If You Need Me

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"If You Need Me"
Single by Solomon Burke
Released April 1963
Recorded March 15, 1963
Genre Soul
Length 2:35
Label Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Robert Bateman , Wilson Pickett, Sonny Sanders
Producer(s) Bert Berns

"If You Need Me" is a 1963 song co-written and originally recorded by Wilson Pickett. It was made into a bigger hit by Solomon Burke, who sent the song to #2 on the R&B charts that year.


The song was written by Wilson Pickett with two former members of the Satintones, Robert Bateman (who had also co-written "Please Mr. Postman") and Sonny Sanders. It was recorded originally by Pickett on March 15, 1963,[1] for Lloyd Price's Detroit-based Double L Records,[2] It had been rejected by Jerry Wexler, who nevertheless had purchased the publishing rights. According to Burke, Pickett gave the song to him on a tour bus: "Wilson sang the song for me in a bus on a tour. I loved it so much that I got Wilson to do it. Atlantic refused to sign him at that time, so we got Wilson to release the song on the Lloyd-Logan label. We were the best of friends. As a matter of fact, I promoted his record and he promoted mine." However, Pickett claims Wexler lifted it from demo tapes he had sent Atlantic.[3] Burke recalled in 2003: "I was furious when Wexler rejected Pickett",[4] and "when radio personality the Magnificent Montague started spinning Pickett’s original version, Wexler rushed out Burke’s, with both in Billboard 's "Singles Review" column on April 13.[5] and both featured on Billboard's "Artists' Biographies" on May 4, 1963.[6] Although Burke ultimately won the chart war, Burke broke rank and supported his rival: “I would go to the radio stations and say, ‘Hi, I’m Solomon Burke, and I’m here promoting the new record “If You Need Me”…by Wilson Pickett.’”[4]

Release and reaction[edit]

Despite his efforts, Burke's version jockeyed with Pickett's for position in the Hot 100, before "beating Pickett to the punch" because of "Solomon’s popularity and Atlantic’s distribution." Both versions had Cissy Houston singing backup vocals.[7] Despite his anger, in 1964, Pickett signed with Atlantic because he needed the "bread."[8][9] While Burke's version spent 5 weeks at #2 in the R&B charts in the American summer of 1963, kept from the number one position by Jackie Wilson's "Baby Workout" and Sam Cooke's "Another Saturday Night", Pickett's original stalled at #64 in the Pop charts and #30 on the R&B chart.[10] "If You Need Me" was "the first of several great preaching scorchers": "Can’t Nobody Love You", "You’re Good For Me", and "Goodbye Baby, Baby Goodbye", which were all arranged by Gary Sherman, the man behind many Garnet Mimms hits."

Cover versions[edit]

  • It was covered by the Hep Stars in 1965 for their first 'live album "Hep Stars On Stage".
  • The song was covered by The Rolling Stones on their album "12 x 5" released in October 1964.


  1. ^ Gerri Hirshey, Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music (Da Capo Press, 1994):86.
  2. ^ Cliff White, "The Solomon Burke Story", Black Music (1975)
  3. ^ Dave Marsh, In The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (Da Capo Press, 1999):472
  4. ^ a b Solomon Burke, in Kurt B. Reighley, "Wilson Pickett: 1941 – 2006", Farther Along #62 (March–April 2006)
  5. ^ "Singles Reviews", Billboard (13 Apr 1963):34.
  6. ^ "Artists' Biographies", Billboard (4 May 1963):12. Note Burke's age is erroneously given as 28.
  7. ^ Gerri Hirshey, Nowhere To Run: The Story of Soul Music (Da Capo Press, 1994):24.
  8. ^ Steven Otfinoski, African Americans in the Performing Arts, 2nd ed. (Infobase Publishing, 2009):178.
  9. ^ David Brackett, ed., The Pop, Rock, and Soul Reader: Histories and Debates, 2nd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2009):178.
  10. ^ Dave Marsh, In The Heart of Rock & Soul: The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made (Da Capo Press, 1999):472.