Info → Live With Me
UK Release: 13th March 2006
UK Highest Chart: #17
Track Duration: 04:51
Formats: CD, DVD, Digital. View Discography Entry.
Written By: Robert Del Naja, Neil Davidige and Terry Callier
Produced By: Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidige
Arranged By: Robert Del Naja and Neil Davidige
Recorded By: Lee Shephard and Marco Migliari
Mixed By: Head
Strings Arranged By: Michael Jennings
Promo Video Directed By: Jonathan Glazer
Video Producer: Nick Morris
Video Cinematographer: Marcel Zyskind
Video Editor: Paul Watts
Filming Location: Camberwell, London, UK
Date Of Filming: 13th - 14th January 2006
Video Duration: 06:00 (Director's Cut)
Live With Me was among the first slew of tracks conceived in the newly constructed Massive Attack studio in Bristol in 2005. Coming off the back of making two separate soundtrack projects, Danny The Dog and Bullet Boy respectively in the previous year, Live With Me was influenced by these soundtrack excursions, using a film score approach to writing – employing putting down quick sketches and getting basic chord structures going such as melodies and riffs. This resulted in a more simple and organic song than other recent material, which recalled Massive Attack’s soulful heyday.
The track was originally not conceived as being apart of Collected but for another film soundtrack which Massive Attack were working on in 2005, probably under the name of their recently created film music production company known as OnePointSix, but at the last minute before the film began shooting, the film’s production was shut down. The film in question was never named but would have required a jazz blues soundtrack, similar in sound to Live with Me. Once the idea of doing a “Best Of” retrospective came along, one of the abandoned songs from this soundtrack, Live with Me whom Massive Attack had gotten soul legend, Terry Callier to do the vocals back in June 2005 for was dusted off the shelf for inclusion on Collected.
Terry Callier apart from this song also recorded 4 other songs with Massive Attack around the same time. Two of these songs were most likely Wings and John Lee Hooker, which were released in 2009 on Terry’s album, Hidden Conversations. The other two songs remain unnamed and unreleased
Terry Callier’s vocal take on this song was recorded in just one day.
Live With Me was first played live at the Wireless Festival in London, UK on the 23rd June 2006 (not counting the BBC radio session at Maida Vale, London on 15th May). It was only played a handful of times during the 2006 tour owing to the fact that Terry Callier was unavailable for many of the dates played and Massive Attack’s unwillingness to replace his live vocals with someone else. The live version is a pretty much faithful rendition of the album version of the song.
Alternative Version – A string-laden version of the song over Terry Callier’s vocals without any beat or bassline for distraction. The strings for this version were re-arranged by composer David Arnold, previously well-known for his work on the recent James Bond films. Some press sources before the release date, stated this track as being called the “Stripped Back” version. Featured only on the single release.
‘Hidden Conversations’ Version – This reproduction of Live With Me is featured exclusively on Terry Callier’s 2009 released album ‘Hidden Conversations’. This version was recorded in Terry Callier’s recording studio in March 2008, with help from Neil Davidge along with Terry’s own band of musicians. The resulting track is a more jazzy lounge take on the original. The ‘Hidden Conversations’ album also contained 2 new collaborative tracks between Terry and Massive Attack named Wings and John Lee Hooker.
The Twilight Singers covered Live With Me with vocals from Mark Lanegan (a regular contributor on recent U.N.K.L.E albums). It is found on their “A Stitch In Time” EP.
3D on the reasons behind Live with Me – “Live With Me features Terry Callier and is deliberately a soul track. It shuts those up who believe we can’t replicate our first album.” [Metro Newspaper – March 2006]
3D on Terry Callier and Live with Me – “An amazing voice and an amazing songwriter.It was a very different approach to 100th Window – more organic, less complicated.” [Uncut Magazine – April 2006]
It don’t matter. Where you turn. Gonna survive. You live and learn. I been thinking ’bout you babe. By the light of dawn. And midnight blue. I’ve been missing you. I’ve been thinking about you baby. Almost makes me crazy. Come and live with me. Either way. Win or lose. When you run into trouble. You live the blues. See it almost makes me crazy child. Nothing’s right. If you ain’t here. I’ll give all that I have. Just to keep you near. I wrote you a letter. And tried to. Make it clear. But you just don’t believe that. I’m sincere. I been thinking ’bout you baby. Plans and schemes. Hopes and fears. Dreams I denied for all these years. I’ve been thinking ’bout you babe. Living with me. Well… I’ve been thinking ’bout you baby. Makes me wanna woo-oo-hoo. Woo-oo-hoo. Yeah, child. Nothing’s right. If you ain’t here. I’ll give all that I have. Just to keep you near. I wrote you a letter, darling. Trying to make it clear. Oh but you. Just don’t believe. That I’m sincere. I’ve been thinking ’bout you baby. I want you to live with me. Oh i’ve been thinking ’bout you baby. I want you to live with me.
The town cryer that appears at the start of the video and whose image appears on the front cover of the single release is the the town cryer of Gloucester, UK – Alan Mynott, who also happens to hold the world record for the loudest human voice.
The actress who played the tragic and pitiful role of the binge drinking woman in the video was played by Scottish actress Kirsty Shepheard. For most of the video she was not putting on an act as she was actually drunk. You can read her profile at the IMDB by clicking here.
The video closes with her passing out on a bench near her home and dreaming of rolling down an unending golden staircase. As the location didn’t have the look required for the staircase sequence, it was decided to replace the original with a golden CG staircase. In post production (undertaken by a company known as MPC), the sequence was camera tracked, and once the director had approved the look, the 15 shots were rendered. The falling woman was then restored from the original footage into the CG environment. The opening shot was particularly challenging involving seamlessly joining 3 separate takes into one smooth 10-second shot. Her shadow and reflections were added throughout the sequence to further place her in the scene.
The promo video received it’s worldwide premiere on the UK’s Channel 4 on 3rd February 2006 at 11.30pm GMT.
3D on the video for Live With Me and why they decided to show alcoholism in it – “It was a study on alcoholism and the drive to want to drink yourself to oblivion and it had to be real and not acted, which was why it was such a precarious sort of shoot. Some people were critical initially of the idea of using this subject matter with that song but I think the song’s a blues song and it’s about loss and this video does that entirely” [MTV Videography – April 2006]
Actress Kirsty Shepheard on what it was like to film the video for Live With Me – “It’s about a woman who attempts to drink herself to death as she is desperately unhappy after breaking up with someone. It’s not like a pop video – it’s like a tragic short film. We filmed the first part in the off-licence when the woman I play picks up her booze after work. Over the weekend, she locks herself away in her own flat. We mixed up the shoots, so there are some parts shot on the street where I have to act drunk because they didn’t want me to be under the influence in public. They wanted me to drink to see the changes that actually happen. You can act drunk but it’s not as convincing. I had a hangover – because I mixed my drinks. But it was a controlled situation and I made my own choices as to how much I drank and at what pace” [Daily Record Newspaper – March 2006]