“I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” was Elvis’ fourth single to hit the pop charts and the second to hit number one, following “Heartbreak Hotel.” As we all know, he would have many more in his career.
The song was written by Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff (Elvis did not write songs.) His label, RCA knew they had a good thing in Elvis. He was breaking records everywhere he went. (attendance records, not music records). He was on tour promoting “Heartbreak Hotel” when RCA producer Steve Sholes decided he needed Elvis in Nashville to record another song. So, he called Elvis and asked him to come back right away. Elvis was in Amarillo, Texas at the time and so he and the band charted a small propeller driven plane to fly them back to Nashville.
During the flight, the airplane experienced some engine trouble and “fell out of the sky” several times. They made it to Nashville in one piece, but we may have come close to losing Elvis even before he had really gotten started. The band and Elvis were understandably shaken , but being professionals, they went ahead with the recording session.
The song that Sholes had prepared for them to record was “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” Everyone was tired and recording was difficult. They did seventeen takes in a three-hour period and Sholes didn’t like any of them. Elvis kept forgetting the lyrics and the band made other mistakes. Finally, they gave up. Maybe it was not meant to be. Elvis and the band left. They were still on tour and needed to get to an engagement.
Sholes stayed in Nashville, of course, and was very discouraged. They needed a single. So Sholes listened to all seventeen takes of the song and decided he liked takes fourteen and seventeen the best. So, he spliced together the good parts of the two takes and came up with an entire song that could be released. Later, when people at RCA listened to the final result, they could not tell where the two parts exited. Sholes did that good a job. That was quite a feat for the Fifties, when technology wasn’t like what we have today.
“I Want You, I Need You, I Love You” entered the chart on July 28, 1956 and spent one week at number one. When the song hit the charts, Elvis had three songs in the Top 20 at the same time, “Heartbreak Hotel,” “My Baby Left Me” and “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.”
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