Frontman Caleb Followill wrote this song about longing for somebody to have a cuddle with while feeling lonely on the road. He said on his band's website: "It's about being far from home."
Caleb told Uncut magazine October 2008 the story of the song: "The meat of song was written on tour. When I came up with 'I could use somebody,' I didn't know if I was talking about a person or home or God. I felt immediately that it was a big song, and it scared me away. Then, when we were writing the record, Matthew kept sayin', 'What's that song, man?', and I acted like I didn't know what he was talking about. Then, finally, I went, 'All right, we'll do it,' and as soon as we started playin' it, the producers looked up and said, 'Whoa, that's a good song.' I was like, 'OK.'"
Aided by an performance of this song on the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, Kings of Leon jumped from #52 to #19 on the June 20, 2009 Hot 100 chart, giving the rock quartet their first top 40 hit.
English singer-songwriter Pixie Lott charted in the 2009 UK singles chart with her cover of this song, due to it being a B-side to her #1 single "Mama Do
This topped the Pop Songs/Mainstream Top 40, Alternative Songs Triple A and Adult Top 40 charts. It was the first song to top all four airplay tallies since Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams
" in 2004-05.
Caleb's model girlfriend (and later, wife) Lily Aldridge makes a cameo appearance in the song's music video. The clip was directed by Sophie Muller, the mastermind behind the "Sex on Fire
This song won three awards at the 2010 Grammys: Record of the Year, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals.
Only By The Night was the first ever album to sell a quarter of a million digital copies in the UK.
Caleb wrote this song as an apology to his bandmates after a drunken fight. He came up with the tune by speeding up Joe Cocker's Oscar-winning theme song to 1983 movie An Officer and a Gentleman
during a soundcheck in Scotland. He said about this song (quoted in Q
magazine): "It's got the exact same chords as Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes' 'Up Where We Belong
.' It was so immediate that I thought it was terrible. I thought it was a pop song."
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly in 2016, Caleb explained that this was one of the songs he wrote at his farmhouse in Tennessee while recovering from shoulder surgery. "In that moment, I became more honest with myself and allowed myself to be vulnerable in my writing," he said. "No longer trying to be a tough guy and admitting I need the people around me - mainly referring to Lily - to get through it all. I wrote it in one sitting, very late."