When I Need You

In the summer of 1977 shortly after my National Bacalaureat exam I attended my first dancing party in Tartous. These were extremely rare events in my little town by the sea back then. Boys and girls went to single-sex schools like the rest of Syria with the exception of a handful of private ones in Damascus and Aleppo perhaps. Not many years later that had come to change and by the early 80's of the 20th century Tartous implemented co-ed in all of its public schools and remains today the only Governorate in the country without any single-sex learning institution. We've sure moved way ahead of the pack and we're proud of our mindset here on the coast. In fact, despite the relentless waves of marauding Wahabi Islamists pouring over our shores, we Tartoussis, in our majority, stand in defiance to the dull and lifeless coveys desaturating the kaleidoscopic social fabric of Syria not through confrontation but rather by clinging to our traditional Mediterranean way of life. We still master the art of taking it easy and the rest certainement à la tizi.

That night, I asked the prettiest girl in the party to dance with me to what is perhaps one of the greatest love songs ever, When I Need You by Leo Sayer. The song went on that year to top the charts on both sides of the Atlantic (the UK Singles Chart and the US Billboard Hot 100).

Last night, thirty two years after that dance, a breeze blew from the west cooling down the lingering heat of the day. There were folks walking by, young lovers holding hands and this tartoussi  riding his bicycle on the corniche late in the evening. I was enjoying the silence and engrossed in my private thoughts when I decided to listen to some music. I picked a List I call “Soft” on my iPhone and drifted with the tantalizing flow of easy listening songs. The mood was ripe for a daydream (eveningdream is more like it) and right in the middle of it, When I Need You came along.

To lovers all over, this one for you. To the woman who's more me than myself... May I have this dance my Princess?

When I need you
I just close my eyes and I'm with you
And all that I so want to give you
It's only a heartbeat away

When I need love
I hold out my hands and I touch love
I never knew there was so much love
Keeping me warm night and day

Miles and miles of empty space in between us
The telephone can't take the place of your smile
But you know I wont be traveling forever
It's cold out, but hold out, and do I like I do
When I need you
I just close my eyes and I'm with you
And all that I so wanna give you babe
Its only a heartbeat away

Its not easy when the road is your driver
Honey that's a heavy load that we bear
But you know I won't be traveling a lifetime
It's cold out but hold out and do like I do
Oh, I need you

When I need love
I hold out my hands and I touch love
I never knew there was so much love
Keeping me warm night and day

When I need you
I just close my eyes
And you're right here by my side
Keeping me warm night and day

I just hold out my hands
I just hold out my hand
And I'm with you darling
Yes, I'm with you darling
All I wanna give you
It's only a heartbeat away
Oh I need you darling

Writers: Albert Hammond & Carol Bayer Sager


أنا سوري said…
Great song Abyu Fares. They sure don't make them like that anymore.
Unknown said…
beautiful song, and a beautiful memory to go along with it. Unfortunately, I had to listen to Backstreet Boys and Brittney Spears while in high school, so there isn't much good music to reflect back. Although Shania Twain gave us many chances to have that special dance, with that special person.
أنا سوري said…
Abu Fares. I wanted to ask you a favor. This song is by صفوان العابدand it's at the start of the third year episodes of الحصرم الشامي at this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4bueZU1-XQ It's one of the best Syrian series I've seen. I tried to find a recording for that song, but couldn't. Can you get your hands on one and upload it somewhere? I really appreciate it.
Dubai Jazz said…
Lovely song indeed, Abu Fares. I kind of grew up on the butchered rendition sung by Julio Igelisiasias, who I suspect tries to imitate a French accent with a flavor of his mother-tongue Spanish when he sings in English.

ven eye neeed you,

i jus closs ma ice

an' am wid you


Btw, this is the first time I'm hearing that education in Tartous is mix gender. Hooray for Tartous, and may the rest follow suit.
Abufares said…
@Ana Sourie
They sure don't.

I found this link for you. I think you have to register though to download.

Abufares said…
This song in particular means a lot to me because in a sense it presents a continuum in my state of mind. It's as if I've been waiting for the right moment to hear it again.
I haven't danced in so many years, which in a way is a blessing to everyone else. But I'm in the mood now for a long and sensual embrace, preferably in the dark so she doesn't notice what an awful dancer I am;-)
أنا سوري said…
I already have those Abu Fares. It's the music of the beginning and the end. I just can't find that song anywhere. I even tried when I was in Syria. Maybe there's just no seperate recording of it. Thanks for looking.
Abufares said…
Julio Iglesias has a way of Maniakizing the songs he shamelessly stole over the years.

He always fell short of the original. There's too much Las Vegas in the guy and too little real passion. Well of course, women might disagree with me but that doesn't stop me from considering him a big fake. A maniac (in Arabic).
Abufares said…
@Ana Sourie
Well I'll keep an eye for you. There's a guy here in Tartous who might, just might, have your request. If I find it I'll let you know.
Tony Tahhan said…
nice song abufares! thanks for sharing!
Ana Sourie - I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but there are a lot of online tools that allow you to download youtube videos to your computer. http://vixy.net/ is one example, but you could find plenty of others through google. As long as it's for personal use, you shouldn't have any problems. I hope that helps :)
Anonymous said…
lol @ French
I love when you write about your corniche visits. There's always something heart-warming to them.
Dubai Jazz said…
HAHAHA @ Maniakizing, couldn't agree more!

(at least once you and I agree to disagree with the ladies)
david santos said…
Really great work! Excellent song. Fantastic. I love this posting. Thank you. Have a nice day.
أنا سوري said…
Thank you Abu Fares. Tony, I didn't want to download the song from you tube. It's mixed with the series noises and it's a short form. You can download any youtube video by just adding "kiss" before the youtube in the address bar. You can also convert it to any format using "Any Video Converter". I really wanted the original song if there's one. Thanks for trying to help. I really appreciate it.
Anonymous said…
Hello! Boy this one is a corny song if ever, but I too remember those highschool parties with Leo Sayer, Joe Cocker "You are so beautiful", The Beatles "Hey Jude", Elton John "This is your song"... I think the 70's had the right romantic touch between all the Disco! : )

As a female, may I say the only Album of Julio Iglesias that I ever liked was his very first and that is probably because I was very young and the only movies in TV we ever got to watch were from either Mexico or Spain. He was a short time actor, needless to say. Back then when I was 10 yrs. old, he was a handsome young man. Now he looks like Botox and Plastic Surgery met on a Corner and never left!

w.b. yeats
Karin said…
What can I say ... I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!
It brings back so many memories ...
Gabriela said…
This is indeed a beuatiful song.
From my teen years I remember Chicago's "You are the inspiration", and some from Elton John.
Nowadays, teenagers go crazy with hits that last two weeks in the radio. I guess you can hardly find classics as the one you chose here.
Abufares said…
@Tony Tahhan
I'm glad you liked it Tony. You're always welcome here :-)
Abufares said…
Yes my French, looool. It was a spur of the moment and poetic inspiration.

I'm waiting for the summer to end so that I can start my longer bicycle rides on the old coastal road toward Banias, Jableh and Lattakia. Then I might get in an even better mood. I think the real reason I have these "heartwarming" moments is that when I'm alone my mind works extra time. Daydreaming on a bicycle while listening to music is such a rewarding and enjoyable experience. You should give it a try.
Abufares said…
I have the feeling that most ladies (not all perhaps) who read this blog are not into Julio Iglesias. This time, I presume that you have nothing to worry about. I mean you really need to get out of your way to screw up. Come to think about it, nobody does it better ;-)
Abufares said…
@David Santos
Olá meu amigo. Obrigado por sua visita.
I'm glad you liked this song. I bet it reminded you of uma linda mulher:-)
Abufares said…
@w.b. yeats
They were good times the late 70's and early 80's. Ahhh, it seems only like yesterday.
Even in its heyday I abhorred disco music. The only exception were the Bee Gees. I actually liked some of their songs especially the slower ones.
Julio, to me, is a reminder of what we men should avoid becoming when we get to be his age.
I admire his persistence. It's his looks I'm having problems with.
Abufares said…
Memories... I hope some of them were naughty enough to make you smile three decades later ;-)
Abufares said…
Hola Amiga
Ohhh, Chicago... one of my favorite bands. I have at least 3 songs on my Soft Playlist on the iPhone. You just reminded me of "You are the Inspiration". What a beautiful song indeed. I need to send it to someone special ;-) immediately.
Gracias siempre!
Isobel said…
This is a beautiful song, Abufares! I remember it well. I was trying to remember who else sang it besides Julio...whom I never found appealing! I remembered this morning. It is, of course, Rod Stewart...and that's the version I had in my head when I first read your post. Celine Dion also does a wonderful rendition of it.

Thank you for another wonderful post.
Abufares said…
Then you should hear MY rendition of When I Need You. I bet it would be the best you've heard, loool.

I'm familiar with Rod Stewart's version. This is a guy I really like and enjoy his special voice. I haven't heard Celine singing it but I'm sure she does a great job.
That you don't like Julio is such a welcome relief. But I had a feeling you wouldn't anyway.
Thank you Isobel for gracing my blog with your presence.
Anonymous said…
those were the days my friend,
times when I was so inocent,

Diana said…
I like that you called it a "dancing party." :)
Katia said…
I love that song! It's one of those that just pop up as background music in my daydreams (or eveningdreams as you said).

Somehow I used to hang out in circles where oldies were more the rule than the exception and I'm really glad about that.

As for Mr Iglesias (+son for that matter), he sort of represents the dandy I will never like. And the same goes for his music. But - and I'm going to be a game breaker here - there is this one song that begins with "vous les femmes"... it makes me smile, but that's more because of fun memories around it than because of the song itself.

The telephone can't take the place of your smile Ah how true. Nor does a webcam smile.
Dubai Jazz said…
Abu Fares,

The ladies love my screw ups, they somehow find them sexy. I was once told that I sound like a "bastard who's not whipped by the vagina"

allahuma inni sa'em...
Anonymous said…
Nice.Cheers mate
Abufares said…
I would like to know when and how you lost your innocence, looool.
Take care my friend.
Abufares said…
Well this is how it was called back then, a dancing party, because that was the main, no the only, purpose of the event. Anyone who didn't dance all the time was a loser, loooool. But being a discriminating man, well boy really at that stage, I went for quality rather than quantity. So instead of the customary "invite every single girl to at least one dance approach", I only partnered with the hot babes and then skulked with the losers thus getting the best of both world: the squeezable chicks and the satirical guys.
This is way beyond what you expected for a reply isn't it?
I'm so happy you nudged me :-)
Abufares said…
You read my mind Katia, that line: "The telephone can't take the place of your smile" is my favorite.
Julio Iglesias has some very nice songs but as far as I'm concerned they were only in Spanish. He sounds so Bandou2 in French and English and what he, or those around him, think is a cute accent is an absolute disaster. Then there's the problem of his hair. It's fascinating how most older men who have a full head of hair will continuously make a point of it. "I Have hair" they want the whole world to know. That it's dyed, oily and/or greasy doesn't seem to change their mindset. I HAVE HAIR!

Well not me, I have very little left and perhaps this makes me subconsciously bitter and envious of Mr. Iglesias and Indians in general. I don't know of any bald Indian my age. Ummm interesting observation!!!
Abufares said…
Well I leave it to the ladies to tell you how sexy they find you after your remark.
OMG, how do you do it? I'm really intrigued, looool.
Haifaa said…
Mercy, Abu Fares.

Abufares said…
@Az3ar's Fan
Merci a vous :-)
Diana said…
It was more than I expected, but I enjoyed reading it. :)
BuJ said…
I think I am in love with David Santos, and so glad he is alive. Should we start a fan club for him?

Anonymous said…
www.abufares.net; You saved my day again.

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