Say You Won't Let Go

Album: Back From The Edge (2016)
Charted: 1 11

Songfacts®:

  • This guitar-led acoustic ballad was released on September 9, 2016, after James Arthur first premiered it live at a concert in Romania. The song is about finding love and how Arthur wants the girl to stay in his life, until they are "grey and old."
  • The song was Arthur's second UK #1 hit, following his X Factor winner's single "Impossible" in 2012. The singer was asked by OfficialCharts.com why he thought it had become a hit. He replied: "I think lyrically it relates to a lot of people as it tells a story. It's a love story that can be adapted to suit any situation someone might be going through. I didn't think I had a hit, but knew it was special, to me anyway."
  • James Arthur was dropped from Simon Cowell's record label, Syco in 2014 following several controversial remarks made on social media, However, as a result of the buzz surrounding this song, Cowell quickly re-snapped up his former X Factor winner. It marked the first time Syco had ever re-signed a former X Factor artist.
  • James Arthur wrote the song in Los Angeles. He told Genius: "The inspiration was to look at someone's life and the path through it with a partner. Some of it is personal and some of it is inspired by people around me as well as imagining what life is like in other people's relationships."
  • Arthur sings on the bridge about extending the relationship with a partner into the afterlife.

    I wanna live with you
    Even when we're ghosts
    Cause you were always there for me
    When I needed you most


    Arthur said: "The bridge is about looking at the future and spending your life with someone, even after death. So many people have been moved by the bit in the video where the old man is grieving, but I wanted to think that it's not the end."
  • James Arthur penned the song in an afternoon after his A&R told him she thought the Back From The Edge album was lacking a romantic number. The English singer told Billboard magazine he thought he had written something "relatable," but he did not expect it to become such a huge hit.
  • The song was featured in a prom dance scene during the January 12, 2017 "Touch and Go" episode of the medical drama Pure Genius.
  • Asked by ABC Radio why he thinks the track proved so popular in the US, Arthur replied: "This song has just translated over here. It seems universal. It's soulful and honest, and I guess that's what America's about. It's about honesty and hard work and love, and all that good stuff."
  • Arthur said that he thinks one lyric in particular - about meeting the love of your life in a club – has especially connected with the American audience:

    I held your hair back
    When you were throwing up.


    "I felt like that line is why the song is so special, really, because it could not be more relatable, especially in the modern culture," he explained. "People find love in the most random places, and that's... the most real picture I could've painted when describing falling in love with someone."

    Arthur says that this intimate moment did indeed happen: He was looking after a girl who had a few too many drinks. That's love.
  • The first verse about meeting someone at a party and falling in love is based on Arthur's actual life, but the remainder of the song where he finds everlasting love with them, complete with marriage and kids is made up.

    "I always draw upon my personal experiences... a lot of it is from imagination," Arthur told ABC Radio, "I have been in those positions where I have fallen in love at a house party with someone. But the second verse... the rest of the song, is really, it's imagination. It's about where I think everyone wants to be."

    "Happy, with kids, married, I'm not any of those things right now," he added. "I'm not married, I don't have kids... I haven't got those things. But I want them like everyone else does."
  • James Arthur and his co-writers Neil Ormandy and Steve Solomon were sued by The Script for copyright infringement. The Irish band alleged that Arthur approached them about a possible collaboration in 2014 but was turned down. He then plagiarized the "essence" of their 2008 hit tune "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" for this song. Arthur and The Script are both signed to the same management company, James Grant.

    The man who filed the suit, Richard Busch has form in such legal matters, He is the same attorney who represented Marvin Gaye's estate in the famous "Blurred Lines" copyright case.

Comments: 1

  • Jj from IndonesiaPlease note that the writers of "The Man Who Can't Be Moved" are now credited as songwriters on this song so the song was deemed to have been infringed.
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