How Mr Big conquered record company indifference with To Be With You, the song that transformed their lives

A ballad written by teenager Eric Martin to impress a girl he'd fallen for gave his band their biggest hit, topped charts around the world, and became their calling-card.

Mr. Big’s calling card To Be With You was something of an afterthought. It was the second single lifted off their second album, 1991’s Lean Into It, and the lack of success of its first single, Green-Tinted Sixties Mind – which failed to chart anywhere except the UK, where it reached No.72 – hardly augured well for the follow-up.

In fact, according to bassist Billy Sheehan, the band’s label, Atlantic, weren’t keen on releasing To Be With You, refusing to believe it would provide the band with their first hit, and agreed to do so only after radio started playing it.

“We didn’t find out until later that they didn’t like the record, they didn’t like our songs and they didn’t like band,” he says. “They had all but given up on us. We battled them from the beginning over it.”

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