Why Lana Del Rey Covered a 1990s Madonna Hit by a Major Songwriter

Lana Del Rey and Madonna might not seem like similar singers, however, Del Rey once covered one of Madonna’s hits. The hit was co-written by one of the most famous songwriters alive. Interestingly, Del Rey revealed why the song mattered so much to her.

The time Madonna got a ballad from a musical on the pop charts

It all starts with Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita. Lloyd Webber’s take on the controversial life of Eva Peron became one of the most enduring musicals of the 1970s. In the 1990s, it became a popular movie starring Madonna. This retelling of the story included a new ballad for Peron to sing called “You Must Love Me.” According to AllMusic, Lloyd Webber co-wrote the song with Tim Rice. 

According to Rolling Stone, the sparse ballad became a top 20 hit in the United States. Although other Madonna songs performed far better on the Billboard Hot 100, the track’s success is still notable, as few of Lloyd Webber’s songs became chart hits in the United States. “You Must Love Me” continued to resonate with audiences as the song garnered renewed attention in the 2010s when Del Rey covered it for an oddball album.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 70th birthday album

Greatest hits albums are generally released by bands or solo artists. Songwriters who are not singers rarely release such albums. Apparently, Lloyd Webber is famous and popular enough to warrant a greatest hits album of songs he wrote called Unmasked: The Platinum Collection. In an interview with NPR, Lloyd Webber discussed how Unmasked: The Platinum Collection was a gift of sorts from his record company.

“This album is a very, very sweet thing the record company have done, which is a sort of, I suppose, an album for my 70th birthday, which is not exactly a new album, although there are a few new tracks on it of songs that have been cut by other artists who have not done them before like Lana Del Rey,” Lloyd Webber said. “And so it’s a great excitement for me, but it’s really a sort of compendium of some of my best songs.” Lloyd Webber said Del Rey’s version of “You Must Love Me” was one of the best songs on the album. According to The Fader, Del Rey explained her decision to cover “You Must Love Me” was rooted in her feelings towards Lloyd Webber’s work.

What Lana Del Rey thinks of Andrew Lloyd Webber

“Andrew Lloyd Webber has been one of my primary inspirations in music, so to do a cover of one of his songs is a dream,” Del Rey said. “I especially love this particular song, ‘You Must Love Me,’ because of how unique the melody is. I’ve been incredibly inspired by all of Andrew’s work from [The] Phantom of the Opera to Evita.” It’s certainly incredible to think Lloyd Webber was an influence on Del Rey’s unique brand of indie music.

The two version of the song contrast with each other subtly. Del Rey sang “You Must Love Me” in an arguably more vulnerable fashion than Madonna. This reflects how she portrays herself as less empowered in her music than Madonna often does. In conclusion, though Madonna and Del Rey are very different artists, Lloyd Webber helped to craft a song which worked for both of them.

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