Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29: Yvonne Elliman, "If I Can't Have You," is 62-years-old today.

Yvonne Marianne Elliman was born and raised in Honolulu. Her father taught her how to play the piano, and in high-school she played in the band.  

After graduation she moved to London where she performed as a singer at various bars and clubs. She was discovered by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, who asked her to sing Mary Magdalene's part in Jesus Christ Superstar (JCS), and later invited her to join the traveling cast, which she did for four years. Her performance led to a 1974 Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for the film version of "Jesus Christ Superstar."

She had her first hit single in 1971 with the ballad "I Don't Know How to Love Him," from JCS. The song was her first entry on the U.S. charts, peaking at #28 on the pop charts in 1971 (although a version by Helen Reddy was a bigger hit.) Yvonne sang on the JSC concept album, in the original Broadway cast, and on the 1973 film soundtrack.

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In 1971 Elliman moved to New York City for the Broadway production of JCS. She was asked to sing backing vocals on Eric Clapton's "I Shot the Sheriff" in 1974. She went on tour with Clapton, and afterward got her own recording contract with RSO Records.

Her first album, Rising Sun, produced no hit singles, but her second album, Love Me, gave her two top-20 hits, "Love Me" (written by Barry and Robin Gibb, and a Barbara Lewis cover, "Hello Stranger."  "Hello Stranger" topped the U.S. Adult Contemporary charts for four weeks, and was also a #15 Pop hit in 1977, while "Love Me" was a #14 Pop hit.

In 1977, the Bee Gees were working on Saturday Night Fever and wrote "How Deep Is Your Love" for her, but Bee Gees ended up recording it. Instead, she sang "If I Can't Have You" on the soundtrack which turned into a big hit, rising to #1 in the Billboard Hot 100.

A few minor Top 40 hits followed in 1979, including the title theme song from the film Moment by Moment and another disco track, "Love Pains." The single "Savannah" was also a minor hit, but shortly thereafter she decided to dedicate herself to her growing family of two children.

After a considerable hiatus, Elliman reappeared on the music scene. An album titled Simple Needs, with all songs written by Elliman, was released in 2004 and re-released globally on June 12, 2007.

Elliman continues performing in music festivals, benefits and concerts around the world.


For more about Yvonne, visit her Website at -


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