You Might Need Somebody- R. Crawford

Sometimes, trying hard to be clever or sophisticated creates a confused result that ultimately falls flat. “You Might Need Somebody” is a good example of the opposite: the appeal of elegant simplicity. I wrote the music for this and collaborated on the lyric with Nan O’Byrne , pretty much in one sitting. I was at a Wurlitzer electric piano, Nan was at a legal pad with pencil, and we were in Bonnie Raitt’s living room, one night way back in 1978 (I think Nan was house sitting for Bonnie who was on the road at the time).  This is one of my most recorded songs and it was a hit twice. Once with Randy Crawford in 1979 and eighteen years later with Shola Ama. Shola’s version hit number one in nearly every country in Europe and broke all-time airplay records in England. Joe Walsh, Mick Fleetwood and Turley Richards, among many others, have recorded versions.

My good friend Tommy Lipuma produced this track. According to Tommy, he and Randy were about to quit on the tune as the groove on the demo wasn’t suiting her vocal style. A whole new feel was needed and it was drummer Jeff Porcaro who saved the day by coming up with a more sinuous R&B groove. I had played on a number of sessions with him (he was the principal drummer on both my solo albums for Capitol in ’75 & ’76) and I knew his profound musical talent and spirited personality would never give up on a good song. BTW- It’s worthwhile listening to Joe Walsh’s version to see how far outside of the “demo-box” Jeff went to find what was needed. Man, do I love great players!

In the “New Song on the Blog” email I’ve included separate links to Shola Ama’s 1997 smash version and to Joe Walsh’s 1991 cut from his “Ordinary Average Guy” album. Shola’s cut received three or four re-mixes: Basement Jaxx Night Dub, Brockpoket Mix, Paul Waller dirty bass mix, etc. – interesting to hear the different approaches. For even more takes you can enter the title in the  iTunes store search box or on eMusic and see what pops up. I will continue to search for my original demo and if I find it I’ll put it up on FB. Now that I think of it I’ll put some of the remixes up on the “Songs of Tom Snow” page via ReverbNation.

Finally, there are a number of fun (many of them homemade) videos of this tune on You Tube. The funny thing is it never achieved hit status in the US. Go figure.

FYI- There is an eight second delay on the “player” before Randy’s version starts. Seems interminable. Don’t worry your player is working…. Blame it on the archivist!  Me.


Click here to listen

8 Responses to “You Might Need Somebody- R. Crawford”
  1. Tim McMullen says:

    I have always loved this song, the opening piece on Randy Crawford’s great “Secret Combination” album (which also includes the beautiful Snow-penned gem, “You Bring the Sun Out”).

    I especially appreciate your offering different versions of your songs. It would be really great to hear the demo. I hope that you find it.

  2. Florent says:

    Dear ‘archivist’, you’ve done it again!!!

    By presenting such oposite aproaches to the song and enlightening us with the story of how it become and the significance of Jeff Porcaros sensibility, just make us so much intimate with the song….just keep searching for that fourth brick, which shouldn’t be far different than Walsh’s, at least in appearance…love it!!!

  3. Simioni says:

    Tommy Me Boy Again all three versions were Great! Enjoyed them all. I’m partial to Randy C. version as being the best. Did’nt know you were having surgery on your hand. Hope it’s not to serious and you heal quickly to get back to the links. Again thanks. Lou

    • mrneige says:

      Thanks, Lou. I get the surgery Nov. 13th. 3 weeks in a hard cast, 6 weeks in a brace, 3 more weeks light tape. Total three months recovery. I’ll have to do everything with me left hand. I Might Need Somebody….. 🙂 Trust all is well with you dear friend. Thanks for listening! Cheers, T

  4. Hoyt says:

    Great track ! I’ve never heard it before…. it does have a cool groove.

  5. walter says:

    “it was a hit twice. Once with Randy Crawford in 1979”

    Suggesting Randy having the original is incorrect to my believe, Randy’s album & single charted not before May 1981. While Turley’s album containing the original was released late ’79/ early ’80. His single peaked at #54 in ’80. A version well worth hearing too.

    • mrneige says:

      Hi Walter. I played on the Turley session. Wurlitzer E. Piano. Village Recorders. Mick Fleetwood produced. You may be right. I have to dig into my archives to verify. Thanks for the info. I’ll get back to you. Cheers, Tom

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