Anatomy of a Hit: "All of Me" John Legend

How the singer-songwriter-producer deposed Pharrell Williams to claim the top spot on the Hot 100 for the first time in his 10-year career

John Legend,The Voice: "Other writers and artists I was working with at the time reacted strongly to 'All of Me.' I remember Amanda Ghost cried the first time she heard it. All it took was the right exposure for it to seep into the public consciousness. I'm like, 'This song is for everybody. Why does it only have to be on this or that format?'"

Toby Gad, The Co-Writer: "John knew he wanted to write a song to his then-fiancee [Chrissy Teigen], and already had the words 'all of me.' The writing happened really fast - maybe three hours, just the two of us bouncing lyrics back and forth. It was a very natural flow, where every word felt completely honest."

Dave Tozer, The Co-Producer: "We tweaked it and tweaked it, adding cello, guitar and some baroque instrumentation at certain points. But making a record isn't about how much stuff you add on. It is, 'Have you stripped away all you can from it to capture the song's essence and the singer's vocals?' There's so much noise going on out there in the world. So when you get a track like this, you want to zero in."

Joel Klaiman, Columbia Records Executive VP/GM: "We knew we would ultimately get to this ballad as a single. And when we got to it, we knew we were going to take on any barriers, any format walls, so we could touch everybody. Each time he sang this song during a performance, there was a big sales reaction. Everyone saw the light as to how powerful a song it was in its simplicity and lyrics."


THE BILLBOARD BIZ
SUBSCRIBER EXPERIENCE

The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to Billboard.com/business.


To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.