In celebration of Valentine’s Day, here are One Hundred Love Songs, a dive into Lesley Duncan’s seminal 1969 ballad and the endless covers that followed.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you’re probably well familiar with Lani Hall’s “Love Song.” It’s a tune we consider to be one of the best dollar bin buys there is and a song we hold near and dear to us here at ISC. The track has been included in multiple playlists, mentioned frequently in our articles, and was among the first few records we archived into our growing online collection. On a recent drive up to San Francisco with the ISC team, it was only a matter of time until “Love Song” weaseled its way into our queue. It prompted us to listen to all the other cover versions of this Lesley Duncan classic we knew, from Olivia to Joe Cruz, and made us wonder exactly how many covers of this song were out there…
It turns out, a lot.
Our friend Richard runs an Instagram account solely for this purpose. Called One Hundred Love Songs, it has gone to great lengths to track down every version out there, both famous and obscure, from private press to Minnie Driver.
Included here are his top ten (which he says changes by the day), plus a few of our personal favorites.
Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at In Sheep’s Clothing. We hope you enjoy “One Hundred Love Songs.” <3
Lani Hall – Sundown Lady (1972)
This gorgeous, laid back rendition is featured on the debut album from Lani Hall, Herb Alpert’s wife and the lead vocalist of Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66. Richard says this was where it all started for him. Us too 🙂
Pony Tail – Greeting Cards (1976)
Amazing Japanese folk version from 1976. Released on Toshiba’s Express subsidiary label, it was briefly reissued on CD in 2008.
Joe Cruz & the Cruzettes (1972)
One of our absolute favorites is this short, sweet, and irresistibly groovy cover from the Philippines. Released on Joe Cruz’s sole LP, it’s also virtually impossible to acquire an original copy of.
Beautiful Welsh version released on Richard’s own Aficionado Recordings label. You can download a digital copy here.
Olivia Newton-John (1971)
Second to Elton John’s, the most famous rendition out there is Olivia’s haunting and atmospheric version from ‘71. Beautifully sung and treated with lovely piano and percussion arrangements, the tune first appeared on her debut ‘If Not For You.’
Alan Tew (1975)
One of Richard’s deep digs is this “fantastic library vibed instrumental” from 1975. It’s also without a doubt the cutest album cover here <3.
The most obscure version here is this stunning private press Christian folk version. It was released on the Airborn Records, a private label run by Ray Frisby and David Mash that put out three LP’s starting in 1981.
Coincidentally released by a different Airborn Records label, here’s another Christian folk version by a rural Kentucky group.
From Richard’s IG account: “Ignore the horrifically bad yet amazing sleeve. This is truly a genius version. Released on the micro Mancunian label in ‘74, this is probably the best version I’ve heard since first chancing upon Joe Cruz. Ignoring the acoustic folk traits of most 70s takes, this is just a lovely little funkster with a spooky as f– female vox. Outstanding!”
Jason & Wilson (Unknown)
Beautiful soft jazz folk version from this Texan duo, a Dallas act that existed sometime in the early 80s. It features an incredible funky, jammy, and hammery piano outro.
Canadian Christian folk private press from ‘82 with an amazing Windham Hill like sleeve. Full LP is ripped above.
David Bowie & John Hutcherson (1968-1969)
Featured in a set of A&R demos recorded from 1968 to 1969 with David Bowie singing backing vocals while John Hutchinson takes lead. Bowie and Hutch had a period of being another Simon and Garfunkel before Bowie’s solo debut took off. This cover was also featured on the bootleg ‘The Beckenham Oddity.’
Elton John (1970)
Finally, here are the definitive versions, the Elton John duet with Duncan featured on his 1970 Tumbleweed Connection LP that made the song a standard; and of course, Lesley’s lovely 1969 original.
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