CMT Hot 20 Decade: “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum

“It's really vulnerable and it's really honest”

Editor’s Note: CMT Hot 20 Countdown takes a look back on 10 years of incredible music with Decade, a weekly segment that features a modern country classic that made its greatest impact between 2010 and 2019. This week, Lady Antebellum’s Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, and Hillary Scott talk about their 2010 single, “Need You Now.” CMT Hot 20 Countdown airs at 9/8c Saturday and Sunday mornings.

CMT: You wrote “Need You Now” with Josh Kear, and even though it’s a familiar theme — a desperate longing for someone — a lot of those songs can be sad or crazy. But you found the perfect balance between the two. Tell me about writing “Need You Now.”

Kelley: It almost didn’t happen. This was the first time we’d ever written with Josh Kear. We’d heard that he wrote “Before He Cheats” and we were like, “We got to get in the room with this guy.” He had an idea called “Young Love” and we wrote that song really fast. … I think he didn’t know if we were real writers or not, so he had pretty much a whole song almost ready to go.

It was a nice song and we wrote it so fast that I said, “Man, before you’re out of here, I’ve got this little idea on the guitar…” I’d just started picking up guitar. Dave showed me a few chords and I had that first couple lines, “Picture-perfect memories scattered all around the floor.” And I had “And I wonder if I ever cross your mind.”

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