Friday, July 12, 2013

Autoharp: Just When I Needed You Most

Randy VanWarmer’s “Just When I Needed You Most” was intended to be the “B” side of “Gotta Get out of Here.” Apparently shortly after the single’s release, a disc jockey flipped the single and played “Just When I Needed You Most.” With it rising on the charts, Bearsville Records began promoting it as the “A” side. The song was cowritten by VanWarmer and Hot Chocolate’s Tony Wilson. It peaked in 1979 at #4.

The song may be the highest charting song to feature an autoharp. John Sebastian, who also played autoharp on two of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s Top 10 hits, played on this single. VanWarmer credited Sebastian’s autoharp melodic chord solo as the hook that helped propel the record to the Top Five. The single also was certified gold; however, it was VanWarmer’s only hit.

At the beginning of the song, you can hear Sebastian playing chromatic runs on the autoharp. This is accomplished by not depressing any of the chord bars while strumming the instrument high to low.

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