This week our host of Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams, has handed the prompt reins to our friend Amy (from the blog aisasami). She has given us Fix and Make. Thanks Amy!
I remembered this song from Heart and thought it would be a great share today. It is always good to watch Heart perform, that’s for sure! I hope you enjoy it.
This song was written by Mutt Lange, the superproducer who worked on some of the biggest albums of the ’80s: AC/DC’s Back in Black, Def Leppard’s Hysteria, and Foreigner’s 4. Lange is also a songwriter, typically collaborating with the artists he works with, but in this case the song is all him.
Lange wrote the song in the ’70s and wanted Don Henley to record it. It ended up going to Dobie Gray (“Drift Away”), who released it in 1979 on his self-titled album. This version went unnoticed, but when Heart recorded the song for their 1990 album Brigade, it was a huge hit, reaching #2 in the US.
This is a very strange song, with Ann Wilson singing about picking up a hitchhiker and having sex with him in a motel, apparently with the intention of getting pregnant. Before daybreak, she leaves, but leaves him a note:
I told him
I am the flower you are the seed
We walked in the garden
We planted a tree
In the third verse, she encounters him again, and he sees the child they made. It sounds like Ann told another guy (possibly her husband) that the child was his, and she doesn’t want the secret to get out:
You can imagine his surprise
When he saw his own eyes
I said please, please understand
I’m in love with another man
And what he couldn’t give me
Was the one little thing that you can
The original Dobie Gray version of this song is more upbeat and skips the hitchhiker/love child storyline. Gray simply sings about being smitten and filled with desire:
All I wanna do is make love to you
There’s a million things that we could do
And darling, I, just wanna do them with you
Mutt Lange is the only credited writer on both versions of the song, so it appears that he re-wrote the lyric at some point.
In the ’70s, Heart became a top rock band with songs they wrote themselves – Ann and Nancy Wilson were the primary songwriters. With their career flagging in the early ’80s, they turned to outside writers and had huge hits with songs like “These Dreams” and “Alone.” They turned out to be outstanding song interpreters, but it meant giving up some creative freedom. Ann Wilson, understandably, didn’t like the lyric to “All I Wanna Do Is Make Love to You” but felt pressured to do it, since it was clear the song had hit potential.
The music video is very literal, as we see the couple get together, make love in the motel, then reconnect years later when she shows up with the child. These scenes are intercut with foggy footage of the band performing the song in a studio setting.
There doesn’t seem to be a director associated with it – seems most people involved with this song prefer to remain anonymous.
In an interview with Dan Rather on AXS TV, Ann and Nancy Wilson discussed this song.
Nancy: “All I Wanna Do” is a song that was written by a really famous producer-songwriter, Mutt Lange, who went on to do country music. And you could hear in that song the formulaic thing that was going to become country music, that he was up to already at the time. It has a great hook, it has a great sound, but for Ann, not her favorite song to sing. It’s about the lyrics.
Ann: Once again, it’s about the problematic lead singer. Has to be authentic, has to believe in the words she’s singing.
Nancy: Even though we changed the gender of the song around, which became so shocking that they banned it in Ireland because it was song about a girl, a wanton lassie, who picks up a hitchhiker guy.
Ann: Like, you’re a hitchhiker, I don’t know you so let’s get in the car and exchange fluids and now, get out. I mean, that’s hideous.
Nancy: It’s an interesting thing about songs like that, though, because unless you’re Ann Wilson and you have to stand there and deliver this message that’s in the words, you know, most people when they hear something that they love they’re not thinking into all the corners of the song. They’re just feeling good and listening to it.
Courtesy of Songfacts
LYRICS It was a rainy night when he came into sight Standing by the road, no umbrella, no coat So I pulled up along side and I offered him a ride He accepted with a smile so we drove for a while I didn't ask him his name, this lonely boy in the rain Fate tell me it's right, is this love at first sight Please don't make it wrong, just stay for the night All I want to do is make love to you Say you will you want me too All I want to do is make love to you I've got lovin' arms to hold on to So we found this hotel, it was a place I knew well We made magic that night. Oh, he did everything right He brought the woman out of me, so many times, easily And in the morning when he woke all I left him was a note I told him I am the flower you are the seed We walked in the garden we planted a tree Don't try to find me, please don't you dare Just live in my memory, you'll always be there All I want to do is make love to you One night of love was all we knew All want to do is make love to you I've got lovin' arms to hold on to Oh, oooh, we made love Love like strangers All night long We made love Then it happened one day, we came round the same way You can imagine his surprise when he saw his own eyes I said please, please understand I'm in love with another man And what he couldn't give me was the one little thing that you can All I want to do is make love to you One night of love was all we knew All I want to do is make love to you Come on, say you will, you want me too All I want to do is make love to you One night of love was all we knew All I want to do is make love to you Say you will, you want me too All night long...Writer/s: ROBERT JOHN LANGE Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind