VanWarmer was inspired to write “Just When I Needed You Most” after his old car that he loved and used for years broke down on the way to work in Denver, Colorado and by a “devastating” breakup with a girlfriend: he wrote the song six months after that breakup co-writing it with Tony Wilson of the group Hot Chocolate two years before it became a hit.
After recording “Just When I Needed You Most” for an album recorded for the UK division of Bearsville Records, VanWarmer then flew to the US to pressure Bearsville’s head office to promote the album which was duly remixed and released with “Just When I Needed You Most” as lead single although VanWarmer would recall that Bearsville evinced little enthusiasm for the track:
“Nobody thought my version was an especially good version of the song [which] a few other people were thinking of cutting…Everybody just assumed mine was a demo for people to listen to who’d [then] cut the definitive version”.
It has also been asserted that “Your Light” the flip was the original intended A-side of VanWarmer’s single. Released as a single in February 1979, VanWarmer’s “Just When I Needed You Most” spent two weeks atop the US Billboard adult contemporary chart in May of that year and in June 1979 reached its peak position of No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart accruing an overall Top 40 tenure of 14 weeks and earning RIAA Gold record status.
In addition, the track reached No. 71 on the Billboard country music chart. And in September 1979 made the Top 10 on the UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 8. VanWarmer attributed his single’s success to empathy for its heartbreak scenario: “It’s happened to everyone.
That emotion is universal…I always hoped the record wasn’t wallowing in self-pity and it had some redeeming value, and I guess it does.”
VanWarmer also attributed his single’s success to the autoharp instrumental break between the second and third verses, performed by John Sebastian.
27 thoughts on “Just When I Needed You Most – Randy VanWarmer”
Oh for cryin’ out loud!!! This great sappy song was also about his CAR??? Geez, I felt bad when we gave up our ’62 MGB convertible, ha! :)
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I know. I love this guy too. He takes my heart away. He sacrificed a lot. I pray that he is in Heaven. Thanks for stopping in Ellie and adding your thoughts. Have a great rest of the week.
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