Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: The Great Radio ControversyReleased: 1989Charted:
"Love Song" was written by Tesla vocalist Jeff Keith and guitarist/keyboardist Frank Hannon. It is Tesla's signature song, and one with a very strong connection for the band.
"Tesla's always been about the love," Keith said in our 2015 interview
. "We will forever play 'Love Song' every time we ever play. Because love is how we all got here. Love's what makes the world go 'round. Love stands above everything, even the hate."
The album version runs 5:25, with a lengthy, noodling guitar intro that takes up the first 1:33. The single was trimmed to a radio-friendly 4:03, cutting most of this intro. The live, acoustic version that appears on Tesla's album Five Man Acoustical Jam
(the album that produced their hit cover of "Signs
," runs 9:54, with Frank Hannon stretching the intro to 3:50 before Jeff Keith joins him on stage. On this intro, Hannon incorporates a few licks from the Heart song "Crazy On You
Tesla formed in 1984. Hailing from Sacramento, California, their original name was City Kidd, but on the advice of their manager (and the fact that another band already went by that name), they decided to pick a new name. Their name does indeed come from Nikola Tesla, the legendary Serbian scientist and inventor who quite possibly is single-handedly responsible for the "mad scientist" trope.
Nikola Tesla was the "Linux Torvalds" to Thomas Edison's "Bill Gates"; Tesla had all the scientific smarts and wanted to deliver world-changing scientific breakthroughs to the masses, while Edison had all of the ruthless business smarts and basically drove Tesla into poverty and obscurity all while profiting off of his contributions. In a similar vein, the title The Great Radio Controversy refers to another case of stolen credit - this time the Italian scientist Guglielmo Marconi, who took credit for inventing radio.
On a parallel note, Tesla came along at just the right time to have an identity crisis. They were seen as a "glam metal" band right when glam metal was dying like disco; it didn't help that when touring, they often shared a bill with Def Leppard and Poison - and of course, they were on the Geffen label. Tesla tried to redefine themselves by dressing down in jeans and T-shirts, playing more blues-driven rock and acting more like a jam band than a stadium band. It's almost as if they would have loved to have invented grunge, had they only been a couple states north and thought of it first.