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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


You Don't Have to Say You Love Me is a rock n' roll classic, originally recorded by the English singer Dusty Springfield in 1966. It was her most popular song by far, reaching number one place on the UK charts and number four on the US charts. It is still commonly played on oldies stations in the US and the UK, and remains recognizable even to younger generations, in part due to the ridiculous number of covers released over the years.


Io che non vivo più di un'ora senza te
Come posso stare una vita senza te
Sei mia,s ei mia, mai niente lo sai
Separarci un giorno potrai


But before that... Pino Donaggio swept Italy with his 1965 chart topping hit Io che non vivo (senza te) ('I, who can't live (without you)'). This song had different lyrics (even after translation), but exactly the same melody. Dusty Springfield heard him sing it as a duet at the 1965 Sanremo Festival. She was reportedly moved to tears, despite not understanding one word of the lyrics. Dusty's friend Vicki Wickham, and her friend, Simon Napier-Bell, wrote the lyrics (despite neither of them having any experience as songwriters), and the song was recorded just a year after the Italian version.


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


Springfield's version was very much like Donaggio's -- heartfelt, with lots of dramatic swells, building to a dramatic finish. It alternated strong swellings of trumpets and background singers with a mellow melody more appropriate to a torch song. Most covers have kept this general format, including Elvis Presley's 1971 cover, which contained unprecedented amounts of ham (at least until The Floaters' 1977 cover), which reached number eleven on the US charts (and number nine on the UK). Since then there have been dozens of covers. While the instrumentation, vocalist's ability, and recording equipment have certainly improved (or, sometimes, not), no cover has really done any better than the original Io che non vivo (senza te) .


Some YouTube:
Dusty Springfield
Elvis Presley
Pino Donaggio
The Floaters

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