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This was the first hit written by Randy Goodrum, a Nashville songwriter and keyboard player who went on to write "Oh Sherrie
," "Bluer Than Blue
" and "If She Would Have Been Faithful...
" In our interview with Randy Goodrum
, he told us: "It was sort of an unconditional undeserved love. How could you love me as if I'm perfect, when I'm not? It was a disclaimer, sort of, for the other person. How could you need me? It's not exactly the same premise as 'I wouldn't belong to a club who'd have me as a member,' but it's a small sliver of unconditional love, which to me is a broad piece of pizza that you can take a lot of minute slivers from along the way. I've always thought that songs, even positive songs, needed to have a certain amount of shadow in them for the light to be significant. And I think too many songwriters are afraid to offend the world, and they never write anything dramatic. They never put anything negative. But to me, you can have negative in a song, as long as there's a ray of hope somewhere. Maybe a way out. Not a saccharine, syrupy way out. It's like in a movie where you see somebody locked in a cave, and suddenly they see a rock fall away and they see a little piece of light come in, they say, 'Ah, maybe if I work really hard I can get out that way.'"
This is a rare hit song that has no chorus. Goodrum tells the story: "I wrote the melody as sort of a classical-ish feeling piece. I used to write snippets of things and leave them in a pile - my lyric writing developed much later. Music always came easy for me, and so I had tons of musical ideas that I'd written since God knows when. I sat down several times to try to write a lyric to that song, and it just never would hit. Then I was in my music room cleaning up, and I think my wife Gail was in the next room. I sat down at the piano to take a break, and got two or three lines right away. It felt real good, real sincere. So I dashed out most of the lyrics - at least for the verses – right then. When I get a premise, or I really get onto what I'm doing, I can write pretty fast. And I remember showing it to Gail, and she said, 'Yeah, that's pretty good.' At one point, I got disgusted with it and threw it away. And then I went and got it back and decided, No, I'll get around it. So then I played it for a few people, and my first publisher, Bob Milsap, told me, 'You know, you could use a bridge or something in this, or a chorus.' So I wrote the bridge rather than a chorus, and after I did that I went and started playing it for people and demoing it for them, and people said, 'Oh, this needs a chorus.' I said, 'Why? It'll be too long.'"
Anne Murray was struggling with the pressures of juggling her career and her family life with her husband Bill Langstroth and her toddler son William. One day she was going through a box of tapes when she came across a song that expressed just how she was feeling. Unfortunately, only the writer's name, Randy Goodrum, was on the cassette but her producer researched his name in the phone book and she recorded his song. It became her second American #1 and to this day it remains the favorite of her own recordings.
It was about 7 years between when Goodrum started writing this song and Murray recorded it.
In 1999 the Irish boy band Boyzone covered this and took it to the top of the UK charts. It was their manager Louis Walsh who suggested that they record the song. Says Goodrum: "I've gotten to know Ronan Keating (of Boyzone), and he said his parents really loved it. (laughs) That's okay. You know, it's very difficult to do that song correctly. It's one of those songs that if you overdo it, then you blow it. A lot of my songs are that way. 'Foolish Heart
' is that way, 'Bluer Than Blue,' 'Broken Hearted Me.' All of my songs of that particular type, if you oversing them, they sound really lounge-y, they sound real American Idol
. You have to let the song do the work, and you have to realize that you can knock somebody over with a feather if you let emotion lead the way. You don't have to belt it out like Michael Bolton, in other words. And so even though Ronan is a power singer - he really is, he's got a very powerful voice - I thought he did it very sensitively, with a big production and all that. There have been some covers of 'You Needed Me' that I appreciate, but they kind of over-did it." Goodrum went on to write "All Over Again" for Keating.
In Malaysia, this was #1 for 10 weeks.
This won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance.
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