If I Needed You

Album: The Late Great Townes Van Zandt (1972)

Songfacts®:

  • Townes Van Zandt introduced the song with the following statement at a private concert in Houston: "It came to me in a dream. I was living in Tennessee with Guy and Susanna Clark, and I was asleep, and I had a notepad by my mattress - I had a mattress on the floor. I was dreaming that I was a folk singer, and this was the song I played, and I happened to wake up, write it down, and went right back to sleep. The next morning I woke up, went to the room with all the guitars, picked up a guitar and played it through. It never has changed." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Julian - Austin, TX
  • One of Van Zandt's most romantic love songs, many will know the tune from Emmylou Harris and Don Williams 1981 duet version. Released as the first single from Harris' album Cimarron, it topped the Canadian country chart as well as reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.
  • Guy Clark covered the song on his 2011 Songs & Stories album.
  • Actors Johan Heldenbergh and Veerle Baetens covered this as part of The Broken Circle Breakdown Bluegrass Band for the 2012 Belgian film The Broken Circle Breakdown.
  • Julia Roberts performed this in the 1998 movie Stepmom. It was also used in Off the Black (2006), starring Nick Nolte, and Crazy Heart (2009), starring Jeff Bridges.
  • In an episode of Austin Pickers in 1984, Van Zandt explained that he and the Clarks were all sick with the flu, which led to bizarre dreams like the one that inspired this song.

Comments: 1

  • Steve from UkCertainly one of the best song writers and guitarists. Fantastic performer
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt On How To Create A Music SceneSong Writing

With $50 and a glue stick, Bruce Pavitt created Sub Pop, a fanzine-turned-label that gave the world Nirvana and grunge. He explains how motivated individuals can shift culture.

Art Alexakis of EverclearSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer of Everclear, Art is also their primary songwriter.

AdeleFact or Fiction

Despite her reticent personality, Adele's life and music are filled with intrigue. See if you can spot the true tales.

Brian Kehew: The Man Behind The RemastersSong Writing

Brian has unearthed outtakes by Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Costello and hundreds of other artists for reissues. Here's how he does it.

Dr. JohnSongwriter Interviews

The good doctor shares some candid insights on recording with Phil Spector and The Black Keys.

N.W.A vs. the WorldSong Writing

How the American gangsta rappers made history by getting banned in the UK.