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"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You"
Single by Elvis Presley
A-side "My Baby Left Me"
B-side I Want You, I Need You, I Love You
Released May 12, 1956 (1956-05-12)
Recorded Nashville on April 14, 1956 (1956-04-14)
Length 2:37
Label RCA Victor
Writer(s) Maurice Mysels and Ira Kosloff
Producer Steve Sholes
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 perhaps best known for being Elvis Presley's second RCA single release.[1] It was released in May, 1956 becoming Presley's second #1 single on the Country charts, and peaking at #3 on the Pop charts.[1]



In April 1956, Variety Magazine reported that Presley's first RCA Victor single, Heartbreak Hotel, had sold one million copies.[2] RCA producer Steve Sholes was looking for a strong single to be the follow up, aware that there was not a lot of good material available.[2] 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 prop plane to Nashville for one day of recording between shows.[2]

En route from Amarillo, the plane developed engine trouble and fell through the sky several times.[2] Upon arrival in Nashville on the morning of April 14, all four were shaken up.[2] Presley arrived at RCA Studios with no ideas for the recording session and therefore had no choice but to take Sholes' suggestions, one of which was "I Want You, I Need You, I Love You".[2]

Being used to later working hours, coupled with his traumatic experience during his overnight flight, the recording session did not go well.[2] 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 in three hours,[2] Sholes decided Presley and the band weren't up for recording 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.[3] It had cost $1,000 to fly Presley and his band in on a private flight, and Sholes wasted no time in letting Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, know that he was unsatisfied with the work and required material urgently for a second album.[3] He knew that with Presley's busy touring schedule it could be months before RCA Victor got him back into the 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) and cut and spliced them together to come up with a take worthy of release.[1] His cuts were so seamless, nobody at RCA Victor could tell it wasn't from a single take.


Presley performing "Hound Dog" on the Milton Berle Show, June 5, 1956

"I Want You, I Need You, I Love You" was backed with "My Baby Left Me" and was released on May 4, 1956.[4] Pre-orders of over 300,000 were the biggest ever in the history of the label.   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 a raw version of "Hound Dog"[4] that resulted in a negative reaction from both the media, and public watchdogs.[4]

Despite this negative publicity, the single was generally well received, peaking at #3 on the Pop chart and reaching #1 on the Country chart.[1] The song earned Presley his second Gold record, with sales in excess of 1.3 million.[1]

A small footnote in Presley history considering his previous single "Heartbreak Hotel" reigned the charts for eight weeks and his next two singles, the mega-selling double-sided hit "Don't Be Cruel"/"Hound Dog" and "Love Me Tender", would rule the charts for a combined 16 weeks.


This song was the inspiration for the Meat Loaf single "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”.  


  1. ^ a b c d e f Victor (2008), p.251
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Guralnick/Jorgensen (1999), Elvis: Day by Day, p.69
  3. ^ a b Guralnick/Jorgensen (1999), Elvis: Day by Day, p.70
  4. ^ a b c Guralnick/Jorgensen, p.73
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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