About The Song
You Got It was the first collaboration between Jeff Lynne and Roy Orbison (and Tom Petty). It was written during the Christmas season of 1987 and recorded in April of 1988 with Jeff, Tom and Phil Jones providing the backing track. The song, released the following year, would go on to be an international hit, making the Top 10 in both the UK and USA charts.
In mid-1987, Jeff was enjoying the thrill and success of meeting and working with George Harrison, one of his musical heroes. Probably because of this, he had his manager contact Roy at his home and asked to meet. They met briefly, but Roy was quite busy having just moved to a new home in California and other commitments. They got along quite well and agreed to collaborate the next time both were in Los Angeles and had the time. During the Christmas 1987 season, Roy was at home in Malibu, California when he invited Jeff over to begin working. Jeff soon invited Tom Petty over to help out as well, which would be the first time that Tom met Roy. Tom tells an amusing story in his Conversations With Tom Petty book of that day: before doing any work together, Tom invited the others outside to look at his new Corvette. After looking under the hood, all three musicians struggled to get the hood back down, not knowing how to do it. Eventually they did get the hood closed and it was later that day that they wrote You Got It, based upon an idea of Roy’s. Jeff worked out the song on a small Casio keyboard, while Roy and Tom added acoustic guitars. They created the chorus first, and the verses second. That day and/or the next day, the trio also wrote the song California Blue in the same manner. Curiously, although Jeff states that the genesis of the song was an idea of Roy’s, Jeff Lynne is given first billing for the song’s songwriter credits, implying that Jeff was the primary songwriter.
A few months later, in April of 1988, the trio were in MC Studios (Mike Campbell’s garage studio) to record the songs they had written. One source has the song being recorded on April 4, 1988, just one day before the Traveling Wilbury’s song Handle With Care was recorded. They got the vocals recorded in only three takes, but Jeff tells another amusing story about the first take. They had never recorded with Roy before so while he was practicing his performance, they set up the microphone levels based on that. When Roy went to record his first take, they had underestimated how powerful he would really would sing the song and his first take maxed out the equipment. With that knowledge, they backed off the levels after this first attempt and the song was completed within two more takes. Roy, Jeff and Tom added backing vocals shortly afterwards and the song’s recording was completed.
In January 1989, a month after Roy’s unexpected death due to a heart attack, the song was released as the lead-off UK and USA single from the Mystery Girl album. It was also released as the first track on the Mystery Girl album later that same month. It entered the UK Top 75 singles chart on Janaury 14, 1989, peaked at #3 for two consecutive weeks on February 4 & 11, and spent 10 weeks in the chart. In the USA, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on January 21, 1989, reached #9 on April 15, 1989, spending 18 weeks in the chart and entered the Cash Box Top 100 chart on January 21, 1989, reached #16 for two consecutive weeks on April 8 & 15, 1989, spending 21 weeks in the chart. It is Roy’s 32nd Billboard pop chart single.