Paul Carrack: “I Need You” (1982)

The Top 40 followup to Carrack’s spotlight moment on Squeeze’s “Tempted.”

Kronomyth 2.1: How long can a fly fly?

This is a love song, apparently. I say that because the line “I need you like a fly needs a plane” has always been problematic for me. Long after the line has been sung, I’m left wondering why a fly would need a plane. Poor literal me. I realize that the line likely means a plane has to fly, but I can’t let it go, and so I spend the rest of the song pondering why a fly might need a plane, looking up on the Internet how far a fly can actually fly on its own (about 20 miles in its short lifetime), and imagining how disorienting the experience must be for flies that hitch rides on planes and other long-range modes of transport. All while, in the background, a love song plays on.

I Need You is actually a very pleasant song, soulful and clever and instantly familiar in the way that most of Nick Lowe’s songs are. The B side is Call Me Tonight, which gets an agitated and funky arrangement from Alan Spenner (he and Paul Carrack had played together on Roxy Music’s Manifesto). It’s not a bad track, but feels like a half-baked Squeeze song. Both tracks are identical to their elpee versions.

Original 7-inch single version

A1. I Need You (Paul Carrack/Nick Lowe/Martin Belmont) (2:47)
B1. Call Me Tonight (Paul Carrack/Alan Spenner) (3:05)

The Plastic

Released on 7-inch single in August 1982 in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands (Epic, EPC A2874), the US and Canada (Epic, 14-03146) and Canada (Epic, IE4 3041) with regional picture sleeve. Reached #37 on the US charts (charted on September 4, 1982 for 13 weeks). Also released as promotional 7-inch single in 1982 in the US (Epic, 14-03146) feat. A side only.

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