At an early point in his career, Tyrone Davis was singing in a gruff blues shouter vein. Listen to his mid-'60s sides for Chicago-based 4 Brothers label; the vocal style is the antithesis of the soft stylings that would characterize the singer's biggest hits. Songwriter/4 Brothers co-owner Jack Daniels was discussing Davis with Barry Despenza, the co-writer of Davis' first big national hit, "Can I Change My Mind." Despenza passed along advice from DJ Big Bill Hill of local station WOPA. Hill said Davis was singing too hard and imitating the style of other R&B singers. Daniels and his partner Johnny Moore spent some learning time with Philly talents songwriters/arrangers Thom Bell and Bobby Martin. Daniels and Moore wrote "Turn Back the Hands of Time" based on the relationship problems Daniels was having at the time. They shopped the song to Davis' producer Carl Davis. The singer was signed to the producer's Dakar label. After approving the song, the producer passed it along to arrangers Tom Washington and Willie Henderson. The session for "Turn Back the Hands of Time" included many of the same musicians on "Can I Change My Mind": drummer Quinton Joseph, guitarist Carl Woolfolk, pianist Floyd Morris, and background vocals by Barbara Acklin and Chi-Lites members Eugene Record and Robert "Squirrel" Lester. The million-selling "Turn Back the Hands of Time" parked at number one R&B for two weeks and hit number three pop in spring 1970.