The O'Jays

Love Train

Composed by Kenny Gamble / Leon Huff

Song Review by

A listen to the O'Jays' gold number one R&B/pop single "Love Train" makes you feel that the "why can't we all live together" phrase popularized by Rodney King could and would be a wonderful reality. Lead singer Eddie Levert's churchy exhortations come across as heartfelt. The O'Jays were suggested to Neptune Records owners/Philadelphia-based songwriting/production duo Gamble and Huff by the Intruders, who'd scored a million-selling number one R&B/number six pop hit with "Cowboys and Girls." Gamble and Huff weren't familiar with the O'Jays' sides for Imperial ("Lonely Drifter" and the George Kerr-produced Top Ten R&B Bell Records single "I'll Be Sweeter Tomorrow [Than I Was Today]"). They were impressed with them when they saw a concert in the group's native state of Ohio draw over 500 people, most of whom were white. This showed the duo that the group had huge "crossover" potential. The O'Jays' Neptune singles include the 1969 Top 15 R&B single "One Night Affair" (a 1972 number six R&B smash for Jerry Butler), "Deeper (In Love With You)," number 21 R&B, spring 1970, and "Looky Looky (Look at Me Girl)," which hit number 17 R&B, summer 1970. Neptune was distributed by Chicago-based Chess Records, and when owner Leonard Chess died, Neptune folded. A couple of years later, Gamble and Huff contacted the O'Jays in their hometown of Cleveland and asked if they wanted to sign with the new label Philadelphia International Records to be distributed by CBS Records. Still smarting from the Neptune folding and not being able to see their gold- and platinum-laced future, group members Walter Williams and William Powell were skeptical. At the same time, Eddie Levert's wife had just given birth to twins Sean and Gerald (who would later be two thirds of the group Levert). Eddie reminded his groupmates that Gamble Huff were the only ones calling about a record deal and finally convinced them to fly to Philadelphia to meet with the producers. Another group member, Bobby Massey, declined in favor of a writing-producing career. Written and produced by Gamble and Huff, the million-selling "Love Train" made two stops, parking at the number one R&B spot for four weeks and going to number one pop in early 1973. It was on the trio's gold LP Backstabbers, which also listed the number two R&B single "Time to Get Down," the Top 13 R&B hit "992 Arguments," and the million-selling number one R&B, number three pop single "Backstabbers." The rarely seen 1972 pre-MTV video clip of "Love Train" is both charming and heartwarming in its simplicity and touching because its features group member William Powell, who died of cancer on May 26, 1977. PIR labelmate Bunny Sigler's slow churchy cover of "Love Train" went to number 28 R&B during summer 1974.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Box Set Series 1972 Legacy / Legacy Recordings / Philadelphia International / Sony Music Entertainment 2:57
The O'Jays Live in London 1974 Epic/Legacy 6:41
Collectors' Items 1977 Philadelphia International/EMI 2:58
Greatest Hits [Philadelphia Intl.] 1984 Sony Music Distribution 2:58
Freedom Rock 1987
Various Artists
Sessions Records
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Rhino
Billboard Top Rock & Roll Hits: 1973 1989
Various Artists
Rhino 2:59
Sounds of the Seventies: 1973 1990
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:01
Soul Hits of the 70s: Didn't It Blow Your Mind!, Vol. 12 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 3:01
AM Gold: The Early '70s 1992
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:58
Disco Fever [Dominion] 1993
Various Artists
Dominion 2:57
Club Epic, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Epic / Sony Music Distribution 6:14
Love Train: The Best of the O'Jays 1994 Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1994
Various Artists
Castle Music Ltd.
Soul Train: Hall of Fame, 20th Anniversary 1994
Various Artists
Rhino 3:01
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Priority Records
Mighty Real Dance Classics 1995
Various Artists
Capitol 2:56
Boyz Who Souled the World 1995
Various Artists
The Hit Label
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Risky Business 2:59
Nightfever 1995
Various Artists
Global TV
Love, Peace and Understanding 1995
Various Artists
Soul Classics 2:32
Dead Presidents 1995
Original Soundtrack
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol 2:58
The Promised Land [Columbia] 1995
Original TV Soundtrack
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 3:00
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:58
Mega Hits, Vol. 3: Disco Heat 1996
Various Artists
Priority Records
Only Soul 1970-1974 1996
Various Artists
Rhino / Essex 3:02
Flick Hits: Old School Tracks 1996
Original Soundtrack
2:58
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:57
Postcard From Philly 1997
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:58
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
The Philly Sound: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and the Story of Brotherly Love (1966-1976) 1997
Various Artists
Epic/Legacy 2:58
WCBS FM 101.1 25th Anniversary, Vol. 3: The 70's - Silver Anniversary Edition 1997
Various Artists
Collectables 2:57
No Image 1997
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:01
Super Hits 1998 Sony Music Distribution
Disco Super Hits 1998
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 6:14
The Very Best of the O'Jays [1998] 1998 Sony Music 6:16
Last Days of Disco 1998
Original Soundtrack
Sbme Special Mkts. 3:00
Have a Nice Decade: The 70s Pop Culture Box 1998
Various Artists
Rhino 2:58
70's Funk & Soul Classics 1998
Various Artists
Repertoire 2:58
All Time Greatest Movie Songs [UK] 1998
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:52
Solid Gold Soul: Classic Soul 1998
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Time/Life Music 3:01
Banana Republic: Soul 1998
Various Artists
Polygram 2:57
The Best of Old School 1999 American Recordings / A M W Music
Soundtracks of Love: Hooked on a Feeling 1999
Various Artists
Unison 2:54
Party with Pride 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 2:46
Best of the Best: 70's Rhythm & Blues, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Primary Colors 2:56
Sony Music 100 Years: Soundtrack for a Century 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:00
20th Century Disco 1999
Various Artists
Insight (3)
Legends of Music: Soul of the 70s, Vol. 2 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Legends of Music Collection 3:00
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1973 2000
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:01
Soul Grooves [Platinum Disc #1] 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:58
Disco Freakout 2001
Various Artists
WEA International 2:53
Back to Black: 1900-1999 2001
Various Artists
Universal International 2:57
Instant Party: Whole Lotta Soul 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:58
The Ultimate O'Jays 2001 Legacy / Columbia/Legacy 2:57
Real Disco 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:56
No Image 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:58
Dick Clark's #1's: 50's to 70's "When AM Radio Was King" 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:58
Say It Loud! A Celebration of Black Music in America [Box Set] 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 3:01
Say It Loud! A Celebration of Black Music in America 2001
Original TV Soundtrack
Rhino 3:01
Entertainment Weekly: The Greatest Hits 1970-1974 2001
Various Artists
Buddha Records 3:01
Can You Dig It? The '70s Soul Experience 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 2:59
The Sound of Philadelphia [Movie Play] 2001
Various Artists
Double Platinum 2:55
Soul Grooves [Platinum Disc 2 CD] 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:58
When the World's at Peace 2002 Collectables 2:58
Undercover Brother 2002
Original Soundtrack
Hollywood 2:59
Soul Hits of the '70s [Sony Box Set] 2002
Various Artists
Immediate 3:01
Platinum Soul Legends 2002
Various Artists
Warner Music
Top Hits of the Seventies: Chart Toppers 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 3:00
Best of Soul Let's Get It On 2003
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:59
Sex Cells 2003
Various Artists
Rajon Entertainment Pty Ltd.
Anthology 2003 The Right Stuff 3:00
Disco Nights, Vol. 6 [Zyx] 2003
Various Artists
Unidisc
The Sounds of Philadelphia [Double Platinum] 2003
Various Artists
Double Platinum 2:55
WCBS FM: Motown, Soul and Rock N Roll: Motown 2003
Various Artists
Collectables 3:01
'70s Soul Music for Dummies 2003
Various Artists
Superb Records 2:59
70s Groove 2003
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 2:57
Pottery Barn: On The Radio 2003
Various Artists
Rock River Records
Superstars of Seventies Soul 2004
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / Sony Music Distribution 5:25
No Image 2004
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
The Collection [Madacy] 2004 Madacy 2:59
Super 70's, Vol 2: The Return 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:56
Funk Soul Anthems 2005
Various Artists
BMG 2:59
Message in Our Music: The Best of the O'Jays 2005 Music Club International Records 4:32
The Essential O'Jays 2005 Legacy / SMG 2:58
Mega Disco Collection 2005
Various Artists
BR Music 2:57
Smooth Summer Soul 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:57
R&B Classics: Show & Tell 2005
Various Artists
BCI Music (Brentwood Communication) 2:58
Greetings from Philly 2005
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:00
Rock On: Breakout Years 2005 Madacy 2:59
Ultimate Seventies 2005
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Love Fever/Let Me Touch You 2006 Edsel 4:32
Love Train: The Best of the O'Jays [2-CD] 2006 Music Deluxe (UK) / Demon Deluxe / Music Club Records 4:32
Ultimate Soul Collection [Sony] 2006
Various Artists
Sony CMG / Sony Music 2:59
Collections 2006 BMG / Sony BMG 2:57
Billboard #1s: The '70s 2006
Various Artists
Rhino 3:01
Barry Williams Presents: 70s Music Explosion 2006
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:01
My Girl: R&B Love Songs 2006
Various Artists
Compass Productions
Best of the O'Jays [Mastercuts] 2007 MTG Productions
Pride [Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Lionsgate 2:59
Absolute Soul Weekender 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:56
Disco Fever, Vol. 1-4 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:58
100 Hits: Disco 2007
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:55
Absolute 70s Legends 2007
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:56
Dick Clark's American Bandstand 50th Anniversary 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:02
Top of the Pops 1973 2007
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:59
No Image 2007
Various Artists
Sbme Special Mkts. / Sony Music
Dick Clark's American Bandstand, Vol. 6: Bandstand Boogie 2007
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 3:02
The Sound of Philadelphia: Gamble & Huff's Greatest Hits 2008
Various Artists
Legacy / Philadelphia International/EMI / Philadelphia/Legacy 2:59
Top of the Pops Collection [43 CD] 2008
Various Artists
EMI
Love Train: The Sound of Philadelphia 2008
Various Artists
Legacy / SMG 2:58
Playlist: The Very Best of the O'Jays 2008 Legacy 2:57
Ultimate 70s Collection [Collectables] 2008
Various Artists
Collectables 3:00
No Image 2008
Various Artists
PTG 2:53
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:57
The Pop Years: 1972-1973 2009
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:55
The Best Year of My Life: 1973 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music
Triple Feature 2009 Sony BMG / Custom Marketing Group 2:58
Sweet Soul of the '70s: The Sound of Philadelphia 2009
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
Essential: Summer Breeze 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:59
No Image 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment
The  Pop Years: The 70s 2010
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:55
School of "Rock 'n' Roll": 70s 2010
Various Artists
Collectables 3:00
The Best of Soul Train 2010
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
Sweet Soul of the '70s [Time Life] 2011
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
I Love Maman 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:58
Pure... Summer 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:57
No Image 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music Entertainment 2:56
Golden Gate Groove: The Sound of Philadelphia Live in San Francisco 1973 2012
Various Artists
Philadelphia International/Legacy 3:37
Philadelphia International Records: The 40th Anniversary Box Set 2012
Various Artists
Harmless 6:16
Original Album Classics, Vol. 1 2012 Legacy
We Love the Nightlife 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
Live in Concert 2012 Cleopatra 2:45
We Love the Nightlife: Shake Your Booty 2012
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
Forever Friends: Someone Special 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:00
World's Best Mum 2013 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 3:00
R&B Hit Box 2013
Various Artists
AAO Music / United Audio Entertainment 2:47
Pure... 70s 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:57
100 Hits: 70s Chartbusters 2013
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:59
The Greatest Ever! Love Songs 2014
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 2:55
It Had to Be You: The Ultimate Love Songs 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:59
300 Hits: Beach Party 2014
Various Artists
Bellevue Publishing / Wienerworld 2:48
Original Album Classics, Vol. 2 2014 Legacy 2:58
Sweet Soul Music: 1973 2014
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 3:00
Just for You 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:58
Top 40: '70s Pop 2014
Various Artists
Crimson
Philadelphia International Records: The Collection 2014
Various Artists
Legacy 2:58
The Box Set Series: '70s Soul 2014
Various Artists
Legacy / Legacy Recordings 2:58
Original Soul Classics 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:59
100 Hits: Disco Fever 2014
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:57
Soul: The O'Jays 2016 BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 2:58
'70s Summer Album 2016
Various Artists
Crimson 2:59
100 Hits: Party Anthems 2016
Various Artists
100 Hits / Demon Records / Edsel
The '70s Love Album 2017
Various Artists
Crimson
100 Essential Tracks: Disco Hits
Various Artists
Sony Music
100 Essential Tracks: Smooth Hits
Various Artists
Sony Music
100 Hits: Disco [2015]
Various Artists
100 Hits
100 Hits: Sensational
Various Artists
Sonoma 2:47
1973: A Time To Remember The Classic Years
Various Artists
Tabak 2:59
2004 Induction Concerts [DVD/CD]
Various Artists
13:59
30 Stars: 70s
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:58
Always & Forever
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:59
Believe [Charity]
Various Artists
Charity CDs 3:00
No Image
Various Artists
Capitol 2:58
Disco Greats [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:00
Forever Disco [Sonoma]
Various Artists
Sonoma Entertainment 2:47
Forever Friends: Always and Forever
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:58
Forever RNB
Various Artists
Sonoma 2:47
Forever Soul R&B [Sonoma]
Various Artists
Sonoma 2:47
Funk the Disco
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound
Jackie: The Annual 2010
Various Artists
EMI 2:56
No Image
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
Crimson 2:59
Now That's What I Call '70s
Various Artists
Now!
No Image
Various Artists
Now!
No Image
Various Artists
PolyGram
Pop Goes the 70s
Various Artists
StarVista / Time/Life Music 3:00
R&B Favorites [4 Disc]
Various Artists
Sonoma Entertainment 2:47
R&B Favorites [Sonoma]
Various Artists
Sonoma Entertainment 2:47
Soul Man
Various Artists
UMOD
No Image
Various Artists
Sony Music
The Greatest Ever... The 1970's
Various Artists
Bellevue 2:50
The Ultimate Collection: 70s Schooldays [2013]
Various Artists
Ultimate Collection 2:55
Ultimate Drive
Various Artists
Legacy
Ultimate... 70s
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:58
No Image
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
No Image
Various Artists
Time/Life Music 2:59
WCBS FM 101.1: The Anniversary Album - The 70s
Various Artists
Collectables 3:00
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