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Everybody Needs Somebody to Love

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"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"
Single by Solomon Burke
B-side"Looking for My Baby"
ReleasedJuly 1964
RecordedMay 28, 1964
LabelAtlantic (2241)
Producer(s)Bert Berns
Solomon Burke singles chronology
"Goodbye Baby (Baby Goodbye)"
"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love"
"Yes I Do"

"Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" is a song written by Bert Berns, Solomon Burke, and Jerry Wexler, and originally recorded by Burke under the production of Berns at Atlantic Records in 1964. Burke's version charted in 1964, but missed the US top 40, peaking at number 58.

The song is ranked number 429 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Composition and recording[edit]

On May 28, 1964, Burke recorded "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" (Atlantic 2241),[1] 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.[2]

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."[3]

In August 2008, Burke recalled that he had hired musicians from Charlotte, North Carolina, to play at a gig on 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.'"[4] 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".[5]

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."[6]


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."[7]

Jerry 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."[8]

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,[6] which was released in July 1964, and was in the US Pop Charts for 8 weeks, but only reached #58.[9]

Wilson Pickett recording[edit]

Wilson Pickett recorded the most successful version and released a cover of the song on his 1966 album The Wicked Pickett.[10] This version (which explicitly mentions Solomon Burke in the opening section) made it to No. 29 pop, and No. 19 R&B in early 1967.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 29
US Billboard Top Selling R&B Singles[12] 19

Live performances[edit]

Burke made an appearance to sing the song during The Rolling Stones 2002-2003 tour, singing the song, which was included in the Stones' 2004 live album Live Licks.

It was also performed live by The Shadows of Knight, included on their LP The Shadows Of Knight – Live 1966.[13][14] In addition, a live version was part of the soundtrack album for the 1980 Blues Brothers movie.

Other cover versions[edit]

Many other artists have covered the song, among them:

Popular culture[edit]


  1. ^ Atlantic Records Discography: 1964. Jazzdisco.org. Retrieved on April 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Robert Hilburn, "His Legacy on the Line", Los Angeles Times (August 11, 2002)
  3. ^ Spencer Leigh, "Solomon Burke: The 1960s 'King of Rock and Soul' Who Enjoyed a Modern Renaissance", The Independent (October 11, 2010)
  4. ^ a b c Solomon Burke, in Mojo Magazine (August 2008), quoted in "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love by Solomon Burke"
  5. ^ Michael Haralambos, Soul Music: The Birth of a Sound in Black America, (Da Capo Press, 1985):101.
  6. ^ a b Dave Marsh, In The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (Da Capo Press, 1999):297.
  7. ^ Solomon Burke, in Robert Wilonsky, "Soul Survivor" Archived June 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Dallas Observer (March 20, 1997)
  8. ^ Jerry Wexler, in Robert Hilburn, "His Legacy on the Line", Los Angeles Times (August 11, 2002)
  9. ^ "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 18, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2014.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), Rolling Stone 963 (December 9, 2004), see
  10. ^ "www.allmusic.com". allmusic.com. Retrieved April 9, 2023.
  11. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2013). Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles, 14th Edition: 1955-2012. Record Research. p. 659.
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 461.
  13. ^ "The Shadows Of Knight - Live 1966". Discogs. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  14. ^ "The Shadows Of Knight/ Live 1966". www.oldies.com. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  15. ^ James Hector, The Complete Guide to the Music of the Rolling Stones (Omnibus Press, 1995):27–28.
  16. ^ "Small Faces Story - Part 5". The Darlings of Wapping Wharf launderette. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  17. ^ Jay Warner, On This Day in Black Music History (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006):173.
  18. ^ Suddath, Claire (February 14, 2011). "Mick Jagger, 'Everybody Needs Somebody to Love'". Time. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  19. ^ https://www.neighbortunes.net/setlists/neighbor/2023
  20. ^ "Amazon Prime Advert Songs". Sounds-Familiar. Retrieved November 10, 2019.

External links[edit]