You Have To Be There

Album: Someone to Watch Over Me (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • This stirring ballad is the first single from Susan Boyle's third full-length album, Someone to Watch Over Me. The Scottish singer debuted the song on NBC's America's Got Talent on August 31, 2011 backed by a full string orchestra.
  • ABBA's Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus originally wrote the song as "Du måste finnas" for the 1995 Swedish musical Kristina from Duvemåla. The show is based on a series of four novels by Swedish author Vilhelm Moberg set in the mid-19th century, which detail a family's poverty-driven migration from Sweden to America.
  • Boyle explained the song's meaning: "This song makes a demand on God's presence. It raises questions as to whether or not He can be there when needed." The choice of a song that questions God's existence was a surprising one from the avowedly Catholic Boyle. Co-writer Bjorn Ulvaeus is a member of the Swedish humanist organisation Humanisterna, though he describes himself as a "freethinker," rather than an atheist.
  • The song's music video was filmed at London's Symphony Orchestra home on Old Street, north of the City of London. We see Boyle rehearsing, as she prepares to perform the track live on television shows across the world.

Comments: 3

  • Len from Grand Rapids, MiI would title the song "The Triumph Of Faith." Seems to be about someone who has had a crisis in their life (like Susan had right after she achieved fame) and is beseiged by doubt (because prayer wasn't answered as desired- "do you hear, are You there") but realizes that without God there is no one and nothing but despair (the "Who" statements etc.) But in the midst of doubts "You have to be there" for there is no other so in faith "I reach for Your hand.
  • Chantal from Paris, FranceI'll add that it sounds like a prayer anyway, you don't adresss God if you don't believe in Him.
  • Chantal from Paris, FranceSusan's choice of that song might be surprizing from an avowed catholic but the words also say "I am nothing without you", which she sings with great fervour and passion.
    Someone on Youtube says the orchestra should have applauded Susan Boyle, but they can't do it every time and they could be applauded too.
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