This electro-ballad features the anguished vocals of R&B singer Usher. Guetta told Billboard magazine it's "maybe the biggest song I've made in my life." He added: "We were in bargaining sessions for a while. Usher was saying, 'I need this record for my album.' I said, 'I'm sorry, I cannot give it to you.' After a while he called me back and gave in."
Guetta told MTV News why he chose Usher to guest on this song. "It's just totally emotional," he said. "Some of the record is a proper ballad, and then it goes to that crazy dance beat. It's perfect for him, because he's famous for his ballads. And he's also now famous for those big club records that he comes with. He's an amazing dancer, so I felt like he was the artist that I needed."
Guetta and Usher knew each other before the French hitmaker broke in the States. Said Guetta: "I have to say that the very first time when someone big from America asked me if I want to work with him, it was Usher. Like, a really long time ago, but we never had the time to do it. So I was so happy to be finally in the studio with him, because he spotted me when I was really not famous yet."
Usher told MTV News that this ode to not giving up on love in the face of adversity resonated with him personally. "I think the world wanted a record like that. That [song] really spoke to the journey that I've actually been on in the last three years," he said. "Traveling all around the world, music sounds different. There's many different genres, and when you see R&B and pop and house, as well as electronic, come together, that's the reality of what music is."
This was the fifth time a song named "Without You" reached the Top 10 of the Hot 100. No other song title has reached the top tier so many times. The previous four songs titled "Without You" that reached the Top 10 were by Johnny Tillotson (1961), Nilsson
(1972), Motley Crue
(1989) and Mariah Carey (1994).