(You) Got What I Need

Album: Cry To Me: The Best Of Freddie Scott (1968)

Songfacts®:

  • This soul groover is about a girl who makes everything better. Packed into the 2:42 run time are a number of metaphors to make this point:

    You're like medicine to me
    You brought sunshine to my life
    I was drowning in the sea of love
  • Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff wrote and produced this song. Three years later, they founded Philadelphia International Records, home to The O'Jays, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and many other acts that defined the Philadelphia soul sound of the '70s.
  • The rapper Biz Markie used many elements of this song on his 1989 hit "Just A Friend," where he changed:

    Oh, baby, you, you got what I need
    You got everything I need


    to

    Oh, baby, you, you got what I need
    But you say he's just a friend


    This comic interpretation changed the meaning of the song completely, but incorporated the piano line and vocal melody. It was one of the first cases of a hit rap song thoroughly pillaging a relatively obscure R&B number from decades earlier. Biz Markie didn't clear the rights, and three years later became a test case for plagiarism in songs when Gilbert O'Sullivan sued him for transforming "Alone Again (Naturally)" into a rap song called "Alone Again." Presumably, Markie reached an agreement with Gamble and Huff (writers of "(You) Got What I Need"), but they are not credited as composers of the track.
  • Freddie Scott had a number of R&B hits as a singer and songwriter, including "The Door Is Open," which he co-wrote for Tommy Hunt. His biggest his came in 1963 with "Hey Girl," which made #10 on the Hot 100. "Are You Lonely For Me" went to #1 on the R&B chart in 1966, and a few more minor hits followed, including "(You) Got What I Need," which reached #27 on the R&B chart. Scott died in 2007 at age 74.
  • Janelle Monáe sang this in a 2017 Gap commercial promoting their Christmas offerings. In 2020, Scott's original was used in an ad for Etsy.

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