Love's Theme

Album: Rhapsody in White (1973)
Charted: 10 1

Songfacts®:

  • This is a lushly orchestrated instrumental by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra. The soul symphony was written and produced by White and became one of his biggest hits. With its strings and wah-wah guitar, the track had a significant influence on the disco sound, which exploded in 1975 - a year after "Love's Theme" had topped the charts.
  • "Love's Theme" was released as an A-side single in December of 1973. The track was included on the Love Unlimited Orchestra's debut album Rhapsody in White (1974). The Love Unlimited Orchestra was a 40-piece orchestra formed by White to serve as a backing unit for him as well as for his all-female vocal trio Love Unlimited. The trio sang background vocals on White's songs and also recorded albums on their own. The track was also included on Love Unlimited's second album Under The Influence of… Love Unlimited (1973).
  • The track shot to #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 on February 9, 1974, where it stayed for one week. On April 20, another Soul instrumental, "TSOP (The Sound of Philadelphia)," also hit the top spot, this time staying for two weeks.

    "Love's Theme" also topped the US Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart, where it spent two weeks. It charted at #10 on both the US R&B and the UK Singles Chart. Additionally, "Love's Theme" topped the RPM 100 National Singles Chart in Canada.
  • This is one of the few instrumentals and purely orchestral tracks to reach #1 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and was one of the most played instrumentals of the 1970s. The track earned White a BMI award for selling over three million copies.
  • The string parts on the track were arranged by the renowned arranger Gene Page. White originally wanted to have vocals on the song but changed his mind after hearing Page's string arrangement. In our interview with noted studio bassist Scott Edwards, he discussed White's change of heart about adding vocals to the track: "I heard that Barry White's tune, "Love's Theme," which was an instrumental, after Gene Page, who's a great arranger, did his string parts, Barry White said it was so beautiful, he decided not to put on the vocal," said Edwards. "And that's how it became "Love's Theme." It became a world hit because Barry White realized that Gene's strings were so beautiful, why mess it up with a vocal?" Edwards did not play on "Love's Theme," but he had worked in the studio with Page on several occasions.
  • Lyrics were added to a second version of the song. These lyrics were sung by Love Unlimited, and this version was included on the trio's third album, In Heat, released in 1974. The lyrics were penned by veteran songwriter and music publisher Aaron Schroeder, who co-wrote 17 songs for Elvis Presley, including the #1 hits "It's Now Or Never" and "A Big Hunk o' Love." Julio Iglesias and Andy Williams also recorded vocal versions of the song. Additionally, classical violinist Enoch Light recorded an Electro-disco instrumental version of the song in 1977. Jazz trumpeter Rick Braun and guitarist Chuck Loeb also recorded instrumental covers of the track.
  • In 1975, White and The Love Unlimited Orchestra performed "Love's Theme" live on the musical variety show Soul Train. The lineup also included Love Unlimited, who sang the song's lyrics. Artists and bands usually lip-synced on Soul Train, but everything was performed completely live for this performance. Paying to accommodate the 40-piece orchestra in the studio busted the show's budget and taught its creator Don Cornelius a valuable lesson in production costs. Cornelius was far more frugal moving forward; while White's performance was a transcendent moment in the show's history, it made far more sense (and dollars) to have the artists lip-synch. The show stayed on the air another 30 years, becoming one of the longest-running TV shows of all time.
  • For many years, ABC Sports used this song as the opening theme music for its golf coverage. The song was also featured briefly in the 2004 film Mean Girls.
  • Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways used the track for their television commercials.

Comments: 5

  • John from Larkspur, Ca. UsaOne of the finest instrumentals I have ever heard... hands down. Incredible that Barry White never formally studied music.
  • Roger from San Francisco Bay AreaIt's interesting that Aaron Schroeder wrote the lyrics for this song, as he also wrote the lyrics for the Elvis hit "It's Now or Never", which was the song that Barry White heard when in jail that inspired him to change his life!
  • Markantney from BiloxeJun 2016,
    Marg, I remember hearing it as kid (mid-late 70s) on ABC Wide World of Sports before Golf Tournaments. I'd stay to listen to the song, soon as it ended, turned the channel or went outside.
  • Marg from Northern Australia Can anyone tell me which TV show had 'Love's Theme' as it's theme song (besides Love Boat)
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 3rd 1974, "Love's Theme" by Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra peaked at #1 (for 1 week) on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; it had entered the chart on November 25th, 1973 and spent 22 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on January 20th, 1974 it also reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    In Canada on March 2nd, 1974 it peaked at #1 (for 1 week) on the RPM Top Singles chart...
    On the Top 100 chart it had knocked Barbra Streisand's "The Way We Were" out of the top spot, but then she returned the favor and reclaimed the #1 position for two more weeks (and in Canada "Love's Theme" was the record that also replaced Ms. Streisand at #1)...
    R.I.P. Mr. White, born Barry Eugene Carter, (1944 - 2003).
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