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Old Jul 22, 2009, 08:23 PM   #1
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Default The Story of 'You Got It"

I saw this on a Jeff Lynne site

You Got It was the first collaboration between Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison (and Tom Petty). It was written during the Christmas season of 1987 and recorded in April of 1988 with Jeff, Tom and Phil Jones providing the backing track. The song, released the following year, would go on to be an international hit, making the Top 10 in both the UK and USA charts.

In mid-1987, Jeff was enjoying the thrill and success of meeting and working with George Harrison, one of his musical heroes. Probably because of this, he had his manager contact Roy at his home and asked to meet. They met briefly, but Roy was quite busy having just moved to a new home in California and other commitments. They got along quite well and agreed to collaborate the next time both were in Los Angeles and had the time. During the Christmas 1987 season, Roy was at home in Malibu, California when he invited Jeff over to begin working. Jeff soon invited Tom Petty over to help out as well, which would be the first time that Tom met Roy. Tom tells an amusing story in his Conversations With Tom Petty book of that day: before doing any work together, Tom invited the others outside to look at his new Corvette. After looking under the hood, all three musicians struggled to get the hood back down, not knowing how to do it. Eventually they did get the hood closed and it was later that day that they wrote You Got It, based upon an idea of Roy's. Jeff worked out the song on a small Casio keyboard, while Roy and Tom added acoustic guitars. They created the chorus first, and the verses second. That day and/or the next day, the trio also wrote the song California Blue in the same manner. Curiously, although Jeff states that the genesis of the song was an idea of Roy's, Jeff Lynne is given first billing for the song's songwriter credits, implying that Jeff was the primary songwriter.

A few months later, in April of 1988, the trio were in Rumbo Recorders, a Canoga Park, California studio owned by Daryl Dragon and Toni Tenille (of Captain & Tenille fame) to record the songs they had written. They got the vocals recorded in only three takes, but Jeff tells another amusing story about the first take. They had never recorded with Roy before so while he was practicing his performance, they set up the microphone levels based on that. When Roy went to record his first take, they had underestimated how powerful he would really would sing the song and his first take maxed out the equipment. With that knowledge, they backed off the levels after this first attempt and the song was completed within two more takes. Roy, Jeff and Tom added backing vocals shortly afterwards and the song's recording was completed. The Mystery Girl album credits the song's mixing as having been done later at George Harrison's home studio, Friar Park Studios in Henley-On-Thames in Oxford, England. However, this is uncertain as there was so much recording being done at that time with all the Traveling Wilburys and related projects, that Jeff thinks this may be incorrect and the song was mixed and completed at Rumbo Recorders. Also, it is interesting to note that You Got It was recorded in April of 1988, the same month in which the Traveling Wilburys would record their first song, Handle With Care. It is uncertain which song was recorded first.

The song's lyrics tell a rather simple tale of love, wherein the singer tells his woman that he knows they are meant to be together and he would do anything for her, thus "anything she wants, she has it." Although Roy had developed a career on lonely, maudlin songs such as Only The Lonely, Running Scared and It's Over, You Got It's lyrics are actually quite upbeat with the only mild hint of negativity being the line "I pray that you are here to stay." Despite this, many reviewers describe the singer in the song as being defensive and so desperate to keep the girl that he will give her anything she wants. Even Sam Phillips, owner of Sun Records and the man that helped launch Roy's career in the 1950s describes the song this way. But looking at the lyrics, it just doesn't fit. Clearly the singer knows and is quite confident that the he and his lover are very much in love, with lyrics like "everything about you tells me I'm your man" and "I know you feel the way I do." Barbara Orbison, Roy's dedicated wife since the late 1960s with whom he was very much in love, does not state that the song was written for her, but as close as they were, he very well may have had her in mind when the lyrics were written.

In January 1989, a month after Roy's unexpected death due to a heart attack, the song was released as the lead-off UK and USA single from the Mystery Girl album. It was also released as the first track on the Mystery Girl album later that same month. It entered the UK Top 75 singles chart on Janaury 14, 1989, peaked at #3 for two consecutive weeks on February 4 & 11, and spent 10 weeks in the chart. In the USA, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 21, 1989, reached #9 on April 15, 1989, spending 18 weeks in the chart and entered the Cash Box Top 100 chart on January 21, 1989, reached #16 for two consecutive weeks on April 8 & 15, 1989, spending 21 weeks in the chart. It is Roy's 32nd Billboard pop chart single.

The track is quite significant to the career of Jeff Lynne as it his first entry into the Billboard Hot Country charts and his only Top 10 Country hit, peaking at #7 for two consecutive weeks on April 15 & 22, 1989. Jeff's only other Billboard Hot Country chart entry was the following Roy Orbison single, California Blue, which peaked at #51 later that year. By this time in Billboard chart history, due to the fracturing of pop music formats on USA radio, rock and pop acts were appearing on charts that tracked these subgenres, thus the song also peaked at #2 on the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock charts and #1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary charts. This song also made Billboard chart history with the song becoming the first to chart on the Hot Mainstream, Pop, Adult Contemporary and Country charts simultaneously.

The music video for You Got It is a somewhat bittersweet affair. Roy's only live performance of the song was at the Diamond Career Awards ceremony in Antwerp, Belgium, where he was presented with the award. This was on November 18, 1988-- less than three weeks before his death. Despite several songs performed at the ceremony being actual live performances, the performance of You Got It is a lip-synched, pantomime performance only. Video recordings from the ceremony were lifted and used for the promo video, prefaced by some brief wavy image special effects. The audio for the video is the standard single/album version with audience cheering noises added at the song's beginning and end.

In 1990, You Got It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, however, it did not win and the honors instead went to Michael Bolton for How Am I Supposed To Live Without You. Interestingly, Roy would win a Grammy Award in the same category the following year for his rendition of Oh, Pretty Woman (no Jeff Lynne involvement) as lifted from his 1988 A Black and White Night performance.

Roy's Texas accent comes through very strongly in the song's chorus when he sing's the word "want" with a long 'O' sound, rather than the short 'A' sound. Thus it sounds like he's singing "anything you won't, you got it" rather than the actual intended lyric.

Curiously, Roy's You Got It single was released in the USA in January of 1989 while almost at the same time a similarly titled song called You Got It (The Right Stuff) by the New Kids On The Block was also released. There is no relation between the two songs other than the coincidence of nearly the same title. The New Kids On The Block song peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 in the second week of March, while Roy's song peaked on the third week of April.

For Roy's USA single on Virgin (7-99245) there are two different single releases with different B-sides. The first, issued with and without picture sleeve, features the song The Only One as lifted from the Mystery Girl album. The second, issued three months later and with a whole new picture sleeve, features the K.D. Lang duet of Crying (taken from the soundtrack of the 1987 film, Hiding Out) on the B-side. Both singles have the same stock number assigned. It is unclear why there were two different releases but there is some evidence that the second version with Crying was intended for use in jukeboxes, such that both sides would have a modern hit song from Roy. This second version may have also been released for the country music market, rather than the pop/rock market. Neither B-side has any Jeff Lynne involvement.
"Everyone should have themselves regularly overwhelmed by Nature"
- George Harrison

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Old Jul 22, 2009, 08:24 PM   #2
Sun King
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The song was used during the spring and summer of 2003 in an ad campaign by Target stores. Interestingly, they did not use the original recording as is, but created several 30 second remixes that sampled the song's chorus with Roy's original vocals (and sometimes Jeff and Tom's backing vocals). Each mix is given a unique dance mix backing. It has been reported that there were six different mixes done, all 30 seconds each, however, only four are known to actually exist. It is unclear if there are more mixes or if there are mixes of differing lengths. It's uncertain who did these remixes, but it was probably the ad agency themselves or someone who they hired for the job.

You can listen to these here

Cover Versions

* Manuela (under the title Für Immer) on the single Für Immer (1990) (sung in German)
* Bonnie Raitt on the Boys On The Side soundtrack (1991)
* Whoopi Goldberg on the Boys On The Side soundtrack (1991)
* Juliane Werding (under the title Du Schaffst Es) on the single Du Schaffst Es (1994) (sung in German)
* Ronnie De Vane on an album of unknown origin (19??)
* Soft Pops on an album of unknown origin (19??)
* Russel B. on an album of unknown origin (19??)
* Nice And Slow on an album of unknown origin (19??)
* Sayonara Show Band on the O Baile II vol. 5 album (2007)

Promotional Videos and TV Performances

You Got It promo movieThe music video for You Got It is lifted from Roy's lip-synch performance of the song at the Diamond Career Awards ceremony in Antwerp, Belgium on November 18, 1988. The video audio is the standard single/album version with audience cheering noises added at the song's beginning and end.


"The only song on the [Mystery Girl] album that remained resolutely stuck in the past was You Got It. In the lyrics, co-authored by Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty, Roy assumes his customary posture of supplication in front of his beloved. He will give her anything in the world if she'll only be his girl. When [Sun Records founder] Sam Phillips heard You Got It, he recognized the old Roy. 'He's defensive in that song,' Sam said. 'It's like he's afraid he's going to lose her any minute.' Ironically, this was the biggest single on the album, zooming into the Top 10 when it was released in 1989. [...] [At a November 19, 1988 Antwerp, Belgium concert, Roy] lip-synched You Got It, and a video of that performance soon showed up on MTV. [...] His single from Mystery Girl, You Got It, went into the Top 10, peaked at #9, and remained on the chart for eighteen weeks..."
- Ellis Amburn (1990 Dark Star: The Roy Orbison Story)

"Co-written with fellow Wilburys' Jeff Lynne (who also produced this track) and Tom Petty for Mystery Girl, Orbison's first album of new material in more than a decade. Barbara Orbison explains, 'The making of Mystery Girl was a dream that Roy and I shared. The goal was to do an album that would truly honor Roy and his music and to present him to the world with a heightened integrity and importance.' March 1989, Mystery Girl charted #5 in the US and You Got It went all the way to #1. Orbison made U.S. chart history with this single, becoming the first artist to chart on the AOR, Pop, Adult Contemporary and Country charts simultaneously."
- Tanja Crouch and Roy Orbison (1996 - liner notes for The Very Best Of Roy Orbison)

"Jeff: '...we sat down and wrote those two songs, like in about two days and Tom Petty helped as well. Those were the first two, You Got It and California Blue, which Roy had, and we just helped out to sort it out a bit.'"
- Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)

"[Mystery Girl] contained You Got It, Orbison's last top 10 song. The album credits You Got It as being mixed at Harrison's home studio, but Lynne seems certain it was mixed at Rumbo Recorders in Los Angeles. Lynne says, 'We did so many sessions at that point with all the Wilburys that George [Harrison] may have played acoustic guitar on You Got It.' However, Lynne thinks, based upon the rest of the album's credits, which he believes to be correct, that Harrison probably did not contribute to You Got It."
- Kristofer Engelhardt (1998 - Beatles Undercover)
"Everyone should have themselves regularly overwhelmed by Nature"
- George Harrison

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Old Jul 22, 2009, 08:25 PM   #3
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"That was a thrill doing that one. Roy was always me very favorite singer."
- Jeff Lynne (October 1998 - interview with Mark Copolov on 88.3 Southern FM Australia)

"You Got It, written by Roy, Tom, and Jeff, became an achieving radio hit. Sadly, Orbison passed away at a new peak in his career, with two unbelievable album collaborations. You Got It would swiftly be covered by Bonnie Raitt, who would also have a hit with the Roy-tune and featured in the Whoopi Goldberg / Drew Barrymore movie Boys On the Side."
- Brian Young (circa 2000 - Rock On! The Traveling Wilburys, The Trembling Westover published on

"And it was a great thrill to get to write a song with [Roy Orbison]. When he came to do an album that Jeff was producing, they invited me over and I met Roy Orbison and on that very day we sat down and wrote this song called You Got It."
- Tom Petty (circa 2000 -

"Tom Petty: 'The next few weeks, I think we were all kind of... Y'know, that was kind of the social scene. It was the Christmas holidays and we were just hanging around playing guitars. And Jeff brought in Roy Orbison. The day we met, the three of us sat down and wrote that song,um, You Got It. [Sings the line: 'Anything you want.'] Jeff Lynne: 'I was playing a Casio, like a little plastic keyboard when we wrote You Got It. And Roy was playing an acoustic. And Tom was playing an acoustic on the floor over to the side. We'd just got this chord sequence, this little bit that goes: Anything you want, you got it. Come out with that bit and he started playing like... We'd worked backwards. We got the chorus first and worked our way out. And then he starts singing it, just softly, never... never loud. And it sounds like a hit. It really does. It's like well then you go: Wow, this is a hit. And Roy thinks so too. I remember recording it. Roy goes up to the mike and he mumbles a little bit, y'know, when we'd got the backing track finished. [Sings very softly: Anything you want.] I go, I thought it'd be louder than that. Y'know, so we don't realize what's going to happen. And, uh... So he says, Okay, I'm ready now. I'm ready to try a take. So, hit record. Off we go and he sings and this... The whole thing, it goes BLAAA! The whole thing blows up, y'know, the needle all it bends and it's... He sung at about, like, a thousand dB more than when he was practicing. So we put all these pads in and repair all the windows and stuff. Not really, but, y'know we... we'd sort of got the mike under control now, and we know how loud he's going to be. And he sings the song, just like... heavenly. And, he gets it in like three takes, he's got it. And there it is, You Got It. And it's like, Wow! That still sounds like a hit. And it's Roy Orbison singing it. I think everyone was rooting for him and having so much interest in him. And realizing that, y'know, we all still love him just as much as ever. He hadn't had the other people around him to encourage him enough. Maybe that's all it was. But his voice just suddenly came alive and it was back to the real Roy Orbison with a passion.'"
- Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne (June 2 & 9, 2001 - Mr. Blue Sky: The Jeff Lynne Story 2001 BBC 2 Radio show)

"I remember when I had an opportunity to write a song with him (You Got It). After thinking up the lyrics we went in the studio to record it. Earlier I thought Roy must have been singing very loud. Soon I had a chance to know that he was doing it a thousand times louder than I thought! Besides the complete vocals were done in a two, three takes."
- Jeff Lynne (2001 - Unknown source; translated from English to Polish, then back to English again)

"From the utilitarian (Ivory soap, Hershey's Kisses, Christmas-tree car deodorizers) to the functional (sheets and comforters, umbrellas, vacuum cleaners) to the fashionable (clothes, clothes, clothes), this visually thrilling spot pushes product like nobody's business. In 30 short seconds, people wake up, get dressed, ride bikes, wash the car and vacuum the living room. It's a great use of You Got It by The Traveling Wilburys (featuring Roy Orbison), and the words "want" and "need" appear almost subliminally throughout."
- Peterson Milla Hooks (July 14, 2003 - Adweek)
Editor's Note: This song is, of course, not by the Traveling Wilburys.

"The first day I met Roy, Jeff and I and Roy wrote that song You Got It."
- Tom Petty (March 31, 2004 - interview on

"There is the licensing of music from the catalog for commercials (Target's using You Got It)..."
- Tim Ghianni (May 23, 2004 - Tennessean)

"Jeff lived not far from me, and one afternoon the phone rang and it was him, and he said, 'Hey, Roy Orbison's over here, you've got to come over and help me write a song for him. I need some help.' So I jumped in the car, I had a new Corvette, and we went over to see Jeff and Roy, and we all went out to look at the car, and we raised the hood of the car. And we were such a bunch of musicians, non-mechanics, you know, and we couldn't get the hood back down on the car. [Laughs] and I remember my first meeting with Roy, he's got his head under my hood trying to figure out how to get the hood down. And we wrote You Got It. [Sings, 'Anything you want, you got it...'] Yeah, that was on that first day."
- Tom Petty (November 1, 2005 Conversations With Tom Petty)

"You Got It is so catchy, it's almost not fair to the listener. It's like one big chorus. You can hear how big Roy's love was by the conviction in his voice. The words of a man who promises the world and can deliver. It's the true life serenade of Roy to Barbara Orbison. 1990: Grammy Award nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance - You Got It."
- Roy Kelton Orbison, Jr. (2008 - The Soul Of Rock And Roll liner notes)

"I got this call and it was Roy. And he was in Malibu and he said, 'Hi Jeff. I'm in Malibu. And I'm ready to work.' And I said, 'Wow! That's fantastic!' And so he came over and we wrote You Got It that afternoon. That was an experience I'll never forget, to be producing Roy. To have him go up to the mike, y'know, and say, 'this is it now. Can he do it or is it really him?' [Laughs] We run the tape and he has one run through and he's just mumbling, y'know. [Imitates Roy mumbling.] And he say, 'Okay, I'm ready.' Anyway, so we think that's the level he's going to sing at and he opens up and the meters all go BOOM and the mike goes WALLUP and it's all... it's a million db louder than what he'd been practicing at, y'know, so we start again... And his voice was so just so big. Not just loud, but like tons of top end and lots of bottom end that you couldn't really record, otherwise you'd get in the way of the bass guitar. So you'd have to sort of trim his voice down a little bit to fit him onto the record 'cause his voice was so bit."
- Jeff Lynne (December 22, 2008 - In Dreams - The Roy Orbison Story on BBC Radio2)

"When somebody's in love with you, they will write a song for you. And even if Roy wouldn't have written the song for me, I would claim it because it's like one of the most inspirational, positive songs. And I think You Got It is probably one of the most uplifting songs because how can you not feel better when a voice sings to you-- when a human says to another human-- 'anything you want, you got it.' So that's such a wonderful song."
- Barbara Orbison (December 22, 2008 - In Dreams - The Roy Orbison Story on BBC Radio2)

"You Got It went top ten internationally and reached #3 in the UK."
- Mark Lamarr (December 22, 2008 - In Dreams - The Roy Orbison Story on BBC Radio2)
"Everyone should have themselves regularly overwhelmed by Nature"
- George Harrison

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