Love the One You're With

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Love the One You're With"
Single by Stephen Stills
from the album Stephen Stills
B-side "To a Flame"
Released November 1970
Format 7" single
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:03
Label Atlantic
Writer(s) Stephen Stills
  • Stephen Stills
  • Bill Halverson
Stephen Stills singles chronology
"Love the One You're With"
"Sit Yourself Down"

"Love the One You're With" is a song by folk rocker 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 number 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. The song was also covered by a number of artists, including The Isley Brothers, Bucks Fizz, and Luther Vandross.


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 asked him for permission to use the line in a song and Preston agreed immediately.[citation needed] Of course Preston, himself, may have taken the idea from Harburg and Lane’s “When I’m Not Near the Girl I Love, I Love the Girl I’m Near”, from the 1947 Broadway show Finian’s Rainbow; it was sung by Tommy Steele in the 1968 film version. A more likely source is 1965 Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello film "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini". Frankie tells Annette "if you can't be with the girl you want then be with the girl you're with". Especially considering that Preston was in and around L.A. at this time and surely had seen the movie.

A live version by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young appears on their album 4 Way Street. A solo version by Stills appears on the Crosby, Stills and Nash CD Demos.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1970–71) Peak
Canada 100 (RPM)[2] 6
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[3] 9
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[4] 37
US Easy Listening (Billboard)[5] 32
US Hot 100 (Billboard)[6] 14


Isley Brothers version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by The Isley Brothers
from the album Givin' It Back
Released 1971
Format 7" single
Genre Soul, rock
Length 3:39
Label T-Neck/Buddah
Writer(s) Stephen Stills
Producer(s) The Isley Brothers
The Isley Brothers singles chronology
"Love the One You're With"
"Spill the Wine"

Several acts have since covered the song. The most notable cover came in 1971 from The Isley Brothers, whose unique gospel-driven cover of the song sent it to the charts again reaching number three R&B and number eighteen pop, giving the group their fifth US top 40 pop single.[7]


Bucks Fizz version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by Bucks Fizz
from the album Writing on the Wall
B-side "Too Hard"
Released 20 August 1986
Format 7" single, 12" single
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:19
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Stephen Stills
Producer(s) Andy Hill
Bucks Fizz singles chronology
"New Beginning (Mamba Seyra)"
"Love the One You're With"
"Keep Each Other Warm"

UK pop group Bucks Fizz covered the song as 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.[8] 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.[9] 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.[10] A promotional video for the song was filmed featuring the group performing the song in a blue-toned studio accompanied by backing musicians.[11] 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".[12] 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".[13] "Love the One You're With" was included on the group's fifth studio album Writing on the Wall released at the end of the year. It has subsequently been included on re-issues of the album in alternate mixes.

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "Love the One You're With" (Stephen Stills) 3.19
  2. "Too Hard" (Bobby G / Ian Bairnson) 3.56
12" Single
  1. "Love the One You're With (Stills) 7.52
  2. "I Hear Talk" (Rmixed extended version) (Andy Hill / Peter Sinfield) 4.35
  3. "Too Hard" (G / Bairnson) 3.56

Luther Vandross version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by Luther Vandross
from the album Songs
B-side "Going in Circles"
Released 27 September 1995
Genre Pop, adult contemporary
Length 5:03
Label Epic
Writer(s) Stephen Stills
Producer(s) Walter Afanasieff
Luther Vandross singles chronology
"Always and Forever"
"Love the One You're With"/"Going in Circles
"Every Year, Every Christmas"

Luther Vandross released a memorable cover of the song on his 1994 album Songs. It peaked in the top 30 on Billboard's Hot R&B Singles, 33 on Billboard's Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks; and earned Vandross a 1995 Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.[14]


Chart (1995) Peak
UK Singles Chart 31
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 95
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles 28
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 33

Other versions[edit]

In culture[edit]

In 2012, the song was featured in Ridley Scott's sci-fi movie Prometheus. Idris Elba sings a short phrase from the song after describing a possibly fictional account of how his squeezebox used to belong to Stills.[17]

Australian alternative rock band TISM's 2004 album The White Albun featured a song titled "Diffident Strokes" which includes the lines "Love the one you're with, / and if you can't love the one you're with, go fuck yourself."


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 606. 
  2. ^ "RPM Top Singles Chart" (PDF). RPM. RPM archives. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. January 30, 1971. OCLC 352936026. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  3. ^ " – Stephen Stills – Love the One You're With" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  4. ^ "Archive Chart: 1971-03-07" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
  5. ^ "Stephen Stills Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ "Stephen Stills Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved September 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 278. 
  8. ^ Chart Stats - Bucks Fizz - Love The One You're With[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Number One, Single reviews, 26 August 1986
  10. ^ The Bucks Fizz Story, Glassbeach Media DVD. October 2010
  11. ^ Raffem. 1986 - Love the One You're With
  12. ^ Raffem. "Love the One You're With" single
  13. ^ "Love the One You're With" Special 12" edition
  14. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 597. 
  15. ^ Luther Vandross - Singles Chart
  16. ^ [dead link] Vandross - UK Singles Chart history. Chart Archive
  17. ^ Ives, Brian (11 June 2012). "'Prometheus' Reveals Stephen Stills' 'Love The One You're With' Still A Hit In 2093". WCBS-FM. Retrieved 2013-09-22. 

External links[edit]