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All in Love Is Fair

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"All in Love Is Fair"
A white vinyl record of the single appears
A-side of 1974 "Too High" Brazil single
Song by Stevie Wonder
from the album Innervisions
Released August 3, 1973
Format 7"
Genre Pop[1]
Length 3:41
Label
Songwriter(s) Stevie Wonder
Producer(s) Stevie Wonder
Innervisions track listing
"Jesus Children of America"
(6)
"All in Love Is Fair"
(7)
"Don't You Worry 'bout a Thing"
(8)

"All in Love Is Fair" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Stevie Wonder for his sixteenth studio album, Innervisions (1973). Written and produced by Wonder, it was released as a 7" single in Brazil in 1974. The song is a pop ballad with lyrics that describe the end of a relationship through the use of clichés. Critical reaction to the song was varied: Matthew Greenwald of AllMusic wrote that it was among Wonder's "finest ballad statements",[2] while Robert Christgau felt that the singer's performance was "immature".[3] It has been recorded by a number of other artists, including Brook Benton, Nancy Wilson and Cleo Laine. Wonder also placed it on several of his greatest hits albums, including his most recent one, The Complete Stevie Wonder, in 2005.

American vocalist Barbra Streisand released "All in Love Is Fair" as a single in 1974 for her fifteenth studio album, The Way We Were (1974). Tommy LiPuma handled the production for the 7" single release by Columbia Records. Among music critics, Greenwald called her version "unforgettable",[2] and Rolling Stone's Stephen Holden wrote that it was "almost as interesting" as Wonder's rendition.[4] Commercially, the song peaked on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States at number 63, and Canada's Top Singles chart at number 60. She too has included it on numerous compilation albums, including Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Vol. 2 (1978) and The Essential Barbra Streisand (2002).

Release and composition[edit]

"All in Love Is Fair" is taken from Stevie Wonder's sixteenth studio album, Innervisions, released on August 3, 1973 by Tamla Records.[5] Despite not being released as a commercial single in his native country of the United States, Tapecar Records and Tamla released it as a 7" single sometime in 1974, exclusively in Brazil. It was paired alongside the opener track for side one of Innervisions, "Too High".[6]

A pop ballad,[1] "All in Love Is Fair" was compared to the works of Johnny Mathis by Lenny Kaye of Rolling Stone and the editors at Playboy.[7] Additionally, Lawrence Gabriel, author of MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, described the track as a "classic" pop song.[8] It is written in the key of D minor with Wonder's vocals ranging from C4 to A5; it is additionally accompanied by the instrumentation of a piano and a guitar.[9] The lyrics of the composition describe a couple that is nearing the end of their relationship; Wonder purposely uses "cliché lines" to get his point across and to prove the clichés true.[3] Janine McAdams from Billboard found "dramatic intensity" within the lyrics, "I should have never left your side / The writer takes his pen / To write the words again / That all in love is fair".[10] Author Herb Jordan included the track's lyrics in his book Motown in Love: Lyrics from the Golden Era; they were placed under the section for songs in which the lyrics detail "lessons of love".[11]

Reception and further promotion[edit]

Cleo Laine appearing live in concert in 2007.
Cleo Laine recorded a cover of "All in Love Is Fair" in 1974.

AllMusic's Matthew Greenwald found "All in Love Is Fair" to be among Wonder's "finest ballad statements", which contained "one of the most graceful and memorable hooks from the era".[2] Brian Ives of radio.com described it as a "beautiful and sad piano ballad" that he thought could have come from the Broadway stage.[12] Robert Christgau disliked Wonder's balladry singing in "All in Love Is Fair", and considered his performance to be "immature".[3] In contrast, author James E. Perone wrote that there was "no better example" of a "pure, autobiographical-sounding vocal showpiece for Stevie Wonder".[3]

After its initial release in 1973, Wonder placed "All in Love Is Fair" on several of his later albums. It was included on the Motown compilation Baddest Love Jams, Vol. 2: Fire & Desire in 1995.[13] Wonder's fourth box set, At the Close of a Century (1999), also featured the song.[14] In that same year it was featured on Ballad Collection,[15] and in 2005 it was selected for inclusion on The Complete Stevie Wonder.[16]

Cover versions[edit]

Track listing[edit]

Brazil 7" single[6]
No. Title Length
1. "All in Love Is Fair" 3:41
2. "Too High" 4:36
Total length: 8:27

Personnel[edit]

  • Stevie Wonder – lead vocal, piano, Fender Rhodes, drums
  • Scott Edwards – electric bass[22]

Barbra Streisand version[edit]

"All in Love Is Fair"
A red-orange vinyl record of the single appears
Single by Barbra Streisand
from the album The Way We Were
B-side Medley: "My Buddy"/"How About Me"
Released March 1974
Format 7"
Recorded December 14, 1973; United Recorders
(Los Angeles, California)
Length 3:50
Label Columbia
Songwriter(s) Stevie Wonder
Producer(s) Tommy LiPuma
Barbra Streisand singles chronology
"The Way We Were"
(1973)
"All in Love Is Fair"
(1974)
"Guava Jelly"
(1974)
"The Way We Were"
(1973)
"All in Love Is Fair"
(1974)
"Guava Jelly"
(1974)

Background and recording[edit]

American vocalist Barbra Streisand recorded a version of "All in Love Is Fair" for her fifteenth studio album, The Way We Were (1974). Shortly following the commercial success of her previous single, "The Way We Were", Columbia Records began compiling tracks for the singer's then-upcoming fifteenth studio album (The Way We Were). Since time was limited, the majority of the tracks were taken from material recorded by Streisand as much as seven years previously.[23] According to the liner notes of her 1991 greatest hits album Just for the Record, the only tracks specifically created for the album were "All in Love Is Fair", "The Way We Were", "Being at War with Each Other", and "Something So Right".[24] "All in Love Is Fair" was recorded on December 14, 1973, at United Recorders Studios in Los Angeles.[25] It was released in March 1974 as a 7" single through Columbia Records,[26] and would later be paired alongside Streisand's previous single, "The Way We Were", on a 7" single released in 1975, also by Columbia, in the United States and Canada.[27][28]

Reception[edit]

The staff at Billboard described Streisand's cover as a "musical gem",[29] while author Allison J. Waldman enjoyed Streisand's personal take on it.[30] Greenwald from AllMusic liked the singer's cover and wrote of the song's hook, "Streisand's performance – particularly her phrasing of this line – is unforgettable".[2] Stephen Holden from Rolling Stone compared her rendition to Wonder's version and wrote that it was "almost as interesting as the original".[4]

Streisand's version of "All in Love Is Fair" achieved moderate commercial success in the United States and Canada. It debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 30, 1974, at number 82, becoming the week's "Hot Shot Debut", or the publication's highest entry position for that particular listing.[31] It climbed the chart for an additional three weeks before reaching its peak position on April 20 of the same year, at number 63.[32] The following week, Streisand's rendition dropped to number 75, after which it left the Hot 100.[33][34] On the Adult Contemporary chart, which was then titled the Easy Listening chart, "All in Love Is Fair" peaked at number 10.[35] On Canada's official chart, compiled by RPM, it debuted at number 99 for the week of April 6, 1974.[36] It soared twenty places the following week,[37] and two weeks later, on April 27, it reached its peak position at number 60.[38] It also lasted a total of five consecutive weeks in this country.[39]

Promotion[edit]

"All in Love Is Fair" has been included on numerous albums released by Streisand. Its first appearance after The Way We Were was on Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Volume 2 (1978).[40] She also included it on Just for the Record (1991) and The Essential Barbra Streisand (2002).[24] [41]

Charts[edit]

Chart (1974) Peak
position
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[38] 60
US Billboard Hot 100[42] 63
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[35] 10

Track listings and formats[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Anderson & Campbell 2011, p. 62
  2. ^ a b c d Greenwald, Matthew. "Barbra Streisand – All in Love Is Fair". AllMusic. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d Perone 2006, p. 53
  4. ^ a b "The Way We Were – Barbra Streisand: Columbia PC 32801". The Super Seventies. April 11, 1974. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  5. ^ Innervisions (Liner notes). Stevie Wonder. Tamla. 1973. T 326L. 
  6. ^ a b "All in Love Is Fair" / "Too High" (Liner notes). Stevie Wonder. Tapecar. 1974. CS-829. 
  7. ^ "Innversions – Stevie Wonder". The Super Seventies. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  8. ^ Graff 1996, p. 837
  9. ^ Wonder, Stevie (1974). "Stevie Wonder 'All in Love Is Fair' Digital Sheet Music". Musicnotes.com. Retrieved January 10, 2017. 
  10. ^ McAdams, Janine (May 13, 1995). "A Songbook in the Key of Life". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 107 (19): 30, 38. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  11. ^ Jordan 2006, p. 2
  12. ^ Ives, Brian (August 2, 2013). "Not Fade Away: Stevie Wonder Innervisions". radio.com. Retrieved February 11, 2017. 
  13. ^ Baddest Love Jams, Vol. 2: Fire & Desire (Liner notes). Various artists. Motown. 1995. 530573. 
  14. ^ At the Close of a Century (Liner notes). Stevie Wonder. Motown. 1999. 1539922. 
  15. ^ Ballad Collection (Liner notes). Stevie Wonder. Motown. 1999. 1539282. 
  16. ^ The Complete Stevie Wonder (Liner notes). Stevie Wonder. Motown. 2005. B00006JSS8. 
  17. ^ Ankeny, Jason. "Nancy Wilson – All in Love Is Fair". AllMusic. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  18. ^ "All in Love Is Fair" / "All in Love Is Fair" (Liner notes). Cleo Laine (Promotional ed.). RCA. 1974. JH-10068. 
  19. ^ If She Walked Into My Life (Liner notes). Billy Eckstine. Enterprise. 1974. ENS-7503. 
  20. ^ "Dionne Warwick: Live in Cabaret July 18th 1975". Amazon.com (US). February 26, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  21. ^ This Is Brook Benton (Liner notes). Brook Benton. All Platinum. 1976. AP-3015. 
  22. ^ Innervisions, 1973, album cover and CD booklet
  23. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Barbra Streisand – The Way We Were". AllMusic. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Just for the Record (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand. Columbia. 1991. C4K-44111. 
  25. ^ The Way We Were (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (CD release ed.). Columbia. 1974. C4K 44111. 
  26. ^ Popoff 2010, p. 1136
  27. ^ "The Way We Were" / "All in Love Is Fair" (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (United States release ed.). Columbia. 1975. 13-33262. 
  28. ^ "The Way We Were" / "All in Love Is Fair" (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Canada release ed.). Columbia. 1975. 13-33262. 
  29. ^ "Billboard's Top Album Picks". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 86 (6): 61. February 9, 1974. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  30. ^ Waldman 2001, p. 54
  31. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of March 30, 1974". Billboard. March 30, 1974. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  32. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of April 20, 1974". Billboard. April 20, 1974. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  33. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of April 27, 1974". Billboard. April 27, 1974. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  34. ^ "The Hot 100 – The Week Of May 4, 1974". Billboard. May 4, 1974. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  35. ^ a b "Barbra Streisand – Chart history" Billboard Adult Contemporary for Barbra Streisand. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  36. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5000b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  37. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5006b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  38. ^ a b "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5024b." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  39. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5017b". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  40. ^ Barbra Streisand's Greatest Hits Volume 2 (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand. Columbia. 1978. FCA 35679. 
  41. ^ The Essential Barbra Streisand (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand. Columbia. 2002. C2K 86123. 
  42. ^ "Barbra Streisand – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Barbra Streisand. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  43. ^ "All in Love Is Fair" / "My Buddy"/"How About Me" (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand. Columbia. 1974. 4-46024. 
  44. ^ "All in Love Is Fair" / "All in Love Is Fair" (Liner notes). Barbra Streisand (Promotional ed.). Columbia. 1974. 4-46024. 

Works cited

  • Anderson, William M.; Campbell, Patricia Shehan (January 16, 2011). Multicultural Perspectives in Music Education, Volume 1 (third, illustrated ed.). R&L Education. ISBN 1607095416. 
  • Graff, Gary (1996). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0787610372. 
  • Jordan, Herb (2006). Motown in Love: Lyrics from the Golden Era. Pantheon. ISBN 0375422005. 
  • Perone, James E. (2006). The Sound of Stevie Wonder: His Words and Music (illustrated, annotated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 027598723X. 
  • Popoff, Martin (August 5, 2010). Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records: 1948-1991 (revised ed.). Krause Publications. ISBN 1440216215. 
  • Waldman, Allison J. (2001). The Barbra Streisand Scrapbook (illustrated, revised ed.). Citadel Press. ISBN 0806522186. 

External links[edit]