every side eye I’ve dished out to an Aquarius for coming from complete left field kinda/sorta relating to the conversational subject with something that kinda fits but kinda trumps all over you, I’d definitely make a resource orientated Capricorn or two proud.
The themes of higher knowledge and the responsibility attached are fixed themes in “Love Child.” Alongside the Saturn wisdom (the traditional ruler of Aquarius) there’s the bit of Uranian oddball rebel (the sometimes modern ruler of Aquarius) in the Supremes scandalous 11th (ha, the connections just keep coming) #1 hit.
Social Stigma and Social Justice walk hand in hand with very uptight concerns about out of wedlock birth and monogamy. It’s all a delightful commentary on the mixed messages offered to Black Women in post-war America; the moral responsibility to the whole world relied on the juxtaposition of sexual desire versus the reality of being a child of the Ghetto. This reality meant being a Black person whose family didn’t have the same access and support to thrive outside of the Madonna/Whore wedding industrial complex fed to all Americans, but was more amorphous for those that happened to be white. The knowledge to make the “right” choices. Or are they right? Ugh Aquarius I wish you wouldn’t keep on throwing knowledge bombs to disrupt shit.
“Someday We’ll Be Together” (Motown 1156, 1969)
It’s perfectly Poetic and Piscean to end with the Supremes 12th and final #1 and assign it to the last sign of the Zodiac. There’s themes of endings, faith in release and knowing that somehow there’s unification. Where exactly that is will be the problem of the Virgo back in ’64 trying to figure out the answer with 71 “Baby, Babys.”
It shouldn’t be surprising that the floaty wandering nature of the Supremes longest length #1 Single has so little actual connection to The actual Supremes in general. It does distill a whole lot about where R&B music had been during the 1960’s, and perfectly, was the song that was the absolute last #1 of the 1960s on both the Pop and R&B charts. It’s a funny, Jupiterian meandering path for a song that started as a Doo-Wop ditty in 1961, and was more or less intended as a Diana Ross’s first Solo single.
With nary a Supreme in sight and producer Johnny Bristol being her perfect foil, it was perhaps the most nuanced and nurtured by the whole Motown community of Supremes #1 hits. Just as it’s a series of lasts, it was a series of firsts; as it stands it’s the only Supremes Chart Topper that was a cover song as well. The Neptunian (the sometimes modern ruler of Pisces) influence of deceptive glamour on the part of The Supremes final #1 floats us off this perfect place to draw these gifts from the 60’s, and the sweet gifts of The Supremes to a close.