Lady Antebellum, ‘Need You Now’ — Story Behind the Song
Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelly, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott wrote 'Need You Now' with Josh Kear, and while they knew they had a good song, the trio didn't realize just how good it was. The lead single and title track from their sophomore album stayed at No. 1 for five consecutive weeks and sold more than six million copies in the United States. The song also won numerous awards, including four Grammys, a CMA Award, two ACM Awards and the BMI Pop Award, among others, and earned the trio crossover success. Below, Kelley tells The Boot about the day the song was conceived.
I had a writing appointment with Josh Kear, Dave and Hillary, and my wife didn't want me to write that day because it was her birthday. She was so upset that I was going to keep my writing appointment.
We already had another song halfway done, so we finished that first. Then Josh asked what else we had. So we actually wrote two songs that day. I'd been fooling around with this little guitar melody at home and had that first line, "Picture-perfect memories scattered all around the floor." But I didn't have a chorus melody. I played what I had for Josh, and everybody liked it, so we just started writing.
Everybody brought in a little piece of that song after I started playing some of the basic chords. But I'm not that great of a guitar player, so I put the guitar back in Dave's hands. And with his expert knowledge, he just took it to the next level. That's the beautiful thing about co-writing. I had that little piece of melody, but I told Hillary it would probably be a more beautiful melody if she sang it.
A lot of times you'll be mumbling things when you're writing, and something like that first line will come out ... and then you'll immediately put yourself in that place. You may not be going through that in the moment, but you're able to put yourself in one of those times you were going through something like that. That's kind of how the three of us write together. We'll sit there and come up with some melodies, and Hillary and myself will be mumbling words over it ... and then something will happen. We'll say something, and we'll start writing a song around it.
After we had the chorus, we started toying with the idea -- what if now, from a man's perspective, he comes in and says his part? We were a little worried though, about that one line: "It's a quarter after one, and I'm a little drunk" ... We were wondering if it was OK to say that!
It was one of those songs that came together really quickly. But truthfully, I don't think we really knew what we had when we walked out of there that day! We thought we'd just written a couple of good songs.
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