"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" is a song written by Bert Berns, Solomon Burke and Jerry Wexler, and originally recorded by Solomon Burke under the production of Bert Berns atAtlantic Records in 1964. Burke's version charted in 1964, but missed the US top 40, peaking at #58.
Wilson Pickett covered the song in 1966, and his version (which explicitly mentions Solomon Burke in the opening section) made it to #29 pop, and #19 R&B in early 1967. Other notable versions of "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" were recorded by The Rolling Stones and The Blues Brothers.
Composition and recordingEdit
On May 28, 1964 Burke recorded two unreleased songs, and "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" (Atlantic 2241), that was also written by Burke (but also credited to Bert Berns and Jerry Wexler), which was Burke's most prominent bid for an enduring soul standard. Burke claims he was the sole writer on the song but was talked into sharing credit by Wexler and Berns. In an interview Burke recalled the song's origins: "I used to do it in church when I was a kid and it was a march for the offering. We would play it with tubas, trombones and the big bass drum and it sounded really joyful. I played it to Jerry Wexler and Bert Berns, who thought that it was too fast, and had the wrong tempo."
In August 2008 Burke recalled that he had hired musicians from Charlotte, North Carolina, to play at a gig in Long Island and he drafted them in to play the instrumental riff on "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love". Burke described the recording: "Got the band cooking, get a bit of echo, we went through it, came back out, said to Jerry [Wexler], 'Whaddya think?' He said, 'Too fast. Doesn't have any meaning.' (Engineer) Tommy (Dowd) says, 'What can we lose? His band's here, let's just cut it.'" In this song, Burke employs the style of a black preacher, in "which he begins by delivering his message in a style of a sermon, and offering salvation".Dave Marsh explains that in this song, "the porcine, gilt-fingered lay preacher testifies from the top but what you ought to hear is writ large between the lines, especially in the stentorian opening sermon. That is, when Burke sings "[There's a song I sing, and I believe] If everybody was to sing this song, it could save the whole world."
In 1997 Burke recalled: "When I did it for Jerry Wexler and Bert Burns (sic), they told me that song would never make it. I said, 'Well, I tell ya what—I'll give you a piece of it.' They said, 'That's the way we'll get the record played, so we'll take a piece of it.' In those days, they took a piece of your songs—a piece of the publishing—but in the end, you didn't have any pieces left. Even now, I'm still struggling to get the publishing, the royalties, and that'll never happen."Wexler maintained in 2002: "I know Solomon is upset about that, and I wrote him a long letter explaining how we wrote the song together and that he has always gotten his share of the royalties. I know that because I get royalty checks for the song. The whole process of making a record is a collaborative affair and the issue of who does just what on a song sometimes gets confusing, but not on that song. We wrote it in Bert's apartment. Bert had a guitar and we wrote it together."
Burke's version, while later ranked #429 on the Rolling Stone magazine's 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and ranked #447 in Dave Marsh's book, In The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made,which was released in July 1964, and was in the US Pop Charts for 8 weeks, but only reached #58.