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"
Format7" single
GenreFolk rock
Writer(s)Stephen Stills
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"Love the One You're With"
Single by Stephen Stills
from the album Stephen Stills
B-side"To a Flame"
Format7" single
GenreFolk rock
Writer(s)Stephen Stills

"Love the One You're With" is a 1970 single by folk rocker Stephen Stills. The first release from his solo debut Stephen Stills, it peaked at No. 14 in the Billboard Hot 100.[1]

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.

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]


Isley Brothers version[edit]

"Love the One You're With"
Single by The Isley Brothers
from the album Givin' It Back
Format7" single
GenreSoul, rock
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.[2]


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"
Released20 August 1986
Format7" single, 12" single
GenrePop rock
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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[5] A promotional video for the song was filmed featuring the group performing the song in a blue-toned studio accompanied by backing musicians.[6] 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".[7] 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".[8] "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"
Released27 September 1995
GenrePop, adult contemporary
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.[9]


Chart (1995)Peak
UK Singles Chart31
U.S. Billboard Hot 10095
U.S. Billboard Hot Black Singles28
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks33

Other versions[edit]

A version was released by early 1980s UK pop trio Tight Fit in 1983, but failed to chart. It was their final single.

British singer Will Young recorded a version for his second album, Friday's Child.

In 2006, Dennis Rollins produced a further cover on the album Big Night Out!. The Chantoozies produced another cover, releasing it as a single from their second album Gild the Lily, becoming their biggest selling single.

Another notable cover of this tune is from the Danish act Ray Dee Ohh's second album from 1990 Too. This was a solid up-tempo, classic pop/rock version.

Other live versions include The Jackson 5, Jeff Martin, Hootie and the Blowfish and Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge. Crosby, Stills, & Nash also performed the song with James Taylor at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert.

Stills' daughter Jen Stills covered the song in 2010. The track was featured in an episode of the ABC drama, Brothers & Sisters.

It was also sampled by Canadian artist Classified on the track "Love the one you're with".

An additional version can be found on the 1972 Bob Seger Album Smokin' O.P.'s.

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.[12]

In 2010, the song was referenced in Nutty Professor II: The Klumps 8 minutes and 43 seconds in: "Yeah. I always say, if you can't be with the nucleotide that you love, cohere with the one you're with."[13]

Since 2005,[14] the Internet retailer Woot has alluded to the song in its advisories about buying its random grab bag, known as the "Bag of Crap," in various versions of this phrase: To paraphrase Stephen Stills, shalt thou not get the crap you want, want the crap you get.[15]

In the 2003 The Simpsons episode "Treehouse of Horror XIII" segment Send in the Clones, Marge is worried that the real Homer was the first over the cliff chasing donuts and the one still with her is a clone, until the clone Homer gives her a backrub and this song starts playing.


  1. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits: Eighth Edition. Record Research. p. 606. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 278. 
  3. ^ Chart Stats - Bucks Fizz - Love The One You're With
  4. ^ Number One, Single reviews, 26 August 1986
  5. ^ The Bucks Fizz Story, Glassbeach Media DVD. October 2010
  6. ^ Raffem. 1986 - Love the One You're With
  7. ^ Raffem. "Love the One You're With" single
  8. ^ "Love the One You're With" Special 12" edition
  9. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 597. 
  10. ^ Luther Vandross - Singles Chart
  11. ^ Vandross - UK Singles Chart history. Chart Archive
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ "Nutty Professor 2: The Klumps Script - transcript from the screenplay and/or Eddie Murphy movie". script-o-rama. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ Woot by Wootbot on July 18, 2005, at 12:00 am (July 18, 2005). "Random Crap". Woot. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 
  15. ^ Woot by Wootbot on May 15, 2009, at 5:03 pm (May 15, 2009). "Random Crap". Woot. Retrieved 2014-03-30. 

External links[edit]