It has been performed by various artists from the different genres. From Rod Stewart to Celine Dion, Cliff Richard, and the great Luther Vandross, these are the most notable artists who have given different flavors to this song.
However, one of my favorite performances of this song is that of Spanish singer Julio Iglesias’ in one of his visits in Jakarta, Indonesia in 1994. Singing “When I Need You” live, Iglesias exudes emotions just right to what the song really conveys and what the audience needs. His cold voice coupled with his heartwarming presence is just the perfect combination of a complete performance.
Watch Julio Iglesias perform “When I Need You” live in Jakarta, Indonesia in December 1994.
Behind the Song
Penned by Gibraltarian singer-songwriter Albert Hammond and American lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, “When I Need You” first appeared as the title track of Hammond’s album When I Need You in 1976.
In 1977, Leo Sayer released his version of the song, produced by Richard Perry. Eventually, it went on to become a big hit worldwide. It reached no. 1 on the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in February 1977. Aside from that, it also peaked on top of the Billboard Hot 100 in May of the same year. It also became no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks. To note, Billboard ranked “When I Need You” as no. 24 song of 1977.
As a songwriter, Albert Hammond revealed that the song deals with his personal experiences being away from home and his loved one.
A Leo Sayer Hit
“When I Need You” is Leo Sayer’s first song he had not co-written. This song gave him the sixth hit in the UK and third in the US. In the early 90’s, Sayer regained the rights to this song after a legal tussle. He then reissued the song in 1993. However, it was not as successful as his earlier recording in 1977.
In an interview, Sayer revealed,
“I was still a singer/songwriter and so I had to find something I believed in. Then cool, it would be no problem. There was a lot of compromising but I liked Albert Hammond’s songs and of course, Carole wrote ‘Groovy Kind Of Love.’ ’99 Miles From LA,’ ‘The Air That I Breathe’ and ‘It Never Rains In Southern California’ were all great songs, so I put on ‘When I Need You‘ and wow! My wife, Janice, was home in England and those were the words I wanted to say on the phone. To me it was like a blues, and we recorded it first with Booker T on organ and I did it like Otis Redding doing ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long.’ It was completely wrong for the song, and we went back to how it was on the demo.”
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Julio Iglesias, Leo Sayer, When I Need You