Love the One You're With

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"Love the One You're With"
Single by Stephen Stills
from the album Stephen Stills
B-side"To a Flame"
ReleasedNovember 1970
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Stephen Stills
Producer(s)Stephen Stills
Stephen Stills singles chronology
"Season of the Witch"
"Love the One You're With"
"Sit Yourself Down"
Official audio
"Love the One You're With") on YouTube

"Love the One You're With" is a song by American folk rock musician Stephen Stills. It was released as the lead single from his debut self-titled studio album in November 1970. The song, inspired by a remark Stills heard from musician Billy Preston, became his biggest hit single, peaking at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1971.[1] David Crosby and Graham Nash, Stills' fellow members of Crosby, Stills & Nash, provide background vocals on the song. Also providing the backups are Rita Coolidge, her sister Priscilla Jones, and John Sebastian. They all sing the "Do Dos" that come before the instrumental portion and the Outro. The song was also recorded by the Isley Brothers, The Meters, Bucks Fizz, Luther Vandross, Bob Seger and Richard Clapton, among others.


Stills wrote the song after being inspired by the tag line — "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with" which was a frequent remark by musician Billy Preston. Stills explained in 1991: "This song has been very good to me. The title came from a party with Billy Preston. I asked him if I could pinch this line he had, and he said, 'Sure.' So I took the phrase and wrote a song around it. It's a good times song, just a bit of fun. My favorite part is the steel drums. I played them before a little bit but I just kept diddling around till I found the right notes."[2]


Cash Box said that Stills' "unique melodic work, the harmonies and a booming rhythm track make this a bright attraction for top forty as well as FM playlists."[3] Record World said that "Stills shines with the help of some fine background singers and his vocal style is exemplary, as usual. The song's universal message is put across with a bright, yet driving, delivery."[4]



Isley Brothers version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by the Isley Brothers
B-side"He's Got Your Love"
Songwriter(s)Stephen Stills
Producer(s)The Isley Brothers

Several acts have since recorded the song, most notably, in 1971, the Isley Brothers, whose unique gospel-driven rendering of the song sent it to the charts again reaching number three R&B and number 18 pop, giving the group their fifth US top 40 pop single.[17] It also reached number 10 US Cash Box. On the Canadian charts, their version reached No. 41.[18]

Bucks Fizz version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by Bucks Fizz
B-side"Too Hard"
ReleasedAugust 20, 1986
Songwriter(s)Stephen Stills
Bucks Fizz singles chronology
"New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)" "Love the One You're With"

UK pop group Bucks Fizz recorded the song for their eighteenth single in 1986. The single, released in August, was the follow-up to the group's comeback top ten hit "New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)" and was seen as a make or break release. Ultimately the song peaked at a low No.47 in the UK Singles Chart during a three-week run.[19] In a review, music magazine Number One said that the song lacked bass and sounded rather "tinny" but predicted that it would be a hit.[20] Member Mike Nolan puts the song's failure down to the decision to showcase other male member Bobby G as the lead singer. Their previous single had featured all the group equally and was a hit, while earlier flops had featured G on lead and this was a return to that format.[21] A promotional video for the song was filmed featuring the group performing the song in a blue-toned studio accompanied by backing musicians.[22] The single was released on 7" and 12" on Polydor Records with an extended mix on the latter, the B-side was a Bobby G composition, "Too Hard".[23] Also included on the 12" was an extended mix of earlier single "I Hear Talk". A second 12" single was released featuring a dance edit of "Love the One You're With", backed by another alternate mix of "I Hear Talk".[24]

Chantoozies version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by Chantoozies
from the album Gild the Lily
ReleasedFebruary 1991
Songwriter(s)Stephen Stills

Australian group Chantoozies released a version in February 1991. The song was the second single from the group's second studio album, Gild the Lily. The song peaked at number 21 on the Australian charts.[25]


Chart (1991) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[26] 21

Luther Vandross version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by Luther Vandross
from the album Songs
ReleasedNovember 14, 1994 (1994-11-14)[27]
Songwriter(s)Stephen Stills
Producer(s)Walter Afanasieff
Luther Vandross singles chronology
"Always and Forever"
"Love the One You're With"
"Going in Circles"

American singer Luther Vandross released a version of the song on his ninth album, Songs (1994). It peaked within the top 30 of the US Billboard Hot R&B Singles chart, reached number 33 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, and earned Vandross a 1995 Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[28]

Critical reception[edit]

M.R. Martinez from Cash Box described "Love the One You’re With" as "an optimistic celebration of love and music as Vandross is backed by an all-star choir that includes Lisa Fischer, Tawatha Gee, Jim Gilstrap and others."[29] Fell and Rufer from the Gavin Report wrote, "This 25-year-old Stephen Stills song was urbanized before by the Isley Brothers, but Luther turns it into a gospel hoot complete with the original Hammond organ effects from Stills' take. This is the song that garnered Vandross a Grammy nomination even before it was released as a single."[30] Dennis Hunt from Los Angeles Times felt Vandross "gives a leaden feel to the normally joyous "Love the One You're With", undercutting a breezy, gospel-style arrangement."[31] Pan-European magazine Music & Media commented, "Hailed the King of silky ballads, Luther also knows how to speed it up. In a New Orleans way, and challenged by a gospel group, this [...] cover shows him at his toughest."[32]


Chart (1994–1995) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[33] 56
Canada Top Singles (RPM)[34] 40
Scotland (OCC)[35] 41
UK Singles (OCC)[36] 31
US Billboard Hot 100[37] 95

Other notable versions[edit]

In culture[edit]

In 2012, the song was featured in Ridley Scott's sci-fi movie Prometheus. Idris Elba, playing Janek, sings a short phrase from the song after claiming his squeezebox once belonged to Stephen Stills.[40]


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 606.
  2. ^ "CSN Box Set Tracklist". Archived from the original on June 20, 2017. Retrieved January 25, 2021.
  3. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. December 5, 1970. p. 26. Retrieved December 9, 2021.
  4. ^ "Picks of the Week" (PDF). Record World. December 12, 1970. p. 1. Retrieved April 23, 2023.
  5. ^ "RPM Top Singles Chart" (PDF). RPM. RPM archives. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. January 30, 1971. OCLC 352936026. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  6. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". February 6, 1971. Retrieved January 4, 2022.
  7. ^ "Stephen Stills – Love the One You're With" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  8. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Stephen Stills" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  9. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "Stephen Stills Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "Stephen Stills Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  12. ^ "Cash Box Magazine: Music and coin machine magazine 1942 to 1996". Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  13. ^ "Record World Magazine: 1942 to 1982". Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  14. ^ "Go-Set Australian charts - 23 May 1970". Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  15. ^ Timo (August 12, 2015). "Sisältää hitin: Levyt ja esittäjät Suomen musiikkilistoilla vuodesta 1960: Artistit STEP – SUE". Sisältää hitin. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  16. ^ "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". July 17, 2013.
  17. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 278.
  18. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - August 21, 1971" (PDF).
  19. ^ Chart Stats - Bucks Fizz - Love The One You're With
  20. ^ Number One, Single reviews, August 26, 1986
  21. ^ The Bucks Fizz Story, Glassbeach Media DVD. October 2010.
  22. ^ Raffem. 1986 - Love the One You're With
  23. ^ Raffem. "Love the One You're With" single
  24. ^ "Love the One You're With" Special 12" edition
  25. ^ " > Chantoozies in Australian Charts". Hung Medien. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  26. ^ "Chantoozies – Love the One You're With". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 3 December 2017.
  27. ^ "Single Releases". Music Week. November 12, 1994. p. 23.
  28. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 597.
  29. ^ Martinez, M.R. (October 8, 1994). "Urban — Reviews: Pick of the Week" (PDF). Cash Box. Retrieved March 6, 2022.
  30. ^ Fell, Ron; Rufer, Diane (March 10, 1995). "Gavin A/C: New Releases" (PDF). Gavin Report. p. 26. Retrieved January 20, 2023.
  31. ^ Hunt, Dennis (September 18, 1994). "Record Rack". Los Angeles Times.
  32. ^ "New Releases: Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. December 10, 1994. p. 9. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  33. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – Week Ending 12 Mar 1995". ARIA. Retrieved February 9, 2017 – via Imgur.
  34. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles". RPM. May 1, 1995 – via Library and Archives Canada.
  35. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100 27 November 1994 - 03 December 1994". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 16, 2021.
  36. ^ "Official Charts > Luther Vandross". The Official UK Charts Company. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  37. ^ Luther Vandross - Singles Chart
  38. ^ "". Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  39. ^ "RPM Top 100 Singles - August 27, 1988" (PDF).
  40. ^ Ives, Brian (June 11, 2012). "'Prometheus' Reveals Stephen Stills' 'Love The One You're With' Still A Hit In 2093". WCBS-FM. Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved September 22, 2013.

External links[edit]