You Are Not Alone

Album: You Are Not Alone (2010)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the title track of gospel legend Mavis Staples' 2010 album, which peaked at #69 on the Billboard 200, the highest-ranking album of her career.
  • Jeff Tweedy, who fronts the indie rock band Wilco, produced the album. He told the story of this song to Mojo magazine: "That came out of a conversation with Mavis, where I told her my theory that all music basically says the same thing, which is: you're not alone. Even a kid in his room listening to the most abrasive punk rock or heavy metal, what they're really getting out of it is, 'We're in this with you.' Somewhere down deep there's a communication happening that's sustaining. So after we talked, I thought that'd be a good song to try and write for this record."
  • Surprised that the secular rocker Tweedy chose to work with the evangelical Christian Staples? Tweedy told The Sun: "We have a lot more common ground than people would think based on my lyrics and her past. I would argue Mavis isn't really as religious as she is spiritual. She's remarkably devoid of any judgment. She's extremely tolerant."
  • In 2015, Mavis Staples told Rolling Stone: "When Tweedy wrote this song for me, I was just getting started again after my father had passed away. It's one of the most beautiful songs I ever sang. If you think about it, I'm all alone now. I'm the last standing Staple Singer, and I'm divorced. So when I sing this song, I mean it. I'm with you - I'm lonely too."
  • On April 16, 2020, the Toadies released a cover of this song, feeling it was appropriate for the time when most of the world was quarantined due to the coronavirus pandemic. "It felt like it had been written for this very moment, when we can't hug our friends or even some of our family," lead singer Vaden Todd Lewis said. "I immediately wanted to cover this song so I could help deliver the message that you are not alone."

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