This was written by percussionist Ralph MacDonald and bass player William Salter. They wrote the song hoping The 5th Dimension would record it, but MacDonald was working on the session for the Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway album, and when they needed one more song, he offered it to them.
Flack and Hathaway were good friends who both attended Howard University. Their first collaboration was a cover of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend." This led to an entire album of duets, which contained this hit.
In this song, Flack and Hathaway sing about a relationship that is not working out. Unlike most male/female duets, they aren't singing to each other, but are both taking the role of the person who is on the short end of the relationship. It's a classic case of girl leaves boyfriend, tells another guy she will love him, then goes back to her original boyfriend, leaving Donny and Roberta to ask, "Where Is The Love?"
Six years later, Flack and Hathaway teamed up again for "The Closer I Get To You," which hit #2 in the US. Flack also recorded successful duets with Peabo Bryson ("Tonight, I Celebrate My Love") and Maxi Priest ("Set The Night To Music").
Chloe x Halle performed this at the Grammy Awards in 2019 in tribute to Hathaway, who died in 1979 at age 33.
Ronald D Sward from Los Banos, CaI just purchased this most beautiful love song album. Its one of mu top 3 love songs since 1982. Its a song i listen to in my quiet evenings being alone. I wish Roberta well.
Seymour Pettigrew from North Carolina Thanks for these songfacts, but Roberta and Donny didn't attend Howard University together: she was a teacher, he was her student. (Ok, technically they were there at the same time.) Regardless, I love this song
Sandy from FlA beautiful song with a fresh, soulful sound. I love it!
Cher from Enumclaw, WaCamille, I agree with you 100%. I listen to this song over and over and over and over again and I never get tired of it either. It never gets old!
Camille from Toronto, OhThis is one of the most beautiful duets ever sung. The voices of Donnie Hathaway and Roberta Flack combined are a thing of beauty. I almost think you could listen to this song in a continuous loop forever and never tire of it. This is perfection.