I Don't Want to Walk Without You

  • The Song
  • Back Stories
composition date
1942
genre
Film
songwriter(s)
Jule Styne
Frank Loesser

He writes in his mind

“Frank Loesser was the one who recognized I had great talent, and he told me how it goes. He said, ‘When you write songs it’s a horrendous thing for a composer who writes a tune and has to wait till the lyric’s finished. Have patience, don’t nudge a lyric writer, you’ll have less.’ For five weeks I went to his house every day after the studio; we were both at Paramount, he got me to Paramount. He asked for me to be his lyric writer. I was at Republic. I asked for him first at Republic. And he hated me [for bringing him to a lesser studio]. He said to me, ‘You don’t understand, all the big movies they have they give to Johnny Mercer, and I get loaned out to Republic and stuff. But I like you. I’m gonna write Sis Hopkins in four days but you won’t hand it in for three weeks 'cause I’ll be in Florida. You have to learn to fake it. Its part of the game you just make up excuses.’

He says, ‘Play me something.’ I play, [what would become "I Don’t Want to Walk Without You."] He says, ‘Shhh! Quiet! Never play that song anyplace. I’m taking it to Paramount and we’ll write it there.’ Every day I went to his house. This was the day before cassettes, the piano player sat at the piano and played it over and over, must have played it 24 times every day. One day he called me up and said, ‘You want to meet me someplace for lunch? ‘Cause at lunch I’m gonna tell you the lyrics of your song.’ A pancake place on Hollywood Boulevard. No dummy lyrics. He doesn’t write dummy lyrics. He writes in his mind. He sang me the whole song by memory.”

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