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Oct 14

BOYZONE – “You Needed Me”

Popular60 comments • 2,549 views

#824, 22nd May 1999

bzneeded There’s no “Goodbye” or “Never Forget” for Boyzone, no bravura statement of a legacy: that legacy, after all, was happily preparing its second single. Ronan and the lads’ final release missed the top, but as a valediction, this will do. It’s a cover of a string-soaked number by Anne Murray, a country-esque hit (Grammy-awarded, no less) from the 70s heyday of Tammy or Dolly. In either incarnation, it’s something of a slog – a pretty, wistful melody laden down by a glutinous arrangement and a lyric that peters out. Under Boyzone’s care it’s basically a Ronan spotlight number – so whether intentionally or not it feels like priming the audience for the imminent solo career.

But Ronan takes “You Needed Me” to different places from Murray, which makes this an unusual Boyzone single and a better goodbye than they deserve – for once a cover version they’ve put their own, perhaps stronger, mark on. Where Murray’s cool, unwavering vocal takes her lover’s devotion as a source of surprise and quiet strength, Keating sings the song in a wounded growl, making you notice what Murray doesn’t stress – the title is in the past tense. Someone needed Boyzone once, and they do no longer. The fans? That’s an obvious answer – “You Needed Me” as Boyzone’s version of The Smiths’ “Rubber Ring”: don’t forget the songs that made you cry, and the songs that saved your life…

There’s something else happening, though. If you mixed Anne Murray’s sweetly patient singing and Ronan’s bereft take on “You Needed Me”, you might get somewhere near another 1999 ballad, Sarah McLachlan’s Toy Story 2 soundtrack hit, “When She Loved Me”. “You Needed Me” isn’t nearly as brutal as that, of course, but it frames Boyzone’s song in a different way, as sung not to the fans but to Louis: the lament of discarded toys, sinking to the bottom of the box, remembering happier times before they were replaced.

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Comments

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  1. 51
    Duro on 22 Oct 2014 #

    #42- had no idea it was a ‘thing’. Now worried my wife has been passing off other hilarious mishearings as her own. Will monitor.

  2. 52
    Shiny Dave on 22 Oct 2014 #

    This 3 means that Boyzone’s six number ones have finally combined for a higher number of marks than Kate Bush’s one.

    I’m looking forward to seeing if their Irish successors will “top” their combined average of precisely 2. Starting with a 4 was not a good start in that regard – they’ll need three 1s to have a chance at it, but I’m pretty sure they can pull that one off in thirteen attempts.

    And the above was more interesting than the song.

  3. 53
    iconoclast on 23 Oct 2014 #

    @32: Plagiarism, much? :-)

    Would that one could combine ten songs which score 1 and get a perfect ten. Alas, popular music does not work that way.

  4. 54
    mapman132 on 23 Oct 2014 #

    @54: Huh?

  5. 55
    Lazarus on 23 Oct 2014 #

    I think Iconoclast meant 52, not 32, the totting-up of Boyzone’s scores having been done earlier. Not that it really matters, eh?

    Other songs that were around in the Top 10 and getting plenty of airplay: ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None the Richer, ‘Turn Around’ by Phats & Small, ‘Every Morning’ by Sugar Ray, ‘No Scrubs’ by TLC, ‘You Get What You Give’ by New Radicals. The last of whom will be connected to Boyzone at a later date, of course. Some of those are still daytime staples now.

  6. 56
    mapman132 on 23 Oct 2014 #

    I see now. Looks like I created a self-referential loop at #54 anyway.

    Maybe we’re all in need of some chocolate….

  7. 57
    mrdiscopop on 23 Oct 2014 #

    Tellingly, I recognised the opening frame (no pun intended) of the video instantly but failed to remember the song at all.

    Oh, and Tom’s gambit about Ronan’s interpretation of the lyrics is somewhat undermined by the total lack of interest he displays throughout that clip.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hblHmyb-83M

  8. 58
    Tommy Mack on 25 Nov 2014 #

    I made it nearly halfway…

  9. 59
    ciaran on 1 Dec 2014 #

    The dullest of all Boyzone singles Number 1 or otherwise. 2.

    All of Boyzone’s six chart toppers arecurrently in the bottom 100 which is some achievement. A bit harsh on 2 (ADB, NMW) being there. No complaints about the other 4 though.YNM rightfully at the bottom of the pile.

  10. 60
    MUSICALITY on 24 Apr 2017 #

    Forgettable, dull and boring.

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