I Want You was made for a tribute album to the late, great soul singer Marvin Gaye. The tribute album called Inner City Blues, would feature Marvin Gaye’s songs re-interpreted by various artists specifically for the project. Over a year before the release of the album ‘Motown’, the record label in charge of assembling the artists for the album approached Massive Attack and asked them to pick a song from Marvin Gaye’s back catalogue to re-imagined and suggested they do a collaboration with Chaka Khan, an well-known American R&B singer. A backing track was made to accommodate her vocals, but due to Chaka Khan flaking on the recoding sessions, she was dropped. The possibility came up briefly then of procuring Aaron Neville, another well-known American R&B singer but that fell through as well because of legality issues.
At this point, in steped Massive Attack’s old Wild Bunch cohort, Nellee Hooper who made the suggestion of Madonna as vocalist. Hooper who had just recently finished producing Madonna’s Bedtime Stories album was able to setup a meeting between Massive Attack and Madonna and from there surprisingly getting Madonna’s vocal contribution involved less red tape and less prima donna behaviour than either previous option, Chaka Khan or Aaron Neville.
Daddy G and Mushroom never got the opportunity to meet Madonna during the recording sessions for I Want You. Only 3D along with Nelle Hooper would meet with Madonna over in New York for a period of two days, record the vocals with her and then bring them back to Bristol to be worked on.
Madonna was so impressed by the finished product that she choose to include I Want You as the first track on her next album, Something to Remember.
The original plans for “I Want You” included a full-scale single release. Premier Madonna remixer of the time, Junior Vasquez did some remixes of the track and a promo video was even shot, but in the end legality problems between the Motown label and Madonna’s record label prevented this from happening.
I Want You has never been played live, neither by Massive Attack or Madonna.
Orchestral – This version strips the song back to just vocals and strings. Included only on the Madonna’s Something To Remember album and the 12″ promo release.
Junior Vasquez Mixes There were three mixes intended for clubs made by Junior Vasquez, a longtime remixer and personal friend of Madonna’s for I Want You. These are among the last mixes he would ever do for Madonna as they had a public falling out soon afterwards. Included only on the 12″ vinyl promo release.
3D on usng Madonna as vocalist – “She sang it really well, she had it sorted out, you could tell she knew the song, she’d really worked fucking hard on it. Fucking good” [The Face - November 1995]
3D on the recording sessions with Madonna – It was quite freaky for me because I’m just a Bristol boy. She was singing in my ear as we were playing the music down, giving me her version of it. I wasn’t taking any notice at all really. I was just thinking about how mad it is. She is such an icon it takes you a while to adjust. When she was in the vocal room, it was amazing. We did a few takes just to cover it, but she sung it so well we could have done it in one take. It was that beautiful” [ChannelV TV - June 1998]
3D looking back on I Want You for Collected – SEXY NOSTALGIA FROM 97[sic] MADONNA GETTING DOWN WITH US IN A PRE ANGELO D’ANGELO STYLE FOR THE MARVIN TRIBUTE ALBUM” [Collected PR - January 2006]
I, yi yi yi. I want you the right way. I want you, but i want you to want me too. Want you to want me baby. Just like I want you. Da da, da da, da da da. I’ll give you all the love I want in return. But half a love is all i feel, sweet darling. It’s too bad, it’s just too sad. You don’t want me no more. But I’m gonna change your mind. Some way, somehow. I want you the right way. I want you, but I want you to want me too. Want you to want me baby. Just like I want you. Da da, da da, da da da. One way love is just a fantasy. To share is precious, pure and fair. Don’t play with something you should cherish for life. Oh baby, don’t you wanna care?. Ain’t it lonely out there?. I want you the right way. I want you, but I want you to want me too. Want you to want me baby. Just like i want you. I want you the right way. I want you, but i want you to want me too. Want you to want me baby. Just like i want you. I want you, the right way. Want me, baby. Don’t play with something. You should cherish for life.
This would be the first and only Massive attack promo video directed by Earle Sebastian, even though he has directed several Madonna videos.
The video was inspired by and pays homage to “A Telephone Call”, a short story written by American writer, Dorothy Parker.
This video and the promo video for Just A Matter Of Time are the only two full-length promo videos produced by Massive Attack to never be included on any DVD compilation.
This video was produced at the behest of Madonna and her management to promote the single release of I Want You in the USA. However, due to legality problems between the Motown label and Madonna’s record label prevented this from happening coupled with a lukewarm reception to the song on American radio meant that even though this video still got produced the single release to accompany it never materialized. For Madonna fans, this last fact makes the I Want You video the only case in Madonna’s history where an eventual non-single was given the full video treatment.