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Love Is Like Oxygen

by

Sweet



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

Many songs make liberal use of metaphor in the lyrics, but rarely is a song title a direct metaphor, which is the case here. Sweet eschews subtlety as they make the case that love, much like oxygen, must be constantly regulated.
One of Sweet's more serene song titles, this was Sweet's last US, UK and German Top 10 hit, as the group left the Glam Rock scene for the more plush atmosphere of Pop-driven music. (thanks, Chase - Pasadena, CA)
Sweet guitarist Andy Scott wrote this and was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award for the composition. It lost to "Baker Street" by Gerry Rafferty.
Level Headed was Sweet's first album for their new label Polydor, in which like ELO they found themselves experimenting with mixing Rock and Classical sounds.
In 2002, Andy Scott told the Slovakian Box Network: "We had finished with our first record company and had begun on a project for another. At that time the era of the Sex Pistols had started, and how people thought of music reached new dimensions. No one knew what was coming next. We were already a part rock, part metal band. Therefore in the area which was most touched by the changes. That is when I wrote the song 'Love is Like Oxygen,' and then the idea came along to compose it in a style which at that time was totally new, yet one that suited us. I think it worked out well. Of course the people didn't accept it so easily. I consider Level Headed to be a good album, it sold around the world."
The 1975 Hall & Oates' song "Grounds for Separation" contains similar lyrics: "But isn't it a bit like oxygen, 'cause too much will make you high, but not enough will make you die." (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England, for above 4)
Sweet
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Comments (10):

On February 12th 1978, "Love Is Like Oxygen" by Sweet entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #81; and on June 18th it peaked at #8 (for 2 weeks) and spent almost a half-year on the Top 100 (25 weeks)...
R.I.P. to the group's lead singer Brian Francis Connolly (1945 - 1997) and drummer Michael Thomas Tucker (1947 - 2002).
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
I always thought this was ELO! Great song
- Aimee, Plant City, FL
Technically, the song title (and lyrics) are a simile, not a metaphor. A metaphor would be "Love is Oxygen." The word "Like" is what makes the difference.
- Matt, North Liberty, IA
I always see 12" version when I look for this song and I bought the "Level headed" CD. However, the song is not 12" long and faded out at 6"54'. I believe that I heard the complete uncut version several times on the radio but it looks like it is impossible to purchase this version
- Steve, Mesa, AZ
Long version ONLY.I love all the changes, & different parts.My favorite Sweet song.To me,it sounds more like Queen,not so much ELO.
- dane, lima,ohio, FL
Kevin, that is a very good point...I believe it is because of the instruments used in this song. It is very similar to several ELO songs. As a matter of fact, for a long time (when I was younger) I actually DID think it was ELO.
BTW...This is an excellent song, and very well-written. Kinda makes you think.
- Mary, Phoenix, AZ
This was the only hit by the band for Polydor after leaving RCA-Victor.
- Zabadak, London, England
Also note that this song sometimes is mistagged as being from the Electric Light Orchestra.
- Kevin, Antofagasta, --
"Love Is Like Oxygen"...creatively written, and extraordinarily arranged and performed. Great song, but you have to have the ALBUM version...not the single to hear the full effect.
- Don, Indianapolis, IN
Andy Scott & Steve Priest made lot of the chorus & harmony vocals due to the alcohol problem of Brian Connolly (lead singer). "Level Head" (1978) was the last album with Brian Connolly.
- Michael, Ponce, Puerto Rico, Other
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