I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You"
Single by Elvis Presley
B-side "My Baby Left Me"
Released May 12, 1956 (1956-05-12)
Recorded April 14, 1956, RCA Studios, Nashville, Tennessee
Genre Ballad
Length 2:37
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Maurice Mysels, Ira Kosloff
Producer(s) Steve Sholes
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
Elvis Presley singles chronology
"Heartbreak Hotel"
"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You"
"Don't Be Cruel" / "Hound Dog"

"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" is a popular song written by Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff.[1] It is known best for being Elvis Presley's seventh RCA single release.[1] It was released during May 1956, becoming Presley's second No. 1 single on the country music charts, and peaking at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 popular music singles chart, an earlier version of the Billboard Hot 100.[1] Before the creation of the Billboard Hot 100 chart during 1958, there were a number of charts including Jukebox plays, Store charts, and Airplay charts. The song scored No. 1 on the Billboard Top Sellers in Stores chart.[2]


During April 1956, Variety Magazine reported that Presley's sixth RCA Victor single, "Heartbreak Hotel", had sold one million copies.[3] RCA Victor producer Steve Sholes wanted a strong single to be the next release, aware that there was not much good material available.[3] Due to Presley's busy touring schedule, Sholes needed to get him into the studio as soon as possible. Presley and his band chartered a small propeller airplane to Nashville for one day of recording between shows.[3]

En route from Amarillo, the airplane developed engine trouble and fell through the sky several times.[3] Upon arrival in Nashville on the morning of April 14, all four were disconcerted.[3] Presley arrived at the RCA Victor Studios without ideas for the recording session and therefore had no choice but to use Sholes' suggestions, one of which was "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You".[3]

Being used to later working hours, coupled with his traumatic experience during his overnight flight, the recording session was bad.[3] Take after take was ruined for one reason or another and the band was not relaxed. Presley, usually a very quick study with a song, couldn't get the lyrics right. After 17 takes during three hours,[3] Sholes decided Presley and the band weren't able to record properly and sent them home.

After the session, Sholes listened to the takes again. He wasn't happy with the results of what he considered to be an unprofessional and wasted session.[4] It had cost $1,000 to fly Presley and his band in by a private flight, and Sholes let Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, know that he was unsatisfied with the work and required material urgently for a second album.[4] He knew that with Presley's busy touring schedule it could be months before RCA Victor got him back into a studio. Performing what was a very rare and generally unsuccessful procedure for the 1950s, Sholes took parts of two takes he liked (takes 14 and 17), cut and spliced them together to create a take worthy of release.[1] His cuts were so seamless, nobody at RCA Victor could tell it wasn't from a single take.


"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" was backed with "My Baby Left Me" and was released on May 4, 1956.[5] Pre-orders of over 300,000 were the biggest ever in the history of the company. At the time of its release, Presley had three songs in the Top 20: "Heartbreak Hotel/I Was the One," "My Baby Left Me", and "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You". On June 5, 1956, Presley performed the song on The Milton Berle Show, as well as an early version of "Hound Dog"[5] that resulted in both overwhelmingly favorable audience reaction and outrage.[5]

Despite the heated public controversy, the single was generally well received, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard Top 100 popular music singles chart, and scoring No. 1 on the country music chart.[1] The song earned Presley his second Gold record, with sales in excess of 1.3 million.[1]

Presley's previous single, "Heartbreak Hotel" was on the charts for eight weeks and his next two singles, the mega-selling double-sided success "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" and "Love Me Tender", would remain on the charts for a combined 16 weeks. Also, "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" was number one for 11 weeks.


This song was the inspiration for the Meat Loaf song "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad". The song remains popular, as it is used for the themes of many organizations. The song particularly uses the lyrics: "I want you, I need you/But there ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you".

Robby Krieger's version

Jazz fusion/rock guitarist Robby Krieger performs an instrumental version of the song on his 1989 solo album, No Habla.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Victor (2008), p. 251.
  2. Worth, Fred (1992). Elvis: His Life from A to Z. Outlet. p. 612. ISBN 978-0-517-06634-8.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Guralnick/Jorgensen (1999), Elvis: Day by Day, p. 69.
  4. 1 2 Guralnick/Jorgensen (1999), Elvis: Day by Day, p. 70.
  5. 1 2 3 Guralnick/Jorgensen, p. 73.

External links

Preceded by
"Crazy Arms" by Ray Price
C&W Best Sellers in Stores
number one single by Elvis Presley

July 14, 1956 - July 21, 1956
(two weeks)
Succeeded by
"Crazy Arms" by Ray Price
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