Love Takes Time
I sat down and wrote ‘Love Takes Time’ in about an hour
- Mariah Carey
Written by Mariah Carey & Ben Margulies
Produced by Water Afanasieff
3:50 Album Version
ABOUT THE SONG
I had just finished my album and I was out promoting it on a sort of a little mini tour, and I went home one weekend and I wrote a song with my writing partner, Ben Margulies, called 'Love Takes Time,’ and I went to the next city and it was just sort of business as usual. My record was being mastered, actually it was mastered and it was ready, being pressed, so I was all excited and I just said to one of the executives from the label, ‘Here listen to this, this is what I’m starting to write for my next album.’ And a bunch of them sat around and they listened to it and one of them looked up at me and said, ‘This is a #1 record, you have to put this on this album.” And I was like no! It took me so long to finish the first album, I’m done with this finally, and then I had to go back into the studio. Luckily I took their advice, because 'Love Takes Time' became my second #1 single, so thank God I did it! - 1991 The First Vision Video Interview
Walter Afanasieff: When Mariah Carey first came in, there was this buzz going around that Tommy Mottola has this singer, this young girl who’s going to blow everyone away. “Forget Whitney, she’s like the next Aretha Franklin, the most incredible singer of all time and songwriter.” I was working for [Michael Walden] Narada, and it wouldn’t have been possible for me to get to produce or even get near her. But, again, we go through this little luck thing, and Tommy Mottola heard some of the tracks I was doing and asked a few questions back in 1989, when Mariah was working with Narada. A few of the questions were answered with my name, and so Tommy, who’s just an entrepreneurial genius, was moved by the tracks I was doing for Narada for Mariah’s music. The song “Love Takes TIme,” which she had a huge hit with, I didn’t produce it, but I did the whole track. When Tommy heard it, he went, “Wow, this is beautiful. Who did all this?” Ultimately, my name came up. At that particular time, he talked to me, and then there was an opportunity where one more song needed to be done. The album had already been mastered and pressed and everything, and he asked me to do one more song. It’s a song called “I Don’t Want To Cry.” I took the song and recorded it in one day, flew to New York and recorded Mariah’s vocals, came back and mixed it the third day. Normally, it would take a week to do the music and all kinds of time would be involved. So, I did this and gave it back to him, and it was like a huge hit. That was my first producing hit. Mariah and I met each other, sat down, did this work and realized that I was this keyboard-player guy who writes and she’s this singer/melody composer, and we set this new way of writing with each other, and we’ve never stopped. - Billboard “Walter Afanasieff: The Billboard Interview” by David Farinella - December 12, 1998
Mariah’s debut album for the label was completed and being mastered when she wrote the song with Ben Margulies. ‘It was sort of a gospelish thing I was improvising, then we began working on it,’ Margulies 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 10 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,’ Margulies recalls. ‘(Tommy) Mottola, Ienner and Bobby Colombo.’ Mariah was told the song was a ‘career-maker,’ and that it had to go on the first album. Mariah protested- her albu, was already being mastered and she intended this ballad for her next release.
The demo was sent to producer Walter Afanasieff. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1958, Afanasieff grew up in San Francisco. He met producer Narada Michael Walden there in 1981, and first worked with him run the studio on Aretha Franklin’s Who’s Zoomin’ Who album. When Mariah flew west to work with Narada 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,’ remember Afanasieff. ‘He said, ‘We’ve got this Mariah Carey album done, but there’s a song that she and Ben Margulies 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 that we needed to get from Mariah. She fixed that one line very quickly, then (engineer) Dana (Jon Chappelle) 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 the music, kind of like a day for vocals, and a say for mixing.”
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,” Margulies 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. - 2003 Fred Bronson “The Billboard Book of Number 1 Hits” “Columbia Records literally stopped the presses for Mariah Carey’s ‘Love Takes Time.’ Page 772
“This song came about when a record label executive told me that most of my songs were ‘urban leaning’ and we didn’t have a ‘pop ballad’ to follow ‘Vision of Love.’ I sat down and wrote ‘Love Takes Time’ in about an hour in a little studio in the back of the woodshed where I wrote most of my demos in.” - 2015 #1 to Infinity liner notes
NOTABLE LIVE PERFORMANCES
1990 Released on the Mariah Carey album.
1998 Included on the #1s compilation album.
2001 Included on the Greatest Hits compilation album.
2009 Included on the The Ballads/Love Songs compilation album.
2015 Included on the #1 to Infinity compilation album.