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This song developed a large following and continues to get airplay on many radio stations. It's a pure love song about a woman who enters a man's life and changes his world for the better. The message of love and friendship, along with the line, "You got what it takes so I made you my wife," made the song very popular at weddings.
Bass player Derek Holt wrote this song. He told us: "It was about meeting my first wife, meeting the lady that's going to encourage me to do what I did best, and that was be a musician, with no qualms about it. I used to go away from home, used to leave her behind, and used to come back. I was a hippie, a drinking hippie with really long hair. We had a great time - I'm meeting my wife, since then I've never looked back. You know, pretty much out living a dream, because, 'Ooo, I love you.' You could say it's for one person, but it's quite generic. At that particular moment in time, everything was right. You know, usually songs appear from nowhere, and that one appeared in a couple of hours. Why, I have no idea, but it did. And I guess the influence was the person I was with at the time."
Holt: "That song was written in my house. After a couple of hours just sitting in my studio I came up with this song I Love You - words, solo, drums, the whole thing. And I thought, 'Well, it's a lovely song.' We had a guy come over from L.A., an American producer called John Ryan, who arrived in Stafford to do some pre-production on an album that we were going to record in Los Angeles called Flying The Flag. So he came to England and spent probably 2 weeks with us going through all the tracks that we'd got. And he said, 'Does anybody have any more songs?' I'd already played my song to the band and they didn't really like it; it was a little bit too lovey, so I said to John Ryan, 'I've got this song called 'I Love You.'' He said, 'Well, play it for me.' So I plugged in my cassette, played it, then he said, 'That's a hit.' Just like that. Everybody just sort of looked at each other and said, 'Oh, bloody hell.' So anyway, we ended up going to Los Angeles, and that song was recorded with just me and the drummer because the other two guys weren't really into the song. So it's me, the drummer, and a fantastic keyboard player named Nicky Hopkins. He's since died, unfortunately. He was the sort of legendary keyboard player, he played with The Stones and lots of people like that, and he was great. So it was me, Nicky Hopkins and the drummer in the studio. We all sat down together and played the basic backing track. I then put the bass on it, sang it, did all the harmonies, then I got Pete - the guitarist - to play the lead solo, which was the solo that I wanted to be played. So he played the solo, because he was the guitarist - reluctantly. Then John Ryan said, 'This song needs some strings.' So he got a string section in at whatever cost it was, which also pissed the other guys in the band off to think that the strings were a big part of my song. Then Warner Brothers arrived to hear all the tracks, and everybody was blown away by 'I Love You,' this song that I believed in, the producer believed in, but none of the other guys did, and it became a hit. And it's just unbelievable that nobody else in the band recognized it other than the producer and me. So the story's quite phenomenal, really. And it's also probably one of the reasons why the band split up in the end, because they weren't into playing it live, and I was. The song was in the charts, we had the tour booked, and two guys in the band said, 'We're not going to go to America to promote Derek Holt's career.' How's that for faith?"
After forming in 1968 as The Climax Chicago Blues Band (they dropped the "Chicago" to avoid confusion with the group of that name), The Climax Blues Band had their first hit in 1976 with "Couldn't Get It Right." They had a strong following and worked hard touring Europe and America, but this song created a great deal of tension in the band. Says Holt: "There had been a 4 or 5 year gap in between hits, and it was just like, 'Here we are again, we've got another song.' It was like a gift to be given another chance at stardom, and we could have taken it up another level. Sadly, the other guys just didn't want to know. I could write a book about the situation, you wouldn't believe what happened, but there just came a point when it was like, 'Well, what's the point in carrying on?'"
The Climax Blues Band continued into the '90s without Holt, but they never played this song live. Says Holt: "We toured for years and years, and it just became a bloody nightmare, really. I guess what I should have done, really, was say to the guys - in hindsight now - say right, if you don't come to America with me, I'll get somebody else. That's what I should have done instead of backing off and bowing out. That's the way it goes, but even now looking back 20-odd years, it's bloody sad. It's a very sad tale. You can't even buy any Climax CDs now, you can hardly buy any product. Neither Pete Haycock or Colin Cooper seemed to want to have anything to do with me, but I just think it would be nice to have it re-released and maybe have the albums back in the shops again."
This song is very hard to find, since it does not appear on compilations, is not available for download and the original album is out of print. Since the band refused to perform it and distanced themselves from it, the song suffered from a lack of promotion that kept it from becoming a much bigger hit and severely restricted its availability. It is not included on other Climax Blues Band greatest hits packages.
Holt: "The only time I've ever performed that song live in America, I went to Florida last year (2005) to Clearwater with my family, and I ended up in a karaoke bar. It's called Big Ben's, it's like an English pub. My wife and I sat down, the reason we went to the pub was because we dig liver and onions and a pint of real English beer. So we went down there and sure enough there's karaoke on, and the karaoke book gets put onto your table. We were sifting through it, and I'm looking at Climax Blues Band. Couldn't Get It Right wasn't even in the book, but Climax Blues Band I Love You was in the book. So my wife called the guy over. She said, 'This song I Love You,' this guy here was in The Climax Blues Band and he wrote it and he sang it.' And the guy said, 'Never.' Anyway, I went up on the stage, and of course as soon as I opened my mouth and started singing it, it was obvious it was me. I was him. And the place went wild. I never bought a drink again the whole night. That's the one and only time. In fact, I've got a photograph of it with my little girl. She came up with me and helped me sing it. She's only 10, but we stood there and everybody got up and danced and as soon as it finished everyone was like, 'Bloody hell, where's the limo?'" (thanks to Derek Holt for speaking with us about this song)
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