If I Can't Have You

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For the song by Kelly Clarkson, see If I Can't Have You (Kelly Clarkson song).
"If I Can't Have You"
Song by Bee Gees
Released 13 December 1977 (US)
6 January 1978 (UK)
Format 7" single, 12" single
A-side "Stayin' Alive"
Recorded January and February 1977, Le Chateau, Herouville, France
September 1977, Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles, California
Genre Disco
Length 3:25
Label RSO
Writer(s) Barry, Robin & Maurice Gibb
Producer(s) Bee Gees, Albhy Galuten, Karl Richardson

"If I Can't Have You" is a disco song written by Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb in 1977. The song initially appeared on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in a version by Yvonne Elliman, released in November 1977. The Bee Gees' version appeared a month later as the B-side of "Stayin' Alive".

The song later appeared on the Bee Gees' compilation Their Greatest Hits: The Record. The remixed version was released and remastered in the compilation Bee Gees Greatest in 2007 and marked the return of the Bee Gees to the US Hot Dance Tracks charts after 28 years. According to Maurice, this track was the first song they did while they were recording the other songs for the film. The recording was started at Château d'Hérouville as a basic track only and completed later at Cherokee Studios in Los Angeles.[1]

If I Can't Have You (The Disco Boys remix)[edit]

"If I Can't Have You (The Disco Boys remix)"
Single by Bee Gees
from the album Bee Gees Greatest
Released 2 November 2007 (2007-11-02)
Length 3:36 (radio edit)
  • Bee Gees
  • The Disco Boys
  • Finger & Kadel
Bee Gees singles chronology
"This Is Where I Came In
"If I Can't Have You" (The Disco Boys remix)
"Stayin' Alive (Serban mix)"

On 2 November 2007, Rhino Records and Reprise Records released a remix version of "If I Can't Have You" by German house music production duo The Disco Boys. The song was released as a single from the remastered version of Bee Gees Greatest (2007), originally released in 1979.

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download — US version[2]
  1. "If I Can't Have You" (The Disco Boys remix) – 6:55
  • CD single
  1. "If I Can't Have You" (The Disco Boys radio edit) – 3:36
  2. "If I Can't Have You" (The Disco Boys remix) – 6:35
  3. "If I Can't Have You" – 3:22
  4. "If I Can't Have You" (The Disco Boys dub mix) – 6:55


Chart (2007) Peak
Germany (Official German Charts)[3] 71

Yvonne Elliman version[edit]

"If I Can't Have You"
If I Can't Have You by Yvonne Elliman US vinyl single A-side.jpg
A-side label of U.S. vinyl single
Single by Yvonne Elliman
from the album Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track
B-side "Good Sign"
  • November 1977 (Saturday Night Fever soundtrack)
  • 23 January 1978 (single)
Recorded 1977
Genre Disco
  • 2:57
  • 4:00 (extended version)
Producer(s) Freddie Perren
Yvonne Elliman singles chronology
"I Can't Get You Outa My Mind"
"If I Can't Have You"
"Moment by Moment"
Saturday Night Fever track listing
Music sample

The song was recorded by Yvonne Elliman for the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.

Although Yvonne Elliman had cut her 1976 album Love Me with producer Freddie Perren, who was a major force in the disco movement (Perren had produced the Sylvers' 1976 number 1 "Boogie Fever" and would soon collaborate with Gloria Gaynor on the disco anthem "I Will Survive"), Love Me had showcased Elliman not as a disco artist but rather as a pop ballad singer, notably on the title cut, a Barry Gibb composition which had provided Elliman with an international hit. It was originally intended that Elliman's contribution to the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack would be another ballad written by the Gibb brothers, "How Deep Is Your Love".

Meanwhile, the Bee Gees produced their own version of "If I Can't Have You" for the film. However, RSO Records chairman and Bee Gees manager Robert Stigwood, who was executive-producing the Saturday Night Fever album, dictated that the Bee Gees themselves record "How Deep Is Your Love" with Elliman being given a shot at the disco-style "If I Can't Have You".

The decision proved a success, as the soundtrack's first single, the Bee Gees' version of the ballad "How Deep Is Your Love", shot to number one, followed to the top spot by the soundtrack's second and third singles, also by the Gibb brothers, "Stayin' Alive" and "Night Fever". Elliman's "If I Can't Have You", produced by Perren, was released as the fourth single off the Saturday Night Fever album in February 1978. The first single off the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack not performed by the Bee Gees, "If I Can't Have You" would become the fourth number 1 hit from the film, reaching the top spot on the Hot 100 in Billboard dated 13 May 1978, ending an eight-week number 1 tenure by "Night Fever". "If I Can't Have You" was the fourth consecutive US number 1 to be co-written by Barry Gibb, and the sixth consecutive to be released on the RSO record label. The B-side of the single was a track from the Love Me album, "Good Sign", a composition by Melissa Manchester and Carole Bayer Sager which had previously served as the B-side of Elliman's hit "Hello Stranger".

Far from the success going to Elliman's head or giving her ideas of following up the sudden disco success with a deeper foray into the genre, a contemporary interview by journalist Peter J. Boyer found Elliman dismissive of her number 1 hit, referring to it in conversation only casually as "that current thing from Saturday Night Fever". In spite of the coattail success she's had with "If I Can't Have You", it's a disco song and Elliman decided her broad, husky vocals are best suited elsewhere. "If I Can't Have You" was featured on Elliman's February 1978 album release Night Flight, which apart from that track was produced by Robert Appère and was not disco-oriented. No track from Night Flight was issued as a follow-up single to "If I Can't Have You", Elliman's next single being a rock ballad entitled "Savannah" which failed to consolidate Elliman's potential mainstream stardom. Elliman did return to disco music in 1979 with "Love Pains" which returned her to the Top 40 one more time before she dropped out of the music scene in the 1980s.

"If I Can't Have You" (Yvonne Elliman's version) was also featured in the 1999 film Big Daddy as well as on the film's soundtrack.


Chart performance[edit]

Preceded by
"Night Fever" by Bee Gees
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (Yvonne Elliman version)
13 May 1978
Succeeded by
"With a Little Luck" by Wings

Kim Wilde version[edit]

"If I Can't Have You"
If I Can't Have You- Kim Wilde.jpg
Single by Kim Wilde
from the album The Singles Collection 1981–1993
B-side "Never Felt So Alive"
Released 28 June 1993
Recorded 1993
Length 3:27
Label MCA
  • Barry
  • Robin
  • Maurice Gibb
Producer(s) Ricki Wilde
Kim Wilde singles chronology
"Million Miles Away"
"If I Can't Have You"
"In My Life"

The song was covered in 1993 by British singer Kim Wilde and recorded as one of two new tracks on her compilation album The Singles Collection 1981–1993. The single reached number 12 in the UK. It became Wilde's biggest hit of the 1990s and one of the biggest hits of her career in Australia, where it reached number 3. It was released in several extended remixes on the 12" and CD-single formats. The B-side was an exclusive non-album track called "Never Felt So Alive".

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1993) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[22] 3
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[23] 29
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[24] 6
Germany (Official German Charts)[25] 51
Ireland (IRMA)[26] 9
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[27] 23
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[28] 18
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[29] 24
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[30] 18
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[31] 12
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[32] 14

Jess Glynne version[edit]

"If I Can't Have You"
Jess Glynne - If I Can't Have You.jpg
Single by Jess Glynne
Released 22 May 2016
Format Digital download
Recorded 2016
Length 3:18
Label Warner
Jess Glynne singles chronology
"Kill the Lights"
"If I Can't Have You"

In 2016, English singer and songwriter Jess Glynne re-recorded "If I Can't Have You" in support of the French musical Saturday Night Fever, which is expected to be premiered in 2017. Warner Music France released her rendition as a digital single on 22 May 2016.[33]

Track listing[edit]

Digital download[33]
No. Title Length
1. "If I Can't Have You" 3:18

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2016) Peak
France (SNEP)[34] 104

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format
Belgium 22 May 2016 Warner Digital download

Other cover versions[edit]

Samples and interpolations[edit]

  • German Eurodance group Chyp-Notic's 1990 single "If I Can't Have U" contains an interpolation of "If I Can't Have You".
  • Eurodance artist B.G., the Prince of Rap uses the melody of the chorus for his 1995 song "Can't Love You".
  • LFO reworked "If I Can't Have You" as "Can't Have You" for their 1999 self-titled album only replicating the choruses, the verses being changed to rapping.
  • DJ Khaled sampled part of this song in his 2007 single "Brown Paper Bag", from his album We the Best.
  • Tony Di Bart's 1994 Eurodance single "The Real Thing" sampled the chorus.


  1. ^ "Gibb Songs : 1977". Columbia.edu. 1976-12-20. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  2. ^ http://www.qobuz.com/fr-fr/album/if-i-cant-have-you-the-disco-boys-remix-us-version-bee-gees/0603497984442
  3. ^ "Musicline.de – Bee Gees Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH. Retrieved 12 February 2017.
  4. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  5. ^ "Ultratop.be – Yvonne Elliman – If I Can't Have You" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  6. ^ "If I can't have you in Canadian Adult Contemporary Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  7. ^ "If I can't have you in Canadian Top Singles Chart". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  8. ^ Steve Hawtin; et al. "Tsort – Chart positions around the world". Tsort.info. 
  9. ^ "If I can't have you in Irish Chart". IRMA. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2013.  Only results when searching "If I can't have you"
  10. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Yvonne Elliman search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  11. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Yvonne Elliman – If I Can't Have You" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  12. ^ a b "Songs from the Year 1978". Tsort.info. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  13. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Yvonne Elliman – If I Can't Have You". Top 40 Singles.
  14. ^ "1978 Top 40 Official UK Singles Archive – 27th May 1978". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  15. ^ a b "Yvonne Elliman awards on Allmusic". Allmusic. Retrieved 8 July 2013. 
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 December 2014. Retrieved 2016-05-30. 
  17. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Austchartbook.com.au. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  18. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Bac-lac.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  19. ^ "Top 100 1978 - UK Music Charts". Uk-charts.top-source.info. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  20. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2016-10-12. 
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2015-11-03. 
  22. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  23. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  24. ^ "Ultratop.be – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  25. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  26. ^ "Chart Track: Week 24, 1993". Irish Singles Chart.
  27. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Kim Wilde search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  28. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  29. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You". Singles Top 100.
  30. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Kim Wilde – If I Can't Have You". Swiss Singles Chart.
  31. ^ "Kim Wilde: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  32. ^ "Kim Wilde – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Kim Wilde. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
  33. ^ a b "If I Can't Have You – Single". iTunes (Belgium). Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  34. ^ "Lescharts.com – Jess Glynne – If I Can't Have You" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 2016-07-10.
  35. ^ Wilber Pan/Pass Me The Mic album liner notes.

External links[edit]