How many one-hit wonders can say they also sang with Solomon Burke and Pink Floyd, put out an album on Apple Records, and had a Broadway musical written about their lives? Plus, she’s from the Bronx, my own birthplace. Noo Yawk Pride! Although I myself moved away when I was five.
Anyway, we’re here to talk about the one hit, as cheerful a tribute to obsession as you’re likely to hear, a whoop for joy played close to the vest. It starts with a fuzzy piano in the background, and then introduces a little piano figure that will recur throughout, the sound of a mind circling back on itself. A woman is expressing undying devotion to someone she’s fallen in love after a single glance. This is a chancy foundation for long-term happiness, and perhaps she knows this, but she clearly doesn’t care.
The key to the song is the telling–it’s addressed to “you,” not to us. The short, staccato lines sound to me like someone struggling to stay in control. It’s the opposite of the breathlessness we usually associate with this kind of over-the-top expression of love. This is someone who knows how crazy she could potentially be sounding, knows she probably shouldn’t be speaking and by speaking stands a really good chance of scaring off her intended. Yet she still speaks, trying very hard to make crazy seem reasonable.
There’s a release in the section that begins “I thought I was dreaming/But I was wrong.” This is the only part of the song that flows, that seems sung, and I like to think of this section as a contemplative interlude, the singer singing to herself, renewing her sense of purpose before taking another crack at convincing this guy she’s just met of the inevitability of their future together. If I had a time machine, I’d go back to the recording session and encourage Doris to use the pronoun “him” instead of “you” in this section, but alas, alas.
There have been many cover versions of this song, including some that also charted, which was a good thing for Doris since she’s also listed as the co-writer. Most I’m not familiar with, but I do have to give props to Linda Ronstadt for the way she repeatedly shouts the song title at the end of her version, which really brings the unhinged subtext out in the open, plus is pretty rocking.