Written by Keith Sweat and Teddy Riley, "I Want Her" is a song about a guy who can't get any action at the club. It's the next day, and he's still thinking about the girl that had him so turned on. "It's inspired by the guys in clubs, they see a girl that they want and they don't know how to approach," Riley explained.
"I Want Her" was Keith Sweat's first single, and also the first big hit Teddy Riley worked on. Sweat was working on Wall Street as a commodities broker and trying to make an album in his off hours. Riley was making a name for himself in the local studios and was doing some work with Heavy D. They teamed up, hashing out ideas over the phone, which Riley turned into the track in his home studio.
Released on the small Vintertainment label, the song went all the way to #1 on the R&B chart and also reached #5 on the Hot 100. Sweat didn't quit his day job until it was a hit.
The song is a New Jack Swing landmark, introducing a sound that combines old-style R&B with modern hip-hop beats. Teddy Riley was the architect of this sound and was soon in demand as a producer. In addition to work in his band Guy, he laced tracks for Bobby Brown ("My Prerogative"), Hi-Five ("I Like the Way (The Kissing Game)") and Wreckx-N-Effect ("Rump Shaker").
Thanks to "I Want Her," Keith Sweat's debut album, Make It Last Forever, sold over 3 million copies and established him as a star. His next album had two more R&B chart-toppers: "Make You Sweat" and "I'll Give All My Love to You."
Sweat didn't make a video for this song, which makes its success all the more surprising. He made a lot of live appearances to promote it, performing on Soul Train, Showtime At The Apollo, and various other showcases.