I heard the original of “You’ve Got The Love” for the first time the other day. Back then, it was called “You Got The Love”. I’m sure grammar nerds everywhere rejoiced when Florence + The Machine tidied that up for them with their 2009 version of the song.
The original was by Candi Staton, who older readers might remember having a hit with “Young Hearts Run Free” back in the mid-1970s.
Perhaps surprisingly, this song has been in and out of the charts several times over the years with a variety of different artists (including two versions by Candi Staton herself).
The original…back when it was the grammatically-incorrect “You Got The Love”…came out in 1986. Candi Staton’s vocal was superb, and the hot smoking bass is something to behold.
The 1980s tinny synth was probably something the song could have done without, in my humble opinion, but I guess it wouldn’t have been a song from the 1980s without a bit of tinny synth…
You can remind yourself of the mid-80s sound of “You Got The Love” here… https://youtu.be/BvkHa7s1yGc
Come the early 1990s, someone thought it would be a great idea to remix the track and The Source produced an updated version…one which set the broad direction for Florence + The Machine’s version a decade later. In the hands of The Source, “You Got The Love” morphed into a less soulful but more atmospheric track.
If you’re a Sex and the City fan…I must admit to never having seen a single episode…I’m told that The Source’s version appeared in the series finale of the show. You can find their version of “You Got The Love” (credited to The Source ft. Candi Staton) here… https://youtu.be/x7dMGw3uzEU
The vibe was updated. The grammar was not. (Yet.)
Moving on a few years, Joss Stone tried her hand with “You Got The Love”. Although this isn’t my favourite version of the song, it’s an interesting treatment. It pays more homage than The Source’s version to the song’s soul and gospel roots…accepting that Joss Stone is firmly in the “blue-eyed soul” category…but she makes a great job of it.
With a great brass section, a bass line that…and I never thought I’d say this…is, if anything, an improvement on the original, and a clutch of soulful backing singers, there’s a lot to like about Joss Stone’s version of “You Got The Love”…(here if you’d like a listen to this very different version of the song… https://youtu.be/G6VZnoGuKK4 )
Before long 2009 came around and Florence + The Machine had a crack at a song that was approaching 25 years old by that point.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Florence Welch. She’s got that slightly kooky, vaguely unhinged (but in a nice way) quality that I always like in an artist. There’s something of the spirit of Kate Bush about her.
I like artists where you don’t quite know what they’re going to do next, as happened one day when Florence Welch fancied doing something a bit different and decided Candi Staton’s 25-year-old soul classic was a good place to start.
Now, of all the things I’d have expected from Florence Welch, cavorting in a spangly leotard on a crescent moon suspended above a Studio 54-type disco setting isn’t something I’d have put money on. But there you go…the element of surprise at work again…thanks Flo…
And she tidied up that grammar too. Although the rest of the vocals remain faithful to Candi Staton’s original, Florence + The Machine add the “ve” which makes “you” into the grammatically-correct “you’ve” in the title.
Of all the people I’d have thought would go round correcting other people’s grammar, Florence Welch wouldn’t be one of them. She strikes me as too much of a free spirit for that, but it seems she’s surprised me again…
In a final unexpected twist, Florence + The Machine decide that the one instrument missing from the soul-based original of “You Got The Love” is a harp. So, of course, they put one of those in…
Us Brits always warm to lovable, if slightly unhinged, eccentrics…so there’s much to love about Florence + The Machine…
The lyrics give us something to think about as well…
Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough
And things go wrong no matter what I do
Now and then it seems that life is just too much
But you’ve got the love I need to see me through
You see, we all have hard times. We all have times we feel all alone in the world. We all go through periods that challenge us to the core.
None of those things are pleasant, but they’re all bearable if you know that even one person in the world is there for you. Despite all the trials and tribulations, despite the pressures of life being too much, as long as one other human being loves us totally and absolutely, that’s all we need to see us through.
Time after time I think “Oh, Lord, what’s the use?”
Time after time I think it’s just no good
’Cause sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose
But you got the love I need to see me through
Everything she had, she lost.
Except the love of one special person who held her close and helped her through to the other side of her tragedies.
Someone like that is a special person in anyone’s life. I hope you have someone just like that in your life. It makes all the difference…
You can catch the “Studio 54” video Florence + The Machine’s “You’ve Got The Love”, go here… https://youtu.be/PQZhN65vq9E
But great music is live music. And “You’ve Got The Love” is very much Florence + The Machine’s signature song now.
There’s a great video from Glastonbury which, besides having a pretty good audio for a live show (well done to the BBC who always televise Glastonbury so well), gives you a sense of the spontaneous eruption of joy from the audience when Florence + The Machine strike up “You’ve Got The Love”.
This is what music is about. Moving your feelings, making you think, speaking to your soul.
Seldom has that been done better than Florence + The Machine live at Glastonbury with their barnstorming, show-stopping version of “You’ve Got The Love”…complete with live harp (not often seen at rock festivals in my experience)…what a performance this is…
If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading about another of my favourite songs. I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to spend a few moments in the company of a song that I love.
The video is below, but if you prefer to listen to your music on Spotify, you can find this track here… https://open.spotify.com/track/0fPf9CDFzVnHpcfld5XVtO