When I Need You" is a popular song written by Albert Hammond and Carole Bayer Sager. Its first appearance was as the title track of Hammond's 1976 album When I Need YouLeo Sayer's version, produced by Richard Perry, was a massive hit worldwide, reaching number 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in February 1977 after three of his earlier singles had stalled at number 2.[1] It also reached number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 for a single week in May 1977;[2] and the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks.[3] Sayer performed it on the second show of the third season of The Muppet Show.


 [hide*1 Melody comparison

Melody comparison[edit]Edit

The melody of the "hook" line, or chorus of "When I Need You" is identical to the part of the Leonard Cohen song "Famous Blue Raincoat", where the lyrics are as follows: "Jane came by with a lock of your hair, she said that you gave it to her that night, that you planned to go clear." The melody of these lyrics matches the lyrics of "When I Need You" as follows: "(When I) need you, I just close my eyes and I'm with you, and all that I so want to give you, is only a heart beat away."

In a 2006 interview with the Globe & Mail Cohen said:

I once had that nicking happen with Leo Sayer. Do you remember that song 'When I Need You'?" Cohen sings the chorus of Sayer's number one hit from 1977, then segues into 'And Jane came by with a lock of your hair', a lyric from 'Famous Blue Raincoat'. 'Somebody sued them on my behalf … and they did settle', even though, he laughs, 'they hired a musicologist, who said, that particular motif was in the public domain and, in fact, could be traced back as far as Schubert.[4]

The same melody can be heard in Elton John's "Little Jeannie" in the lyrics: "Stepped into my life from a bad dream / Making the life that I had seem / Suddenly shiny and new"

Cover versions[edit]Edit

The song was covered by, amongst others, the reggae singer Owen GrayCéline DionLuther VandrossPerry ComoRod Stewart (on his compilation albumIf We Fall in Love Tonight), Barry Manilow (on his compilation album Summer of '78), Alpha BlondyEdyta Górniak, polish version of album RMF moja i twoja muzyka Brotherhood of ManWill MellorJulio IglesiasCliff RichardRoger WhittakerClay Aiken and Gene Pitney on his 2003 album, Blue Angel - The Bronze Sessions.

  • Surinamese balladeer Max Nijman recorded the song as Mi Wan Shi Yu (Wanna See You) shortly after the original charted at his Dutch home-base. In the early 1990s he made a new version for a best of -CD.
  • Lani Hall recorded a Spanish version of the song, "Si Me Amaras (If You Loved Me)", for her 1985 album, Es Fácil Amar, which was produced by Hammond.
  • Rahul Dev Burman recorded a Hindi version of the song (Tum se mil ke) for a 1989 film Parinda. The Cantonese duet version, known as "For You, I'll Never Give Up," was covered by Gallen Lo and Flora Chan, as the theme song of Hong Kong drama Feminine Masculinity in 1999.
  • Ryuichi Kawamura recorded a cover in Japanese for his 2011 album The Voice.
  • Joe McElderry covered the song for his fourth studio album, Here's What I Believe.
  • Czech singer Václav Neckář make cover version in 1978 "Chci tě líbat (I Want To Kiss You)".
  • Mexican group "Yndio" made their own Spanish version during 70's, called "Me haces falta".
  • On his guest star appearance on The Muppet Show, Sayer sang the song as the closing number. In the number, many woodland animals, led by a bear, chased him up a tree. When they failed to get him down, they arranged for Crazy Harry to blow it up.

Céline Dion version[edit]Edit

"When I Need You" is a promotional single from Céline Dion's Let's Talk About Love album, released on September 7, 1998 in Brazil only.[5]

After Céline Dion finished her Falling into You Tour in June 1997, she began to record her next English album. Dion and her manager and husband René Angélil wanted to include few cover versions on it. David Foster came up with the idea of recording Leo Sayer's hit "When I Need You." The song, recorded at Paramount Studios and Chartmaker Studios, was produced by Foster and included on Dion's Let's Talk About Love album, released on November 15, 1997. Céline Dion performed this song during the Let's Talk About Love avec Julie Snyder Canadian TV show in late 1997.

After a string of successful singles like "My Heart Will Go On" and "Immortality," Sony Music Entertainment decided to release "When I Need You" as a promotional single in Brazil (September 1998). Two previous singles were very successful in Brazil. However, with no music video and no promotion "When I Need You" failed to repeat the success of Dion's earlier songs.

Authors of "When I Need You" worked with Dion also on several other songs. Albert Hammond wrote "Just Walk Away", included on The Colour of My Lovealbum (1993) and Carole Bayer Sager wrote "The Prayer", which became a part of These Are Special Times (1998).

Critical reception[edit]Edit

EW editor David Browne wrote: "an obligatory remake (a precisely enunciated version of Leo Sayer's When I Need You)".[6] The New York Observer editor Jonathan Bernstein :"A sliver of redemption is found in the passable version of Leo Sayer’s “When I Need You”".[7]

Formats and track listings[edit]Edit

Brazilian promotional CD single

  1. "When I Need You" – 4:12

Cliff Richard version[edit]Edit

On October 29, 2007, Cliff Richard released "When I Need You" and reached number 38 on the UK Singles Chart.[8] It is also one of the five new recordings featured on his album Love... The Album.

Format and track listings[edit]Edit

  1. "When I Need You"
  2. "My Pretty One"
  3. "Never Let Go"


  1. Jump up^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 336–7. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. Jump up^ Bronson, Fred (2003). The Billboard Book of #1 Hits, 5th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. Jump up^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  4. Jump up^ "This page is available to GlobePlus subscribers". Retrieved 2010-11-27.
  5. Jump up^ Glatzer, Jenna (2005). Céline Dion: For Keeps. Andrews McMeel Publishing. ISBN 0-7407-5559-5.
  6. Jump up^ Browne, David (1997-11-21). "White Noise". Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  7. Jump up^ Bernstein, Jonathan. "Celine Dion: Is She Cool? Someday, Maybe, but Not Now". Observer. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
  8. Jump up^ "The Official Cliff Richard website: News". 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2013-06-04.

External links[edit]Edit

Preceded by

"Don't Cry for Me Argentina" by Julie Covington

UK Singles Chart number one single

(Leo Sayer version) February 19, 1977 (3 weeks)

Succeeded by

"Chanson D'Amour" by The Manhattan Transfer

Preceded by

"Right Time of the Night" by Jennifer Warnes

Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single (Leo Sayer version)

April 23, 1977

Succeeded by

"Hello Stranger" by Yvonne Elliman

Preceded by

"Hotel California" by The Eagles

Billboard Hot 100 number one single

(Leo Sayer version) May 14, 1977 (one week)

Succeeded by

"Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder

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