Better Man

Album: Sing When You're Winning (2000)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Even though it was only released as a single in Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America, "Better Man" is one of Robbie Williams' most popular songs among his fanbase. The acoustic ballad is about the search for love and the hope of redemption, with Williams singing in the chorus: "As my soul heals the shame, I will grow through this pain. Lord, I'm doing all I can, to be a better man."
  • Williams wrote it in the South of France while struggling with loneliness and depression. Despite being one of the most famous pop stars in Britain, he was deeply unhappy. He told Q in August 2000: "I was really down. I was f--king heartbroken, nothing to do with relationships, but I was thinking, 'Well, you've got it, son. Well done. You've made it, you're in the South of f--king France, you've made money, you're more famous than anyone would want to be, and it's not doing it, is it?'"

    The former Take That member said he prayed to a higher songwriting power, asking for a song to help him come to terms with his emotions. "I said to myself, 'I'll just pray to John Lennon and if he's listening then maybe he'll give me something.' Now, that can be taken as raging arrogance or plain loony but I started strumming these chords which became the verse and the whole thing was written in an hour. And I mean that song. It's me being honest. Not ironic or smart-arse, it's just me."
  • Williams recorded a Spanish version, "Ser Mejor" ("Be Better"), which was included on the Latin American pressings of Sing When You're Winning.
  • Better Man is the name of a biopic about Williams helmed by The Greatest Showman and Rocketman director Michael Gracey. It tells the story of Williams' tumultuous rise to fame.
  • "Better Man" was the sixth and final single released from Williams' third album, Sing When You're Winning. The song peaked at #6 and #4 in Australia and New Zealand, respectively.

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New York

Janis Ian: Married in London, but not in New YorkSong Writing

Can you be married in one country but not another? Only if you're part of a gay couple. One of the first famous singers to come out as a lesbian, Janis wrote a song about it.

Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders

Chrissie Hynde of The PretendersSongwriter Interviews

The rock revolutionist on songwriting, quitting smoking, and what she thinks of Rush Limbaugh using her song.

Michael Franti

Michael FrantiSongwriter Interviews

Franti tells the story behind his hit "Say Hey (I Love You)" and explains why yoga is an integral part of his lifestyle and his Soulshine tour.

Dwight Twilley

Dwight TwilleySongwriter Interviews

Since his debut single "I'm On Fire" in 1975, Dwight has been providing Spinal-Tap moments and misadventure.

Amy Lee of Evanescence

Amy Lee of EvanescenceSongwriter Interviews

The Evanescence frontwoman on the songs that have shifted meaning and her foray into kids' music.

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")

Director Mark Pellington ("Jeremy," "Best Of You")Song Writing

Director Mark Pellington on Pearl Jam's "Jeremy," and music videos he made for U2, Jon Bon Jovi and Imagine Dragons.