Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City

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"Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City" is a 1974 R&B song, written by Michael Price and Dan Walsh, and first recorded by Bobby Bland for the ABC Dunhill album Dreamer. While Bland scored a minor hit with the song, landing in the top ten of the R&B charts,[1] it is perhaps best known through cover versions and samples. While it is ostensibly a love song, some critics have also heard it as a lament on urban poverty and hopelessness; the cover version by reggae singer Al Brown even changes most of the lyrics to magnify this emphasis.[1] The song is featured on the soundtracks to the 2009 film Fighting and the 2011 crime drama The Lincoln Lawyer.[2]

Covers and samples[edit]

"Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City"
Single by Whitesnake
from the album the Heart of the City and Snakebite EP
B-side"Take Me With You" (Live)
Released1978 (studio version)
1980 (live version)
FormatVinyl LP
RecordedApril 7–13, 1978 (studio version)
November 23, 1978 (live version)
GenreHard rock, blues-rock
Length5:07 (studio)
8:18 (live)
LabelUnited Artists, Geffen, EMI (studio)
Liberty, Sunburst (live)
Songwriter(s)Michael Price
Dan Walsh
Producer(s)Martin Birch(both versions)
Whitesnake singles chronology
"Ready an' Willing"
"Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City"
"Don't Break My Heart Again"

A well-known cover of the song is by the hard rock band Whitesnake, who included it on their 1978 debut EP, Snakebite, and again as a live recording on the Heart of the City. The cover was the new band's first hit, and it became a staple of their live set.

For his 2001 album The Blueprint, rapper Jay-Z recorded the song "Heart of the City (Ain't No Love)," a Kanye West-produced track built around a sample of Bobby Bland's chartmaking rendition. Jay-Z's song was used in the trailer for the 2007 film American Gangster, in a 2011 Chrysler commercial, as the theme song for the CBS series NYC 22 and a Crown Royal commercial in 2013.

The song is featured in the 2009 video game DJ Hero, in "mashed-up" form.

Other notable cover versions have been recorded by:


  1. ^ a b Jo-Ann Greene (2001-08-14). "Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City - Al Brown : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  2. ^ "The Lincoln Lawyer (Soundtrack)". Archived from the original on 2011-04-07. Retrieved 2011-03-24.
  3. ^ Hamilton, Andrew (1998-06-02). "Something to Talk About - Willie Clayton : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-26.