It’s Covered: He Needs Me

by oddbodkins on May 21, 2010

Sometimes ye olde iPod simply lands on a song i feel like sharing. Today would be one of those days. Some time ago, i was given a copy of Ndidi Onukwulu’s The Contradictor to review. A few of the tracks jumped out at me, particularly a certain track called “He Needs Me.” i recognized the tune from somewhere, but couldn’t quite place it. As i had received a digital copy of the album, i had no liner notes to refer to, so i just placed it in my typically overflowing “Shit to Think About Later” pile and moved on with my life. Shortly thereafter, i’m watching the allegedly coke driven performance of Robin Williams in Popeye on cable, and what do you know, there’s Shelley Duvall singing the original. So then i knew, thereby completing half the battle.

Flash forward to earlier this week, and i’m half asleep on the couch when what should come on the boob tube but Punch Drunk Love, the Adam Sandler vehicle that not only used the song in the film, but had Jon Brion piano it up a bit for an instrumental bit. Today, of course, the Shelley Duvall version popped on the Pod, and i decided now was as good a time as any to make sure It’s Covered.

In my quest to find the original version, i quickly find the original was penned by none other than Harry Nilsson himself. Also, Robert Altman, of all folks, directed the flick. Of course, now i clearly need to see the movie again, so hopefully TiVo won’t let me down when i get home this evening. That didn’t do anything to help me get you cats the original version of the song, though, which i quickly learned never made it past vinyl. Thanks to the Google Gods, however, i found the wonderfully informative For the Love of Harry blog. Should you need to know anything about Mr. Nilsson, i cannot recommend enough you go check out that site. Not only did they have the original album in mp3s, but i’ll be damned if they didn’t also happen to have the original demos, too. So today, you get a cover, an original, a couple of demos and a version that i swear is slightly different, but i could be crazy. At the 1:33 mark in the Popeye version, you can hear an almost unintelligible Robin Williams mumble, “But I do.” In the Punch-Drunk Love version, i am positive that is Adam Sandler’s voice overdubbed. Of course, i take a lot of drugs, so i could be off on this one.

Regardless of all that, enjoy. There’s a bittersweet joy to this song that i just dig. i believe you shall, too.

mp3: He Needs Me (Shelley Duvall from Popeye Demos)

mp3: He Needs Me (Spanish Version) (Shelley Duvall (maybe?) from Popeye Demos)

mp3: He Needs Me (Shelley Duvall from Punch-Drunk Love Soundtrack)

STOP! MOVIE TIME!!!

By the by, if any of you happen to be fans of the Popeye soundtrack, i cannot for the life of me figure out who is singing (either real person or movie character) “Din’ We.” i know it didn’t make the movie, but it’s driving me crazy nonetheless. If anyone else knows, PLEASE hit me up in the comments or directly. Not knowing which cartoon character sang a song on an obscure 80s soundtrack is the kind of thing that keeps me up at night, but it also makes me nigh invulnerable in Trivial Pursuit, so there’s that.
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