The song started as an Andy Mackay instrumental, but then gained lyrics from Bryan Ferry; Ferry said the song came to him while he was walking and kicking the leaves in London's Hyde Park. The audio sample[clarification needed - what audio sample?], previously thought to be from the opening of the 1971 Steven Spielberg film "Duel", is actually from New Orleans Bump by Jelly Roll Morton.
The unique bassline by John Gustafson became influential. In the DVD, More Than This: The Story of Roxy Music, Nile Rodgers of Chic states that the song was a big influence as the bass timing is almost identical to the one in Chic's song, "Good Times". In the Depeche Mode tour documentary/film 101, lead vocalist Dave Gahan sings along to the song while playing a pinball machine.
Grace Jones recorded "Love Is the Drug" on her Warm Leatherette album from 1980. The track was released as the second single, following "A Rolling Stone" in the UK while it was the first single to be released in Germany. After failing to chart in 1980, a remix of the Grace Jones version was released in 1986 following the 1985 compilation Island Life and then became a minor hit in the UK, peaking at no. 35. Music video was produced for the 1986 remix and directed by Matt Forrest and Bruno Tilley.