I Don't Know How to Love Him
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|"I Don't Know How to Love Him"|
|Single by Yvonne Elliman|
|from the album Jesus Christ Superstar|
|Genre||Rock opera, folk rock|
|Writer(s)||Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice|
|Producer||Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tim Rice|
|Yvonne Elliman singles chronology|
"I Don't Know How to Love Him" is a song from the 1970 rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar written by Andrew Lloyd Webber (music) and Tim Rice (lyrics), a torch ballad sung by the character of Mary Magdalene who in Jesus Christ Superstar is presented as bearing an unrequited love for the title character. The song has been much recorded with "I Don't Know How to Love Him" being one of a handful of songs which have had two concurrent recordings reach the Top 40 of the Hot 100 chart in Billboard magazine, specifically those by Helen Reddy and Yvonne Elliman, since the 1950s when multi-version chartings were the norm.
As a show tune
Composition and Yvonne Elliman version
"I Don't Know How to Love Him" had originally been published with different lyrics in the autumn of 1967, the original title being "Kansas Morning." The melody's main theme has come under some scrutiny for being non-original, being so similar to a theme from Mendelssohn's violin concerto in E minor. In December 1969 and January 1970, when Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice completed Jesus Christ Superstar, Rice wrote new lyrics to the tune of "Kansas Morning" to provide the solo number for the character of Mary Magdalene (Rice and Webber's agent David Land would purchase the rights to "Kansas Morning" back from Southern Music for £50).  Now entitled "I Don't Know How to Love Him", the song was recorded by Yvonne Elliman which was completed between March and July 1970. When first presented with "I Don't Know How to Love Him", Elliman had been puzzled by the romantic nature of the lyrics, as she was under the impression that the Mary she'd been recruited to portray was Jesus's mother.
Recorded in one take at Olympic Studios in June 1970, "I Don't Know How to Love Him" has been universally acclaimed as the high point of the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack since the album's September 1970 release; in 2003 The Rough Guide to Cult Pop would assess Elliman's performance thus: "It's rare to hear a singer combine such power and purity of tone in one song, and none of the famous singers who have covered this ballad since have come close." However the choice for single release went to the track "Superstar" by Murray Head. When a cover of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" by Helen Reddy began moving up the charts in the spring of 1971 the original track by Yvonne Elliman was issued as a single to reach No. 28, although Reddy's version was more successful at No. 13. In early 1972 Elliman's "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was issued in the UK on a double A-side single with Murray Head's "Superstar"; with this release Elliman faced competition with a cover of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" by Petula Clark with neither version becoming a major hit, Elliman's reaching No. 47 and Clark's No. 42. Tim Rice produced several additional tracks for Elliman to complete her debut album, entitled I Don't Know How to Love Him.
Elliman performed "I Don't Know How to Love Him" when she played the Mary Magdalene role first in the Broadway production of Jesus Christ Superstar which opened at the Mark Hellinger Theatre 12 October 1971, and then in the movie version, her respective renderings being featured on the both the Broadway cast album and the movie's soundtrack album. Her version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" from the movie soundtrack gave Elliman a hit in Italy (#21) in 1974. Latterly Elliman has performed "I Don't Know How to Love Him" when she's revisited her Mary Magdalene role firstly at a Jesus Christ Superstar concert by the University of Texas at El Paso Dinner Theatre staged 14 April 2003, and then for a live-in-concert one-night only performance of Jesus Christ Superstar on 13 August 2006 at the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Los Angeles.
Other singers who have performed "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in the role of Mary Magdalene in the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar include Linda Nichols in the first US national tour which played the Hollywood Bowl in August 1971 – Nichols reprised the role in a four-city tour (Atlanta/ Dallas/ Sacramento/ St. Louis) in 1985; Heather MacRae in the second US national tour which played the Universal Studios Amphitheatre in July 1972; Dana Gillespie in the original London production at the Palace Theatre which opened 9 August 1972, and on the subsequent UK tour; Marcia Hines, who originated the role in Australia in 1972 reprising it in 1975 and 1978; Kate Ceberano in the 1992 Australian national tour; Margaret Urlich in a New Zealand concert production in 1993; Emily Saliers in the Jesus Christ Superstar: a Resurrection production which played Atlanta, Austin and Seattle in 1994; Joanna Ampil in the London revival at the Lyceum Theatre which opened 19 November 1996; Golda Rosheuval in the 1998–99 UK tour; Kerry Ellis in a concert production at Porchester Castle in Fareham 11 July 2004; Maya Days in the 2000 Broadway revival which opened at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts that 16 April; Natalie Toro in the 2004 US national tour, Jennifer Paz in the Village Theatre (Seattle) revival which opened 11 May 2011, and Chilina Kennedy in the Stratford Festival revival which opened 16 May 2011. Renderings by Dana Gillespie, Kate Ceberano, Margaret Urlich, Emily Saliers and Joanna Ampil all appear on the cast recordings of their respective productions; Marcia Hines' version appears on her 1978 Live Across Australia album. The cast recording versions of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" by Kate Ceberano and Margaret Urlich were released as singles in respectively Australia and New Zealand charting at respectively No. 38 and No. 44.
In 1999 a filmation based on the 1998 revival of Jesus Christ Superstar was shot, featuring Renee Castle singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" as Mary Magdalene; the film was released in the UK 16 October 2000 and opened internationally over the next six months. A planned soundtrack release never materialised.
Frances Ruffelle sang "I Don't Know How to Love Him" when she performed as Mary Magdalene in a version of Jesus Christ Superstar broadcast on BBC Radio 2 on 19 October 1996. Also in 1996 Issy Van Randwyck performed "I Don't Know How to Love Him" on a recording of Jesus Christ Superstar produced for Jay Records.
Maria Ylipää (fi) can be heard singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him" on the recording made of the concert production of Jesus Christ Superstar which had a three-night run 25–27 August 2011 at Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland, Ylipää playing the role of Mary Magdalene in that production made under the auspices of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra. Saara Aalto (fi) sang "I Don't Know How to Love Him" when she assumed the role of Mary Magdalene in a reprise of the Lahti Symphony Orchestra's concert production of Jesus Christ Superstar which had a three-night run 22–24 August 2012.
Spice Girls member Melanie C, who played Mary Magdalene in a UK tour of Jesus Christ Superstar opening at the O2 Arena (London) on 21 September 2012, released her version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" on 22 July 2012, and accompanied the release with a performance of the song with Andrew Lloyd Webber's piano accompaniment on the final of the reality-TV talent show Superstar broadcast by ITV on 25 July 2012. "I Don't Know How to Love Him" is included on Melanie C's musical theatre-inspired album Stages.
Agnetha Fältskog sang a translated version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" entitled "Vart Ska Min Karlek Fora" when she originated the role of Mary Magdalene – as Mary Magdalena – in the Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar which premiered 18 February 1972 at the Scandinavium in Goteberg for a two-week run followed by a national tour: Fältskog had previously played the role in a mounting of Jesus Christ Superstar – evidently in English – which premiered in Copenhagen on 26 December 1971. During the play's Scandinavium tenure, Fältskog alternated the Mary Magdalena role with Titti Sjöblom (sv): Fältskog played the role in the evening performances and Sjöblom in the matinées. Besides recording "Vart Ska Min Karlek Fora" for the cast album of the Scandinavium production of Jesus Christ Superstar, recorded in 1971, Fältskog made a recording of the song for release as a single: the session for the single version of "Vart Ska Min Karlek Fora" was recorded at a session at Metronome Studios in Stockholm produced by Björn Ulvaeus on 4 February 1972 while Fältskog was in rehearsals for her stage role. Both the Swedish cast album of Jesus Christ Superstar and Fältskog's single version of "Vart Ska Min Karlek Fora" were released March 1972 with the single reaching No. 2 on the Swedish hit parade. Titti Sjöblom, who would fully assume the Mary Magdalena role for the Swedish touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar, would record the English language original of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" for her 1989 album Special. "Vart Ska Min Karlek Fora" has also been recorded by Anna-Lotta Larsson (sv) for her 2004 album of show tunes entitled Tidlöst.
An alternate Swedish rendering of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" entitled "Hur visar jag min kärlek?" was introduced by Åsa Fång (sv) in the role billed as Maria Magdalena in the Malmö Opera's revival of Jesus Christ Superstar featuring a new translation by Ola Salo which ran 31 October 2008 – 8 March 8, 2009, and Fang was featured singing the song on that production's cast recording. This production was revived at the Göta Lejon Theatre in Stockholm with an 8 April – Easter Sunday – 2012 premiere: originally played by Anna-Maria Hallgarn (sv), the role of Maria Magdalena has since been assumed – as of 13 September 2012 – by Gunilla Backman (sv) with Anna Sahlene announced to take over the role from 27 December 2012. Gunilla Backman had recorded "I Don't Know How to Love Him" for her 2010 album showtune album entitled Gunilla Backman sings Webber.
Anne-Marie David introduced the French-language version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" when she originated the role of Mary Magdalene in the Paris production of Jesus Christ Superstar which opened in April 1972. Her rendering of "La Chanson de Marie-Madeleine" taken from the cast recording reached No. 29 on the French charts. This rendering, with lyrics by Pierre Delanoë, was also recorded by Nicoletta (fr) for an unofficial Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack album released on Barclay Records to coincide with the April 1972 opening of the Paris production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
Angela Carrasco introduced the Spanish-language version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him": "Es más que amor" in the original Spanish language production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Madrid; her recorded version appears on the 1975 cast recording. Cast recordings from subsequent Madrid productions feature Estíbaliz Gabilondo (1984) and Lorena Calero (2007), the latter singing a new Spanish-language version entitled ""No sé cómo quererle"".
Other singers with theatrical associations who have recorded "I Don't Know How to Love Him" include (with parent album) Olivia Molina1 (as "Einmal werde ich ihn sehen") (single release from Olivia Molina – 1971), Elaine Paige (Stages – 1983; also Elaine Paige Live – 2009), Barbara Dickson (Ovation: Best of Andrew Lloyd Webber – 1985), Stephanie Lawrence (The Love Songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber – 1988), Marti Webb (The Magic From the Musicals – 1991), Fiona Hendley (The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection – 1991), Sarah Brightman (Sarah Brightman Sings the Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber – 1992), Julia McKenzie (The Musicals Album – 1992), Lea Salonga (The Broadway Concert – 1992) and Helena Vondráčková (as "Já, Máří Magdaléna" on Brodway – 1993; also as "I Don't know How to Love Him" on The Broadway Album – 1994). Sandy Lam performed the song in the Andrew Lloyd Webber: Masterpiece: Live From the Great Hall of the People, Beijing televised concert in 2001; her rendering is featured on the soundtrack album. Sonia, who performed "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in the 1997 UK tour of the What a Feeling nostalgiac revue, recorded her version for the show's soundtrack album. Also Bonnie Tyler was recruited to record "I Don't Know How to Love Him" for the 2007 album Over the Rainbow – Show Tunes in Aid of the Association of Children's Hospices.
On 2 September 2006 episode of How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? potential eliminees Helena Blackman and Leanne Dobinson sang a joint version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" for Andrew Lloyd Webber, who elected to "save" Blackman.
- 1Olivia Molina would play Mary Magdalene in the Theater Oberhausen's 1985 production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
|"I Don't Know How to Love Him"|
|Single by Helen Reddy|
|from the album I Don't Know How to Love Him|
|B-side||"I Believe in Music"|
|Writer(s)||Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice|
|Helen Reddy singles chronology|
Upon the release of the original Jesus Christ Superstar album Capitol Records executive Artie Mogull heard the potential for a smash hit in the track "I Don't Know How to Love Him" and had pitched the song to Linda Ronstadt, then on the Capitol roster; after Ronstadt advised Mogull: "she hated the song, [saying] it was terrible" Mogull invited the then-unknown Helen Reddy to record "I Don't Know How to Love Him" as part of a one-off single deal with Capitol. Reddy herself did not care for "I Don't Know How to Love Him" agreeing to cut the song to serve as B-side for the track she wished to record: the Mac Davis composition; "I Believe in Music" (later a hit for Gallery).
In her autobiography The Woman I Am, Helen Reddy states that Mogull invited her to record a single after seeing her perform on a Tonight Show episode (the guest host Flip Wilson had invited Reddy to appear; Wilson knew Reddy from the club circuit). Mogull himself attributed his interest in Reddy to the solicitations on her behalf by her then-husband and manager Jeff Wald who called Mogull three times a day for five months asking him to let Reddy cut a song.
Larry Marks produced Reddy's recording of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" and "I Believe in Music" at A&M's recording studios. According to Reddy, her extreme anxiety – "I had waited years for this shot and I didn't think there would be another one" – manifested in her vocals making "I Believe in Music" ineffectual but "I Don't Know How to Love Him" convincingly plaintive, clinching the decision to make the latter the A-side of the single, released in January 1971.
In a 1974 Billboard tribute to Helen Reddy, writer Cynthia Spector states "I Don't Know How to Love Him" became a hit due to the efforts of Jeff Wald "who stayed on the phone morning to night, cajoling, bullying, wheedling airplay from disk jockeys. Using $4,000 of his own money, his own telephone credit card and his American express card to wine and dine anyone who would listen to his wife, he made the record happen."
Reddy attributes the eventual success of her recording of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" to the positive listener response the track received at the first station where it was played: WDRC (AM) in Hartford Conn – where in fact a number of the "local requests" for "I Don't Know How to Love Him" originated in Los Angeles being made by Reddy's visiting nephew: a teenage Australian actor with a penchant for different voices, and also a number of Reddy's friends, with Reddy admitting: "I may have made a call or two myself".  In April 1971 WDRC program director Charles R. Parker would relate how Reddy and Wald had visited WDRC to thank the station for its initial support of Reddy's "I Don't Know How to Love Him", with Reddy and Wald expressing how they "were more than delighted and surprised to see [the track] break on Top 40 at WDRC."
Reddy's recording of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" entered the national charts in March 1971 – showing in the Top Ten in Dallas and Denver that month  – but its momentum was so gradual as to not effect Top 40 entry until that May; by then MCA Records had issued the original Yvonne Elliman track as a single and from 15 May 1971 to 26 June 1971 both versions were in the Top 40 with Reddy's version maintaining the upper hand peaking at No. 13 while Elliman's version peaked at No. 28.
"I Don't Know How to Love Him" became Reddy's first hit single in her native Australia peaking at No. 2 on the Go-Set Top 40 chart for two weeks in August 1972; the track also afforded Reddy a hit in Europe with a March 1972 peak of No. 14 in Sweden – the Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar had begun a record-setting run in February 1972 – and an April 1972 peak of No. 23 in the Netherlands.
The success of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" led to Reddy's being signed to a long term contract by Capitol who released her I Don't Know How to Love Him album in August 1971. The track issued as a follow-up single: a version of Van Morrison's "Crazy Love" stalled short of the Top 40 at No. 51, while the album charted with a moderate No. 100 peak; Reddy's subsequent success, however, garnered her debut album sufficient interest for it be certified as a Gold record in 1974. Also of note, the I Don't Know How to Love Him album included an initial arrangement of Reddy's signature song, "I Am Woman" which via a 1972 re-recording with a new arrangement would prove to be the vehicle to consolidate Reddy's stardom, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated 9 December 1972.
The earliest single version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was that cut by Karen Wyman an artist on the roster of MCA/Decca Records the label of release for the original Jesus Christ Superstar album: Wyman's single, produced by Ken Greengrass and Peter Matz, was released in November 1970 in the US and was also released in 1970 in the UK. The track was included on Wyman's May 1971 album release One Together.
A version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" done in medley with "Everything's Alright", also from Jesus Christ Superstar, was recorded on the Happy Tiger label by a group credited as the Kimberlys; released in January 1971 the same week as the Helen Reddy version, the Kimberleys' track received enough regional attention to reach No. 99 on the Billboard Hot 100 that March.
The appearance of Helen Reddy's version on the Billboard Hot 100 also drew the single release of the version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" by Petula Clark which single – produced by Johnny Harris – would be Clark's last released on Warner Brothers.
In the British Isles "I Don't Know How to Love Him" first became a hit in the Republic of Ireland where Tina & Real McCoy took it to No. 1 in December 1971. In January 1972 the version by Petula Clark was released in the UK to chart at No. 42 marking Clark's final appearance on the UK Singles chart except for the 1988 remix of her 1964 hit "Downtown". Clark's "I Don't Know How to Love Him" was to be her final single release on Pye Records. Concurrent with Clark's version, the original Yvonne Elliman track was issued as a single on a double A-side with "Superstar" by Murray Head; this single peaked at UK No. 47. Tony Hatch, who had produced Petula Clark's hit singles of the 1960s, had produced a version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" by his then-wife Jackie Trent, which was issued as a single 5 November 1971: Hatch would later produce a rendition of the song by Julie Budd for her 1972 self-titled album. A 1972 version by Sylvie McNeill on a UK 45, United Artists UA UP35415, was released (11 August) timed for the first UK stage musical of Jesus Christ Superstar; she had actually performed it on The Benny Hill Show (original air date: 23 February 1972).
Petula Clark also recorded "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in French as "La Chanson de Marie-Madeleine" which served as the title cut for a 1972 French language album which also featured Clark's version of "I Don't Know How to Love Him". "La Chanson de Marie-Madeleine" became a chart item (#66) for Clark in Quebec in March 1972 despite being bested in France by the Anne-Marie David version from the Paris cast recording which reached No. 29.
In 1972, Cilla Black recorded the song for Day by Day with Cilla – her seventh and final studio album to be produced by George Martin. Black revealed in her 2003 autobiography What's It All About how she had worked so hard to produce the song which she loved but as her record label EMI Records were having industrial action the album was delayed a year. The singer went on to explain "Disappointed though I was, there was at least a crumb of comfort for me when Tim Rice hailed my recording as 'the definitive version'." Also in 2003, Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote for the booklet of Black's Compilation Album The Best of 1963–78 "Her version of 'I Don't Know How To Love Him' in my opinion stands up alongside her other great songs...". Black's original vocal was remixed for her 2009 club remixes album Cilla All Mixed Up.
Shirley Bassey recorded "I Don't Know How to Love Him" for her 1972 album release And I Love You So with the track having a single release as the B-side of the title track. Johnny Harris, who'd produced Petula Clark's version of "I Don't How to Love Him", was the producer of Bassey's And I Love You So album (Noel Rogers was credited as executive producer) and on that album's "I Don't Know How to Love Him" track Harris acted as arranger/conductor.
The earliest rendering of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in Swedish was "Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" introduced on the album Frida by Anni-Frid Lyngstad which was recorded from September 1970 to January 1971: the complete album track was entitled "Allting Skall Bli Bra"/"Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" the first element referring to the Swedish rendering of the abbreviated version of "Everything's Alright" which serves as the lead-in to "Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" ("I Don't Know How to Love Him" is performed in the stage musical Jesus Christ Superstar with an abbreviated "Everything's Alright" as prelude). "Allting Skall Bli Bra"/"Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" had a belated single release in the spring of 1972 as follow-up to Lyngstad's hit "Min egen Stad": the single release of "Allting Skall Bli Bra"/"Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" put Lyngstad in competition with her future ABBA co-member Agnetha Faltskog, the latter's concurrent single release ""Vart Ska Min Karlek Fora" being the Swedish rendering of "I Don't Know How to Love Him" featured in the Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar and Faltskog having the cachet of performing as Mary Magdalena in that stage production it was her single which became the hit, besting Lyngstad's "Allting Skall Bli Bra"/"Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" and also a cover version of "Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek?" by Inger Öst (sv).
"I Don't Know How to Love Him" has also been recorded (with parent album) by Madeline Bell (on multi-artist album Musical Cocktail – 1995), Debra Byrne (credited as Debbie [no surname] on multi-artist album Young Talent Time by Young Talent Team – 1973), Mary Byrne (...with Love – 2011), Chelsia Chan (Dark Side of Your Mind – 1975), Judy Collins (Amazing Grace – 1985), Kjerstin Dellert (sv) (as "Vad Gör Jag Med Min Kärlek") (Primadonna – 1977), Johnny Dorelli & Catherine Spaak (as "Non So Più Come Amarlo") (B-side of No. 6 Italian chart hit "Una Serata Insieme a Te" – 1973), Katja Ebstein (as "Wie soll ich ihn nur lieben") (Liebe – 1977), Peggy Lee (Where Did They Go? – 1971), Gloria Lynne (I Don't Know How to Love Him – 1976), Jeane Manson (Jeane Manson – 1993), Manuela (Songs of Love – 1971), Anita Meyer (Premiere – 1987), Gitte Hænning (as "Jeg vil så gerne nå ham) (Gitte Hænning – 1971), Angelika Milster (de) (as "Wie soll ich ihn nur lieben") (Meisterstucke – 2001), Sinéad O'Connor (Theology – 2007), Seija Simola (as "Maria Magdalena") (Seija – 1972), and Ornella Vanoni (as "Non So Più Come Amarlo") (single from Quei Giorni Insieme A Te – 1974). Kelly Marie, who at sixteen had won four times on Opportunity Knocks singing "I Don't Know How to Love Him", recorded a disco version of the song which appears on the 2003 album Applause.
An apparently unique gender-adjusted version of the song: "I Don't Know How to Love Her", was recorded by Jerry Vale as the title cut of his 1971 album release.
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- Reddy, Helen (2006). The Woman I Am: a memoir. New York: The Penguin Group. pp. 135–138. ISBN 1-58542-489-7.
- Billboard vol#83 No. 16 (17 April 1972) p.29
- Black, Cilla (2003). What's It All About. UK: Ebury. p. 223. ISBN 0-09-189035-7.