If You Don't Want My Love

Album: Bruised Orange (1978)
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Songfacts®:

  • John Prine was introduced to Phil Spector by L.A. Times writer Robert Hillburn and he was invited round to the producer's LA house. He recalled to Uncut how his visit produced this wounded country-blues song.

    "It was absolutely bonkers," Prine said, chuckling. "He's wearing a three-piece suit with two shoulder holsters, and he's got two bodyguards following him everywhere - a short guy and a big guy who looks like Chewbacca. He's just finished (Leonard Cohen album) Death of a Ladies' Man. Me and Phil was shooting pool, and he puts it on 11. It was so loud, the balls were vibrating across the table."

    The pair decided to fake a brawl in the kitchen in an attempt to freak out Prine's manager. "Phil started shooting his gun up in the air and I threw a chair against the refrigerator," he recalled. "My manager doesn't even blink. After a couple of hours of this foolishness, I grabbed my coat and called a cab. Phil's walking me to the door, and he walks by this piano. He sits down and hands me an electric guitar, and we wrote a song called If You Don't Want My Love. Took 30 minutes."
  • Prine recorded the song for his 1978 LP Bruised Orange. When he took the record over to Spector's house, the pair reconvened at the same piano and wrote half of "God Only Knows," which Prine completed nearly four decades later for his The Tree of Forgiveness album.

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