"If You Asked Me To" is a song written and originally released as the lead single for Patti LaBelle's seventh solo studio album, entitled Be Yourself, and for the James Bond 007 motion picture Licence to Kill soundtrack. The song is a ballad written by critically acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren. The lyrics are from the point of view of a woman who pleads to her significant other:
The music video was filmed shortly after Jacqueline "Jackie" Padgett died of lung cancer at age 43, and just one day after her funeral. (She was the third of Patti LaBelle's sisters to die; all three of Patti's sisters died before age 44.) As such, the context of the song changed dramatically, as a mourning LaBelle, dressed in black, sings the song in a church (with candles and mourning lilies), intercut with shots of her in tears.
Despite being a Top 10 hit on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, the song did not crossover to the pop charts until Céline Dion covered it three years later. Regarding the subject, LaBelle once explained during an interview used for the liner notes of her 1999 Greatest Hits album what she believed to be the reason for this fact: "I knew the song was a hit when I recorded it, and I was happy that Celine did it and did so well with it. But the arrangements are so close and we both have pretty powerful voices...so who knows why my version didn't take off. Maybe it was timing..."
Céline Dion covered "If You Asked Me To" and released it as the second single from her eponymous album. It was produced by Guy Roche and was released on April 6, 1992 in the United States, and later the same year in the rest of the world.
The single's non-album B-side was "Love You Blind", written by Jay Oliver and Sheryl Crow and produced by Walter Afanasieff.
The song was a hit in the United States and Canada. "If You Asked Me To" reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 (number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay and number 11 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales) and did even better on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, spending three weeks at number 1. In Canada, it reached number 1 on the Canadian Singles Chart and was the first of ten number ones on the Contemporary Hit Radio Chart. The single had moderate success elsewhere. "If You Asked Me To" was released twice in the United Kingdom: first, in June 1992, when it peaked at number 60, and the second time in December 1992, when it reached number 57. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the single has sold 415,000 copies in the U.S.