What Is Love?

Album: Human's Lib (1983)
Charted: 2 33
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Songfacts®:

  • In our interview with Howard Jones, he said this song saw him question what "love" is: "I didn't want to write songs about, 'I love you, baby, you've hurt me and I'm sad.' I didn't want to write songs about co-dependency. If I was going to write about love, I wanted to say what do we mean by love? What is it, really?"

    Jones added: "You can't be dependent upon another person for your happiness. So you'd better question this idea of romantic love pretty soon, otherwise you're going to be pretty miserable. So that's really what that song is."
  • Howard Jones told us in 2011 that the song is still representative of how he feels about love: "I feel the same as I did then, which is that for a relationship to work, to be really in love with somebody, you have to know who you are. And they have to know who they are. And then you kind of face the world together, rather than you clutching to the apron strings of the other person for their support. This is my philosophy about that, really. You can't be dependent on another person. You have to know yourself so that you can then stand on your own. Only then can you have a great relationship with somebody. So that's really what that song is indicating."

Comments: 2

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1984 {July 7th} Howard Jones performed "What Is Love?" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    One month earlier on June 3rd the song peaked at position #33 {for 3 weeks} on Billboard's Hot Top 100 Singles chart, it spent thirteen weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #2 {for 1 week} on the United Kingdom's Singles chart, for the week it was at #2, the #1 record that week was "Pipes of Peace" by Paul McCartney...
    And on the same 'Bandstand' show he also performed "New Song", earlier in 1984 on March 25th it reached #27 {for 1 week} on the Hot Top 100 Singles chart...
    Between 1983 and 1992 the Southampton, Hampshire, England native had eleven records on the Hot Top 100 Singles chart, two made the Top 10, "Things Can Only Get Better" (#5 for 1 week in June of 1985} and "No One To Blame" {#4 for 1 week in June of 1986}...
    In his native U.K., he charted seventeen times on the Singles chart with five Top 10 records, the above "What Is Love" being his highest charting record...
    John Howard Jones celebrated his 64th birthday five months ago on February 23rd, 2019..
  • Randy from Rio De Janeiro, -Was put in a very neat early 80's era music video, wherein HoJo plays some sort of precognitive music spirit observing (and foretelling) the various activities of other people in the vicinity. The vignettes demonstrate the perplexing nature of various types of love. A personal favorite, for once I thought the video complimented the song
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