After The Love Has Gone

Album: I Am (1979)
Charted: 4 2

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a relationship that has gone bad. The singer struggles to understand how something that felt so right could suddenly be so wrong, and wonders if their love is lost forever.
  • This was written by David Foster, Jay Graydon and Bill Champlin. In our interview with Jay Graydon he told the story: "David Foster produced an album for Jaye P. Morgan in 1976. It's a great record. It's available in Japan, and never did anything here, really. Then he was at Motown playing some songs with Jaye to try to get a deal over there.

    He was in the middle of playing a song and he forgot the chorus, and he ad-libbed the chorus to 'After The Love Has Gone.' He comes over to my house, and we went into my little dinky studio. He sits down at the piano, and he says, 'Listen to this chorus.' He plays it, and I said, 'Hey, here's an idea for a verse.' And I went, 'da da dom, A major 7, da-D-minor-6, da da A major 7, bom ba da da da F-sharp minor.' And he just immediately continued on with that, and we had the whole song written in about half an hour/45 minutes.

    We called Champlin: 'Bill, get over here, we need a lyric.' David was producing Champlin at the time. David recorded it with Champlin, maybe three different versions. He got one that he really liked, though. But then David was also writing with Maurice White for Earth, Wind & Fire for the I Am album. He played the song for Maurice, and Maurice loved it. David called me and says, 'Hey, man, Earth, Wind & Fire wants to record it, but I don't want to tell Champlin that it's gonna have to get pulled off his record. Will you do it?' I said, 'I sure will.' (laughs) I called Bill and I said, 'Bill, here's the story.' And he says, 'I'm not an idiot, man.' (laughing) I said, 'I'm glad you say you're not an idiot. Because they say this thing's gonna be a single for sure. And this could be big.' Needless to say, that song still generates good money. It's unbelievable."
  • David Foster came up with the title, which provided a storyline that Bill Champlin filled in with the lyric, writing backward to figure what led to the love drain. Champlin didn't write it from personal experience, but imagined a scenario, which is typical of his work. "If we had to go through every change that we write about, we'd all be completely nuts," he said in a Songfacts interview.
  • The song won two Grammy Awards. Earth, Wind & Fire took the trophy for Best Rhythm & Blues Vocal Performance by a Group, an award they won four times in their career.

    The track also won for Best Rhythm & Blues Song, which is bestowed on the writers. It was the first win for David Foster, who would go on to win a total of 16 Grammys. In 1993, he was named Billboard's Top Singles Producer and Top R&B Producer, while receiving the largest number of Grammy nominations and winning Producer of the Year for Whitney Houston's soundtrack to The Bodyguard. He also co-wrote the #1 single "St. Elmo's Fire" with John Parr.
  • Musically, this song stands out because of its distinct progression, according to co-writer Bill Champlin. "After The Love Has Gone," that's not a progression you're going to hear on 25 songs next week. "From letter B of "After The Love Has Gone" to letter C, to the chorus, is unbelievable," he said. "That's what sold that record. And David [Foster] came up with a really cool move that changed it up. It's almost got two choruses in that song."
  • In 1982 Bill Champlin (who the previous year had joined the band Chicago as their vocalist), Jay Graydon and Steve Lukather co-wrote "Turn Your Love Around" for George Benson for which they also won a Grammy for Best Rhythm & Blues Song.
  • Earth Wind & Fire has the honor of having three songs listed among the most-performed songs in the BMI catalogue of more than 3 million recorded works. "After The Love Has Gone" is their most-performed song with over 2 million performances. That is the equivalent of around 100,000 broadcast hours, or more than 11 years of continuous airplay. "September" and "That's The Way Of The World" have also had over 1 million United States radio and television performances.
  • This is the only song on the album that Maurice White didn't have a part in writing. According to Graydon, they had to give him part of the publishing, "because we were young and stupid."
  • In our interview with Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire, he said that this was one of the hardest songs for them to get right in the studio. "The track was based on a vibe," he said. "We cut it about six, seven times, and Maurice just said, 'No, it's not right yet. We'll come back and get it tomorrow. It's not right yet.' And then one day we nailed it, and it was right. The way it felt. It sounded like Earth, Wind & Fire."
  • Before this went to Earth, Wind & Fire, Bill Champlin tried three times to record the song, which was slated for his 1978 album Single, but was struggling with it. When Maurice White asked for it, he also asked for a few other songs Champlin was working on, but Champlin didn't want to give those up. "I didn't want to do that because, hey, these are my songs," he told Songfacts. "One of them was one that I wrote by myself, something called 'Fly With Me' that [David] Foster just arranged the s--t out of - he's just so great. And, what ended up happening is I said, 'No, but you can have 'After The Love' because I'm not really doing it justice.'"

    "I'm kicking myself for not giving them the other three songs and just writing three new songs for myself," he added.

    Bill Champlin didn't release his own version of the song until 2002, when he recorded it with Jay Graydon. It was part of Graydon's album Airplay For The Planet.

Comments: 11

  • Jimmy from NjDoes anyone recognize the white female backup singer in the song
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn July 1st 1979, "After the Love Has Gone" by Earth, Wind, and Fire entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #77; and on September 9th, 1979 it peaked at #2 (for 2 weeks) and spent 17 weeks on the Top 100 (and for 9 of those 17 weeks it was on the Top 10)...
    It also reached #2 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles chart...
    The 2 weeks it was at #2 on the Top 100, the #1 record for both those weeks was "My Sharona" by the Knack...
    Between 1971 and 1988 the group had twenty-nine Top 100 records; six made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Shining Star" for 1 week in 1975.
  • Bill from Bethlehem, PaMike from AL gets it -- awesome melody on a sad -- but probably true song for a lot of couples.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdBill Champlin recorded this a few times. With co-writer Jay Graydon on Airplay and Airplay For the Planet, on two of his solo albums and with Chicago as a bonus track on Chicago's "Love Songs".
    He also wrote "Friends in Love" with Graydon and Foster for Dionne Warwick and Johnny Mathis and sang the theme for the TV show In the Heat of the Night among others.
  • Sam from New Orleans, LaIronically, this is one of EWF's most known songs; the rest of their catolog of hits and albums were about nothing but peace, love, harmony and pride in oneself. Just shows where we are that their saddest song is the most liked by pop audiences.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdDavid Foster later did an instrumental version on his 1991 album Rechordings with Kenny G on sax.
  • Sara from Silver Spring, MdThe song is covered by Graydon, Foster and Tommy Funderbank on the album Airplay (a popular West Coast/ Adult Oriented Rock record) Bill Champlin later of Chicago did a demo and had wanted to record it first.
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaAnyone who has experienced a marriage or relationship that is failing after years of success can appreciate this song.
  • Joycemorrison from Phi was mad about this song when i was in college. the music.. even the lyrics (i appreciate heartache). i still like it now, but "Reasons" outweighs it much more.
  • John from Wilmington, NcJay Graydon also played the guitar solo on Peg.
  • Mike from Hueytown , AlAwesome Song...the sound is good feeling even if the lyrics aren't
see more comments

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