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Robert Knight was a protégé of Mac Gayden and Buzz Cason, who wrote the song for him. The song has been recorded by a number of prominent artists, with 4 different versions charting in the United States and an astounding 7 versions in the UK, the biggest of which was by the English band Love Affair, who reached #1 on the UK charts in 1968, relegating Knight's original to #40. However, the Knight version was reissued in the UK in 1974 and reached #19. The 1974 reissue of this song was Knight's last chart success. He later pursued a career in chemical research.
Mac Gayden, who co-wrote the song, recorded it on his album Skybird. Gayden was a session guitarist who was once a member of the country supergroup Area Code 615. His co-writer Buzz Cason is better known as the founder of The Casuals, Nashville's first rock and roll band, and also for performing with two members of The Jordanaires. Cason was also a back-up singer for the likes of Elvis Presley and Kenny Rogers. (thanks, Tony - Devon, England, for above 2)
Love Affair used session musicians rather than the band itself on their version. The only member of the group who performed on it was their 16-year-old vocalist Steve Ellis. In an interview with Shindig magazine, Ellis said, "The general opinion seemed to be that I should do it with an orchestra and then give it a Phil Spector-type production. Obviously I felt odd without the band being in the studio but it was for the good of all involved. Two takes and it was done. The band were not too concerned about this approach to things." Love affair went onto achieve 5 more UK Top-20 hits on which the group did get to perform.
Jazz vocalist Jaime Cullum's 2004 version marked the 8th time the song made the UK charts, reaffirming the song's status as the second most covered track in UK chart history (only "Unchained Melody
" with 9 versions can beat it). Since Love Affair hit the top alongside Robert Knight's US original in 1968 there have been chart covers by Gloria Estefan and The Cast From Casualty among others - this latter version was the only other version to go Top 10.
The highest-charting version of this song in the United States was by Carl Carlton, whose cover reached #6 in 1974. Carlton kicked off a career in soul, R&B, and funk in the late 1960s, originally recording as "Little Carl" Carlton, in synergy with Stevie Wonder, who also started out as "Little Stevie." He moved to Houston Texas and started his own record label, Back Beat Records, which moved his career into high gear and gave him his first mainstream success with "Everlasting Love." A portion of Carlton's cover has been used in a Hallmark musical greeting card sold in the US and Canada. This version was also frequently sampled in the HBO original TV series Arli$$.
Chart breakdown of the "Everlasting Love" covers:
Robert Knight (1967): #13 US, #19 UK
Carl Carlton (1974): #6 US
Rex Smith/Rachel Sweet (1981): #32 US, #35 UK
Gloria Estefan (1995): #27 US, #19 UK
Love Affair (1968): #1 UK
Worlds Apart (1993): #20 UK
Cast From Casualty (1998): #5 UK
Jamie Cullum (2004): #20 UK
In 2006, this was used in TV commercials for Pringles Crisps. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Howard Jones and Andy Gibb both charted completely different songs called "Everlasting Love," Gibb's hit #5 US in 1978 and Jones' made #12 US in 1989. If you're looking for the eHarmony song, that would be Natalie Cole's first hit: "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)
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