This Is Us William Song Memphis You Can Always Come Back to This

This Is Us: The Story Behind William's Heartbreaking Soul Song

Warning: The following contains spoilers for Tuesday’s This Is Us.

If you’ve managed to stop ugly-crying after this week’s This Is Us by now, you might be left with the same question we had: Who wrote that amazing song William’s band played?

We first heard the original song, “We Can Always Come Back to This,” in a flashback to a younger William’s days in Memphis, playing keyboards in his cousin Ricky’s cover band. William took a stab at writing an original song for the band, and Ricky loved it — and so did the Memphis locals. A soulful heart-stirrer in the vein of Otis Redding (and sung beautifully by guest star Brian Tyree Henry, we might add), the song’s lyrics describe an undying love that crosses all boundaries: “If I’m gonna be alone/Let it be with you.”

 

The show’s composer Siddhartha Kholsa co-wrote the song, and he didn’t get a lot of direction from the script. “[Creator] Dan Fogelman had just written into the script that there would be an original song,” Kholsa tells TVLine. “But when you have material that good, it just inspires you.”

The producers wanted to take advantage of the tradition of great soul music that Memphis has. The song was originally described in the script as a blues song, executive producer John Requa reveals, but “there’s this whole Stax soul sound from Memphis which is so influential and underappreciated. So we thought, ‘Let’s go in that soul direction.’ And when Sid played the song for us, he blew [us] away, right out of the box.”

“It had to be authentic,” EP Glenn Ficarra adds. “It had to feel like a real soul song. And it also had to be a good song, so you believe that they’re actually going someplace as a band. And Sid just knocked it out of the park. Beautiful song. Chris [Pierce], who played guitar in the band, co-wrote the song. And Brian Tyree Henry, who came in to play Ricky, actually sang it live.”

We hear the song again at the end of the episode, in a cover version as we watch a montage of William’s life after his passing. And lyrically, Kholsa notes that the song ties into Randall’s eternal connection with William, as well as the series as a whole. “The lesson I get from the show is that life doesn’t really end, ever,” he says. “So the refrain at the end, ‘We can always come back to this,’ was a play on that, just saying that you may not be here now, but I’ll find you somewhere down the road.”

Press PLAY on the clip above to listen to William’s song, then hit the comments and share your take on Tuesday’s This Is Us

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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22 Comments
  1. Have to agree. It not only sounded like a decent song, but a decent Stax Record song. Very particular to the time and place of the setting.

  2. Katie says:

    Loved the song so much. I particularly loved during the clip above how William clearly feels the emotion of the song each time it is played. Well done, This Is Us!

  3. Yvonne Wayne says:

    i cried if course and i and was thinking wow where could i buy this song??? He has such a beautiful voice!!wow just the lyrics and his tone blew me away!

  4. Cate says:

    Loved the song, loved Brian Tyree Henry’s voice. 😀

    • Shirley Harris says:

      I think Brian Tyree Henry has a beautiful voice.I also love the song that was playing when Randall is on his way home from Memphis. I would like to know the artist name and the name of her song.

  5. Lee says:

    I hope the song will be available for downloadsoon. This Is Us is, without a doubt, is one of the best shows on tv. From the writing, directing, soundtrack to the superb acting, it’s just spectacular!

  6. Venius Matthys says:

    Loved the song, both artist versions. Hope they both will be available soon for download. This is Us is a great show.

  7. Sylvia Arellano says:

    Very moving and beautifully sung!

  8. Terri says:

    WOW! When a singer and song can touch your soul, that’s what you call music.
    Well done my Brother. Wish you the best.
    This is us. Reality for sure. Great show.

  9. Brad says:

    What a perfect song for a perfect show. I will always come back to this, thank you for sharing and writing this song. 70’s soul is the best.

  10. mariee moffett says:

    Beautiful song sung by the gorgeous smooth voice of Brian Tyree Henry,. Would love the lyrics, does anybody have them?

    • Lana says:

      Go on YouTube and search for the song title. It’s from the show’s page and it has “episode highlight” in the title. The captioning is on and you can see the lyrics of the song.

  11. Desiree says:

    When reading an article about a song on a tv show makes you tear up, you know that it did its job. Love the song, love the show. This episode was beautiful, bittersweet perfection.

  12. gdavis says:

    this show just gets better and better every week. It’s going to make a fortune when the DVD comes out. But this week made me cry more than any of the other ones. and the music was so beautiful

  13. Cried so much I missed some of the lyrics. Amazing song…hits so close to home right now. Definitely will download. This is music!

  14. I loved this song! And the show is the best on TV! Great job writers!

  15. Valerie Elliott says:

    Love this show and have watched every episode. But I’m confused. With all of Randall and William’s story I don’t believe the birth mother has been mentioned. Did I miss something? Odd that Randall is so focused on his dad but no mention of the .

  16. John says:

    Sounds like Good Friday from the black crowes!! Awesome song. Thought of it when I was watching.