♫ You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me ♫

Originally, this was a Italian song composed by Pino Donnagio. Dusty Springfield heard Donnagio perform it at the San Remo festival and asked her friend Vicki Wickham, who produced the British TV show Ready Steady Go, to write some English lyrics for it. With the help of Yardbirds manager Simon Napier-Bell, she did.

According to Napier-Bell …

“Vicki and I used to eat together, and she told me that Dusty wanted a lyric for this song. We went back to her flat and started working on it. We wanted to go to a trendy disco so we had about an hour to write it. We wrote the chorus and then we wrote the verse in a taxi to wherever we were going. It was the first pop lyric I’d written, although I’ve always been interested in poetry and good literature. We’d no idea what the English lyric said. That seemed to be irrelevant and besides, it is much easier to write a new lyric completely.”

I like the song for the music, the tune, but admittedly, the lyrics disturb me, for it seems she is saying that “he” can do as he wishes, never having to say he loves her, never needing to commit, while she will always be there for him.  Seems a bit one-sided to me, and it makes me rather sad.  But still … I like the melody, so it stays.

Dusty recorded this in 1966, and then along came Elvis Presley, who covered it with an also-popular version both in the U.S. and UK in 1970.  I prefer Dusty’s, but Elvis’ isn’t bad, either.  So … you get both!

You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me
Dusty Springfield/Elvis Presley

When I said I needed you
You said you would always stay
It wasn’t me who changed but you and now you’ve gone away
Don’t you see that now you’ve gone
And I’m left here on my own
That I have to follow you and beg you to come home

You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don’t have to stay forever I will understand
Believe me, believe me I can’t help but love you
But believe me I’ll never tie you down
Left alone with just a memory
Life seems dead and quite unreal
All that’s left is loneliness there’s nothing left to feel

You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don’t have to stay forever
I will understand believe me, believe me
You don’t have to say you love me just be close at hand
You don’t have to stay forever
I will understand, believe me, believe me

Songwriters: Giuseppe Donaggio / Simon Napier-Bell / Vito Pallavicini / Vicki Heather Wickham
You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing

8 thoughts on “♫ You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me ♫

  1. Jill, if a young lad did not have a crush on Dusty Springfield before, video of this song would do the trick. Her voice was envied by many of her peers like Dionne Warwick. Seeing Dusty build to the last verses is incredible. Keith

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  2. Poor woman thinks the best way to keep her man is by letting him run free and keep running back to her.Alas she doesn’t know there are me who will take advantage of that but may well find a new ‘Love’ on the way. Begging isn’t the right way to maintain a relationship.

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    • Yeah, she is rather sadly pathetic, but like I said, I like the tune, and since I never knew all the lyrics until last night, I can appreciate the music without letting the lyrics get in the way. I always interpreted the song a bit differently, with a more mutually beneficial meaning, so I will just keep thinking of it in my own way anyway.

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  3. She is giving him carte-blanche to everything she has of value to him, but the thing is, she is “choosing” to offer this. Does she really expect him to take her up on it, I doubt it, but for the moment her passion is so intense she believes what she is saying. Probably a week later she was saying the same thing to another guy.
    And the roles can be so easily reversed. I have loved like that, but only until the heartaches stopped.

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