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If I Ain't Got You

"If I Ain't Got You" is a song by American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys from her second studio album The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003). Inspired by the 2001 death of singer Aaliyah, the terrorist September 11 attacks, and other events in the world and in Keys' life, the song is about "how material things don't feed the soul." The single cover depicts Keys similarly to the subject of Man Ray's 1924 painting Le Violon d'Ingres.

Released in February 2004 as the album's second single, "If I Ain't Got You" peaked at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100 and became Keys' second consecutive R&B chart-topper, remaining atop of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for six weeks. The song received two nominations at the 2005 Grammy Awards, for Song of the Year and Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, winning in the latter.

A remix featuring Usher, a Kanye West Radio Mix, and a Spanish-language version featuring Arturo Sandoval appear on the bonus CD of select international pressings of The Diary of Alicia Keys.

Background

Keys said that the idea of the song was inspired by Aaliyah's death: "The song idea came together right after Aaliyah passed away. It was such a sad time and no one wanted to believe it. It just made everything crystal clear to me—what matters, and what doesn't."

Commercial performance

"If I Ain't Got You" debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number sixty-four on the issue dated March 6, 2004, peaking at number four, four months later, on July 3, 2004. It spent twenty non-consecutive weeks in the top ten, one of the longest stays of any song that year and outlasting many number one singles. The song topped the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs on May 1, 2004 and spent six non-consecutive weeks atop the chart. It was also successful on Billboard component charts, reaching number five on the Rhythmic Top 40 and number nine on the Mainstream Top 40. The single was ultimately placed at number three on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 chart of 2004.

In the United Kingdom, "If I Ain't Got You" debuted and peaked at number eighteen on the UK Singles Chart for the week ending April 10, 2004. In late September 2009, the single returned to the chart at number fifty-four.

Music video

The music video, directed by Diane Martel, is set in a wintry New York City and features a cameo by rapper and actor Method Man as Keys' on-screen boyfriend. The original video disappeared from Vevo.

Awards

  • Grammy Awards
  • Best Female R&B Vocal Performance
  • Billboard Music Awards
  • R&B/Hip-Hop Single of the Year
  • R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay Single of the Year
  • MTV Video Music Awards
  • Best R&B Video
  • ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Awards
  • Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song of the Year
  • ASCAP Pop Awards
  • Most Performed Song
  • NAACP Image Awards
  • Outstanding Music Video
  • Outstanding Song
  • Soul Train Music Awards
  • Best R&B/Soul Single, Female
  • Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards
  • Best R&B/Soul or Rap Song of the Year
  • Vibe Awards
  • Best R&B Song

    Track listings

  • ;CD maxi single #"If I Ain't Got You" (Album Version) – 3:48 #"If I Ain't Got You" (Piano & Vocal Version) – 3:52 #"You Don't Know My Name/Will You Ever Know It" (Reggae Mix) – 5:06

  • ;European CD maxi single #"If I Ain't Got You" (Album Version) – 3:48 #"If I Ain't Got You" (Piano/Vocal Version) – 3:54 #"You Don't Know My Name/Will You Ever Know It" (Reggae Mix) – 5:06 #"If I Ain't Got You" (Video)

  • ;Digital download #"If I Ain't Got You" (The Black Eyed Peas Remix) – 3:14
  • ;Japanese CD single # "If I Aint Got You" # "If I Aint Got You" (Piano & Vocal Only Version) # "If I Aint Got You" (A cappella version)

  • ;US 12" single :A1. "If I Ain't Got You" (Radio Mix) – 3:48 :A2. "If I Ain't Got You" (Instrumental) – 3:48 :B1. "If I Ain't Got You" (Radio Mix) – 3:48 :B2. "If I Ain't Got You" (A cappella) – 3:36

  • ;Digital EP #"If I Ain't Got You" (featuring Usher) – 3:50 #"If I Ain't Got You" – 3:49 #"If I Ain't Got You" (Piano & Vocal Version) – 3:51

    Personnel

    Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Diary of Alicia Keys.
  • Alicia Keys – piano, producer, background vocals, vocals
  • Katreese Barnes – background vocals
  • Tony Black – engineering
  • Kerry Brothers Jr. – digital programming
  • Fred Cash Jr. – bass
  • Darryl Dixon – horn
  • L. Green – background vocals

  • Steve Jordan – drums
  • Manny Marroquin – mixing
  • Hugh McCracken – guitar
  • Cindy Mizelle – background vocals
  • Herb Powers Jr. – mastering
  • Joe Romano – horn
  • Arcell Vickers – organ
  • David Watson – horn

    Charts

    Weekly charts



    Year-end charts

    Decade-end charts

    All-time charts

    Certifications