"Sometimes When We Touch": Dan Hill Reveals a Sad Story 1

Dan Hill/bbc.co.uk

About the song

Released as a single in 1978, “Sometimes When We Touch” is a 1977 ballad written by Dan Hill (lyrics) and Barry Mann (music) on the album Longer Fuse. Peaking at no. 3 on the United States Billboard Hot 100 and no. 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart, it was Hill’s biggest hit. Musicians included Bobby Ogdin (piano), Larrie Londin (drums), Bob Mann (guitar), Don Potter (guitar), Tom Szczesniak (bass). The record was produced by Fred Mollin and Matthew McCauley, recorded at Manta Sound, Toronto.

In 2008, Daniel Evans performed the song at his first audition on series 5 of the X Factor (UK) bringing judge Cheryl Coleto tears after he sang in memory of his wife, who died shortly after childbirth. The clip has had nearly 20 million views on YouTube. He subsequently released the song on his debut album No Easy Way in 2010.

The ska band Five Iron Frenzy also did a cover of this song as part of a “Medley” during their farewell tour in 2004. There is also a version recorded in 1980 by Cleo Laine and James Galway. Tammy Wynette covered the song in 1985 with country-pop singer Mark Gray. Their duet version peaked at No. 6 on the country singles chart in 1985. British singer Rod Stewart recorded the song for his 1996 album If We Fall in Love Tonight. Veteran British entertainer Tommy Steele recorded this on his Family Album.

Behind the Song: A Sad Story…

A famous ballad in the ’70s, “Sometimes When We Touch” is a hit mostly for those who wish to express their love for their significant other through music.

But as singer-songwriter Dan Hill revealed, the inspiration behind it is not at all happy.

In an interview, the Grammy winner recalled being “madly in love with a woman” when he penned this song, but it was unreciprocated.

“She was interested in another man, so that was breaking my heart. So I thought I needed to write a song that would capture her and win her over—that would be so passionate in a sense that she’d see that I’m the only guy for her.”

He added,

“I wrote her the song and I played it over the telephone, and she said ‘that song is just too intense for me. I’m going to the States with the football player.'”

This song was borne out of heartache, however, changed Hill’s life.

“Suddenly I’m a worldwide, international artist. The money that came in was unbelievable. The opportunities that opened up for me so that I can be a songwriter for other singers, the doors totally opened with that song. The whole world opened up to me,” Hill said. 

Several decades and numerous covers later, the song is still a staple in many sentimental playlists.

“I just think it’s a very relatable song and it was a very passionate record, and that passion kind of carries through over the decades,” he said.

Here are the lyrics of this Dan Hill song.

You ask me if I love you
And I choke on my reply
I’d rather hurt you honestly
Than mislead you with a lie
And who am I to judge you
In what you say or do
I’m only just beginning
To see the real you
And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides
Romance’s in all strategy
Leaves me battling with my pride
But through the years security
Some tenderness survives
I’m just another writer
Still trapped within my truth
A hesitant prize-fighter
Still trapped within my youth
And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides
At times I’d like to break you
And drive you to your knees
At times I’d like to break through
And hold you endlessly
At times I understand you
And I know how hard you try
I’ve watched while love commands you
And I’ve watched love pass you by
At times I think we’re drifters
Still searching for a friend
A brother or a sister
But then the passion flares again
And sometimes when we touch
The honesty’s too much
And I have to close my eyes
And hide
I want to hold you till I die
Till we both break down and cry
I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides

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