Elvis Presley

I Want You, I Need You, I Love You

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Song Review by

Just check the lineup on the recording session that produced "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You," and you get an idea of the reason that the track bristles with energy: Chet Atkins and Scotty Moore (guitars), D.J. Fontanna (drums), Bill Black (bass), and Floyd Cramer (piano). RCA Studio B in Nashville during 1956 was ground zero and ripe for the crossover of rock & roll into the big time. Yet, the city was still a bit innocent, and so was Elvis Presley; the really big dollars had not yet corrupted the music itself, and what one hears on "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" is effervescent rock & roll balladry bursting with potential and the knowledge that this was brand new and exciting music -- neither the country & western that Nashville was used to, nor the Memphis blues. Yet, the track does not sound at all self-conscious. Presley seems to be fulfilling a role of destiny on tracks like this, bounding off of swinging musicians and the backing vocals of Gordon Stoker, Ben Speer, and Brock Speer.

Beginning with a Fats Domino piano-like introduction played on guitar, Presley enters with a desperate plea: "Hold me close, hold me tight/Make me thrill with delight/Let me know where I stand from the start/I want you, I need you, I love you with all my heart." The singer is a perfect amalgam of his influences. Within the same verse, he moves from an excited blues style -- hanging upon the first word with a stuttering style ("ho-ho-hold me" and again on "I-I-I love you") that would become one of his trademarks -- to an Ink Spots-like croon on "ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-heart." Of course, Presley ends up sounding like no one else but himself; his voice is still a bit green and underdeveloped, a little shaky, rushed, and nervous-sounding on some words, hiccuping almost, and then settling down on some of the more drawn-out lines to approach the full-throated style of Mario Lanza. His urgency suggests the sexually tense pleas of a teenager, making promises to get where he needs to be. Gone is the raw tape echo of his Sun sessions, replaced with a richer and smoother RCA Studios plate reverb. The year for Presley was 1956; he spent 25 weeks at the number one position on the charts with a revolving string of hits, including "Heartbreak Hotel," "Don't Be Cruel" b/w "Hound Dog," and "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You." It was also released as one of rock & roll's first albums, and the first rock & roll album to reach number one on the pop charts.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1956 RCA
Elvis Presley [1956] 1956 RCA / BMG 2:41
No Image 1958 RCA 2:41
Elvis' 50 Worldwide Gold Award Hits, Vol. 1 1970 RCA 2:39
No Image 1972 RCA
Elvis: A Legendary Performer, Vol. 2 1976 RCA Camden Classics / Special Music 2:40
50 Years-50 Hits 1976 BMG 2:39
The '56 Sessions 1978 RCA
No Image 1981 Video Yesteryear
Collection, Vol. 1 1984 RCA
The Number One Hits 1987 RCA 2:37
The Top Ten Hits 1987 RCA 2:37
The Rock 'N' Roll Era: Elvis Presley - 1954-1961 1988 2:41
Heart of Dixie 1989
Original Soundtrack
A&M 0:00
Great Performances [RCA] 1990 RCA 0:00
The King of Rock 'n' Roll: The Complete 50s Masters 1992 RCA 2:41
His Life and Music 1995 Life Times & Music 2:38
Heart and Soul 1995 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:41
Elvis '56 1996 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:41
No Image 1997
Original Cast Recording
RCA 2:33
A Golden Celebration 1998 RCA 3:30
No Image 1999 RCA 2:40
Ballads [Telstar] 1999 BMG / BMG International 2:41
Love Songs [BMG International] 1999 BMG 2:45
Legendary [BMG] 2000 BMG International 2:39
The 50 Greatest Love Songs 2001 RCA 2:41
No Image 2001 Collectables
My Best of Elvis: Elvis Charity Album 2001 BMG 2:43
Today, Tomorrow & Forever 2002 RCA 2:43
2nd to None 2003 BMG Heritage / RCA 2:40
Elvis Love Songs [Hallmark] 2004 Hallmark Recordings 2:42
Love, Elvis 2005 BMG / BMG Heritage 2:41
The Collection: Elvis Presley/Elvis/Loving You 2006 SMG / Sony BMG 2:41
Elvis Presley [Follow That Dream] 2006 Follow That Dream Records 3:05
That's Alright 2007 Snapper 2:41
Elvis Presley/Elvis' Gold Records, Vol. 4 2008 Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:41
Essential Collection: The Song is You 2008
Various Artists
Elvis: Timeless Favorites 2008
Various Artists
Somerset Entertainment 2:42