You Are The Woman

Album: Firefall (1976)
Charted: 9
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Songfacts®:

  • This soft rock favorite was Firefall's breakout hit and their most enduring song. In it, a man sings that he's found the ideal woman, and he loves her not for external qualities, but how much she loves him in return. She is the woman he's always dreamed of. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Mike - Santa Barbara, CA
  • Most of Firefall's songs were written separately by their singer/guitarists Rick Roberts and Larry Burnett. "You Are The Woman" was written by Roberts, who in The Yacht Rock Book: The Oral History of the Soft, Smooth Sounds of the '70s and '80s, told the story behind the song. "As I understand it, there are about a half a dozen women around this country who have told people repeatedly that the song was written about them," he said. "In fact, the song was not written about anyone, because the woman I had always dreamed of, I was still dreaming of. I wrote the chorus at one point in maybe '74 or '75."

    Roberts considers the song to be about his wife, Mary, even though he hadn't met her yet when he wrote it.
  • When Firefall formed in 1974, they were a rock band with two electric guitars. When Rick Roberts presented "You Are The Woman" for their first album, the rest of the band had misgivings because it was so soft. "The band did like a collective eye roll because it was so obvious, so syrupy and formulaic," bass player Mark Andes said on the Songfacts Podcast. "We knew it was going to be hugely successful, but we resisted. I remember feeling like, "Oh God, really?"

    Their producer, Jim Mason, set them straight, insisting they record it because you don't turn down a hit. They were glad they did. Guitarist Jock Bartley said on the same episode: "I've been playing 'You Are The Woman' for 40-plus years and we are so lucky to have a hit song that is that big. It isn't totally representative of what all the rest of our songs sounded like, but that song has kept me working for 40 years and has kept Firefall together, so I'm happy to play it."
  • The flute at the beginning of this song makes it instantly identifiable. Firefall brought in a multi-instrumentalist named David Muse to play it, and he ended up becoming a full-time member of the band.

    This was a time when male flutists had some renown. Jethro Tull, with Ian Anderson on flute, was huge, and Jean-Pierre Rampal and James Galway both built big followings outside the confines of classical music.
  • When Rick Roberts came up with the chorus, he knew he had the makings of a hit, but wasn't all that connected to the song. It took him about three months to write the verses, which he finally arrived at when the band was doing a run of shows in Aspen, Colorado. Roberts didn't love the song, but made peace with it knowing he had play it at every Firefall show.
  • Hearing this song, you'd never guess it was written while binging cocaine, but that's how Rick Roberts wrote, according to his bandmate Larry Burnett. "He gets a big bag of cocaine and gets real high, and then he gets papers and pencil and starts writing down rhyming words on the right-hand side of the page," Burnett told Songfacts. "And then he tries to attach sentences to each rhyming word, and then pushes everything around and tries to have it make sense, because, as you might imagine, it's not going to make sense right away, considering his approach to songwriting."
  • After this song became a hit, Rick Roberts tried to replicate it, with some success. On their next album, he wrote a similar love song that also became a lite favorite: "You Are the Woman." The band wasn't thrilled to go down this path, but it was where the hits were. The band started to fracture a few years later, and Roberts left in 1981, returning for another stint with the band at the end of the decade. Firefall remained active as a touring band with Jock Bartley the mainstay.

Comments: 5

  • Crowbie from Illinoisto Aiken Nutz: i just found out it's a sound made by rubbing a wet finger across the top of a conga. also known as a "moose call". there's a video on youtube. yep, that's the sound.
  • Aiken Nutz from Tahlequah OkEver since this song charted in 1976 I've wondered if there is someone murmuring or moaning in the background. On a new FM Oldies station in my area, they play the song quite often and I still hear a sound like a woman saying "mmmm" "mmm" behind the vocalist. Am I going insane? Can anyone else hear this sound?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 15th 1976, "You Are The Woman" by Firefall entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart on position #82; and on October 17th, 1976 it peaked at #9 {for 2 weeks} and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #6 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Between 1976 and 1981 the Boulder, Colorado quintet had ten Top 100 records; after "You Are The Woman" their next two biggest hits just missed making the Top 10, "Just Remember I Love You" and "Strange Way" both peaked at #11 on the Top 100.
  • Miles from Vancouver, CanadaI can't stand this song. Makes the Eagles sound like AC/DC. (Plus, I'm 27 and I've never had a significant other. Why?)
  • Earl from Coldwater, MiThis song came out the year I started dating the woman who eventualy became my wife. I had forgotten about it for many years, but it means more to me now after 35 years together with her. Nice song.
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