You Needed Me

Album: Let's Keep It That Way (1978)
Charted: 22 1
Play Video


  • 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.

Comments: 15

  • Eunike from IndonesiaI found the soul of the "You Needed Me" song. It's just because I paid attention on it a year ago. For me it was telling the gratitude of how romantic Jesus Christ's love to us.
  • Dr Jan And Meridith Dahlin from Gulf Breeze , FlKnew Randy in college—so happy for his success!
  • Mama D from Sacramento, CaAl from Henderson, TN.....this song just popped into my head today. I just listened to it for the 1st time in over 35 was like I "heard" it for the 1st time, yet I knew all of the words went so far beyond my went all the way into my described it PERFECTLY.
  • Frank B. from Mono, Ontario - CanadaI always cry like a baby every time I listen to these sad songs! It happens every time!
  • Jane Lesley Wall from 14 Daleside Close Orpington KentI happened to love this song I love Cilla Black version of it the album was Cilla Love Songs especially for you album one of my favourites of all times one of my favourites albums
  • Dedo Suwanda from CanadaOnly God can have such "unconditional love". The more I listen to this song, the more I can understand that "you" refers to God. But, does God really need me? Yes, He does. He chose me to be His son. He wants me. He needs me to be in His family.
  • Prem from Johor Bahru, MalaysiaI have also liked the same song by Kamahl.
  • Dee from New York, OrLOVE Anne Murray. As a kid, it never hit me she didn't WRITE all the emotions. It's cool. Someone had to put the words down. Only she could wrinkle her eyes with that emotion!
  • Al from Henderson, Tn, TnThough it is not commonly accepted, I would argue that Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany are one and the same person. (See the works of Margaret Starbird.) The Catholic church accepted this position for 1500 years. And for some reason changed their mind in 1969. The text specifically states it was Mary of Bethany who anointed Jesus (John 11: 1,2). In John 12:7 Jesus said she was to keep the ointment for the day of his burial. Who was it that showed up on the resurrection morning with the spices? See John 20 and Mark 16:1. It was Mary Magdalene. In some of the verses she is simply called Mary and in others she is called Mary Magdalene (See John 20:1-18).
  • Michael Scott from Punta Gorda, FlActually I think you are thinking of Mary of Bethany or Lazarus' sister. The song's chorus does come after verses 1 and 3.
  • Erik from Bloomfield Hills, MiMost of the songs that I like are harder rock, but no song ever came close to moving me as much as this song. When I re-discovered it a few days ago and heard it for the first time since I was a toddler, it moved me to tears. I think that it really activated something in me from that time, but I don't know what. The emotion hit me really hard and fast, and no, I wasn't drunk or on drugs. No other song has ever come close to affecting me like this.

    It also describes perfectly my relationship with a few dear friends I've recently met.
  • Al from Henderson, Tn, TnThis song describes perfectly the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene. She is known for her tears, tears that fell from her eyes onto his feet where she wiped them away with her hair. Jesus cured her from seven demons (mental illness, most likely). By having seven, it was the worst of the worst. She had been confused, but her mind was now clear. Some symptoms of a bipolar manic illness include hyperactivity, super sexuality, racing thoughts. She may have sold her soul, and Jesus may have brought her home. She never left him and was a part of that entourage of women that paid for his ministry and followed him around. She was at the cross when the apostles were not. Yes, at one time she was lost, but Jesus brought her life back. And she couldn't believe it was him. He put her high on a pedastal by appearing to her first after the resurrection. This is eery if Goodrum didn't have her in mind when he wrote the song. I would like to have a reaction to this analysis from others.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdRandy Goodrum didn't actually record this song but might have demoed it. Goodrum did record it in the late 1990s on a CD that contained songs that he wrote for other artists (El DeBarge's Who's Holding Donna Now, George Benson's 20/20 and several artists)
  • Donna from College Station, Txsong was No 9 Oct 1978 Pop Singles list. source Billboard hits of 10 years ago Oct 8, 1988
  • Walter from Antwerp, BelgiumThis song doesn't fit in the category "hitsongs originally recorded by other artists".
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Rob Thomas of Matchbox Twenty

Rob Thomas of Matchbox TwentySongwriter Interviews

Rob Thomas on his Social Distance Sessions, co-starring with a camel, and his friendship with Carlos Santana.

Famous Singers' First Films

Famous Singers' First FilmsSong Writing

A look at the good (Diana Ross, Eminem), the bad (Madonna, Bob Dylan) and the peculiar (David Bowie, Michael Jackson) film debuts of superstar singers.

Grunge Bands Quiz

Grunge Bands QuizMusic Quiz

If the name Citizen Dick means anything to you, there's a chance you'll get some of these right.

Intentionally Atrocious

Intentionally AtrociousSong Writing

A selection of songs made to be terrible - some clearly achieved that goal.

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

Keith Reid of Procol Harum

Keith Reid of Procol HarumSongwriter Interviews

As Procol Harum's lyricist, Keith wrote the words to "A Whiter Shade Of Pale." We delve into that song and find out how you can form a band when you don't sing or play an instrument.