On this day in music history: April 25, 1966 – “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” by Dusty Springfield is released. Written by Pino Donaggio, Vito Pallavicini, Vicki Wickham and Simon Napier-Bell, it is the ninth single release and biggest hit for the pop vocalist from London, UK. Since making her solo debut in late 1963, Dusty Springfield places one hit after another. In January of 1965, she appears at the Italian Song Festival in San Remo, performing “Tu Che Ne Sai?” (English: “What Do You Know?”). Though not qualifying for the final competition, Springfield hears “Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)” (English: “I, Who Can’t Live (Without You)”, sung by Pino Donaggio and US singer Jody Miller. Though Dusty doesn’t understand the Italian lyrics, it moves her to tears. Acquiring an acetate copy of demo, Springfield waits more than year to record it. In the meantime, Donaggio records “Io Che Non Vivo (Senza Te)” for the film Vaghe stelle dell’Orsa. His version hits #1 in Italy in March of 1965. In early 1966, Dusty decides it’s time to record the song. On March 9, 1966, the track produced by Johnny Franz and arranged by Ivor Raymonde, is recorded at Philips Records’ Studios in London. Needing English lyrics, Springfield turns to her friend Vicki Wickham, the producer of the music series Ready Steady Go!, and her manager Simon Napier-Bell (The Yardbirds, Wham!) for help. While having dinner together, the pair agree to pen the lyrics. They come up with a chorus and first verse lyric, riding in the back a taxi. Wickham and Bell later go back to the her flat to finish it. But with neither understanding the original Italian lyrics, they devise a concept on their own. They set out to write an “anti-love song” originally titled “I Don’t Love You”. They change it to “You Don’t Love Me”, then to “You Don’t Have to Love Me”. It’s finally adjusted to “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, to fit the melody. Springfield records her vocal the next day on March 10, 1966. Unhappy with the acoustics in the vocal booth, she sings in the outer stairwell. Ever the perfectionist, Dusty records forty seven takes before she’s finally satisfied. Released in the UK on March 25, 1966, “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” leaps to number one on April 28, 1966, becoming her lone chart topper in her home country. Issued by Philips Records in the US after its UK release, it becomes a smash. Entering the Billboard Hot 100 at #76 on May 21, 1966, it peaks at #4 eight weeks later on July 16, 1966, becoming her highest charting single in the US. Becoming a pop standard, “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me” is covered by Elvis Presley, Robert Goulet, Vic Damone, Lynn Anderson, Cher, Tom Jones, Luis Miguel, Taylor Dayne, and Clay Aiken to name a few. Though Dusty Springfield’s recording is still regarded as the definitive version of the song.
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