|Single by Nicolette Larson|
|from the album Nicolette|
|Nicolette Larson singles chronology|
|Song by Neil Young|
|from the album Comes a Time|
"Lotta Love" is a song written and recorded by Neil Young and released on his 1978 Comes a Time album. "Lotta Love" was also covered by Nicolette Larson in 1978. Larson's version reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and No. 8 on the Cash Box Top 100 in February 1979. It also hit No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart and was a hit in Australia (No. 11) and New Zealand (No. 22).
Claims of Linda Ronstadt
Linda Ronstadt, who had sung back-up for Young with Larson, has stated that it was at her [i.e. Ronstadt's] suggestion that Larson recorded "Lotta Love" and that Larson's producer thanked Ronstadt by having a top-of-the-line sound system installed in her Mercedes convertible.
Claims of Nicolette Larson
However, Larson's own recollection was that the suggestion she record "Lotta Love" originated with Neil Young, with whom she had formed a personal relationship while backing him vocally on American Stars 'n Bars. The publishers of Neil Young News quoted Larson as saying:
"I got that song off a tape I found lying on the floor of Neil's car. I popped it in the tape player and commented on what a great song it was. Neil said: 'You want it? It's yours.'"
Neil Young recorded "Lotta Love" for his Comes a Time album with backing from Crazy Horse. Larson provided background vocals for the album but did not sing on its "Lotta Love" track, a spare version which emphasized the song's melancholy.
Larson's version of "Lotta Love"—which featured a string arrangement by Jimmie Haskell (whose credits include work with Bobbie Gentry), plus a classic soft rock horn riff and a flute solo—presented the song as optimistic. Larson would recall: "It was a very positive song and people don't want to hear how bad the world is all the time. It had a nice sound rhythm and groove."
"Lotta Love" served as lead single for Larson's Ted Templeman-produced Nicolette album. Due to a delay in release, Comes a Time was released on the same day — in October, 1978 — as Nicolette. The release of a single from the Nicolette album was held off until October 31 when it was clear Young's version would not have a single release as an A-side (although Young's "Lotta Love" was released as the B-side of a non-charting "Comes a Time" single).
Much as extended dance versions of hits by the Doobie Brothers — who Templeman also produced — were released, a 12" single of Larson's "Lotta Love" was issued, with Jim Burgess performing remixing duties: this disco version differentiated from the album track and 7" single in its pure "four on the floor" disco drum track (replacing the radio version's "pop heartbeat" drum rhythm) and a sax solo on the bridge, replacing the 7" single's bridge flute solo which was shifted to an extended intro. The track did not heavily impact the club scene. Its meager length for a 12" single — at 4:20 barely a minute longer than the 7" — a likely deterrent. The B-side of the 7" single was "Angels Rejoiced" featuring a harmony vocal by Herb Pedersen while on its 12" single "Lotta Love" was backed by Larson's rendition of "You Send Me".
A live version of "Lotta Love" was included on the Live at the Roxy album consisting of Larson's December 20, 1978 concert at the Sunset Boulevard nightclub. The album was originally a limited issue (5000 copies) promo-only release. The first full release was on Rhino in 2006.
Larson also performed "Lotta Love" at the No Nukes concerts held at Madison Square Garden in September 1979. This version — with backing by the Doobie Brothers — was included on the No Nukes album. The performance was not included in the No Nukes film in which, however, Larson can be seen.
More recent versions
In February 1998, friends and associates of Nicolette Larson, who had died on December 16, 1997, mounted a tribute at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium which raised over $165,000 for the UCLA Children's Hospital. The two night engagement was billed as "The Lotta Love Concert" and opened with an ensemble performance of "Lotta Love" by Rosemary Butler, Valerie Carter, Carole King, and Bonnie Raitt. In December 2007, a "Lotta Love" memorial concert was held to mark the 10th anniversary of Larson's passing, and in December 2008, the Talking Stick in Venice CA hosted a "Lotta Love" memorial concert which featured a performance of "Lotta Love" by Rosemary Butler and Andrew Gold.
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