Who Sang It Better – As Long As He Needs Me

As Long as he needs me
As Long As He Needs Me…

Having looked at Memory, Defying Gravity, Gethsemane, Music of the Night & Bring Him Home the next obvious musical theatre song to have a look at has to be As Long As He Needs Me from Oliver. The number As Long As He Needs Me  comes when Nancy expresses her love for her boyfriend Bill Sykes, despite his mistreatment of her.


Shani Watts:



Shani Watts sings the original film version of this song in 1968. Watts performing this song gives a masterclass in acting through song. Not only is her tone perfectly suited to the rough edges of Nancy but you can literally hear the pain in her voice. Her emotion at the swell of the song at around 4 minutes is the icing on the cake of her interpreation of this song.

Shirley Bassey:


Bassey’s version reached number 2 in the charts and stayed in the charts for 30 weeks. Whilst Bassey is clearly an astonishing singer she and some of those notes sound pure old school class, she just doesn’t have the depth to the song that it needs. I also find some of her initiation slightly odd. This results in it not quite flowing in a natural way.

Ruthie Henshall:


Ruthie played the part of Nancy in 1996 at the London Palladium and as musical theatre royalty she can’t be left out of the list. I adore Ruthie’s blend of acting through song and her musical theatre voice in this number. She gets the emotion across perfectly and doesn’t feel the need to belt every moment of the song.

Jodie Prenger:


Jodie Prenger won the search for Nancy in the BBC1 talent show ‘I’d Do Anything.’ She performed in 6 out of the 8 performances each week and played Nancy from December 2008 to March 2010. I like the fact that Jodie doesn’t sound too pretty in singing the part and her Nancy sounds like she has depth however there isn’t enough light and shade in the song for me. Her climax just isn’t vocally different enough to the rest of the song and her voice is lacking depth in this part.

My favourite is Henshall just beating Watts to it in my opinion. This is due to her emotion that she manages to portray in the song whilst still singing the song in a breathtaking manner.  Who sings is best for you -I’d love to know…


One comment

  • Shani Wallis played Nancy in the film not Watts.

    The best version remans that sung by Georgia Brown, who originated the role of Nancy in 1960 London production and again on Broadway two years later.

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