Roberta Flack / Donny Hathaway

Where Is the Love?

Composed by Ralph MacDonald / William Salter

Song Review by

Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway were classmates at Washington, D.C.'s Howard University. The two began recording as a duet with favorable comparisons mentioning Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell. One of their first hits was a Top Ten R&B/Top 30 pop cover of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend," originally on King's Tapestry LP and also a hit for James Taylor. Percussionist Ralph McDonald and William Salter, two Howard alumni, co-wrote a song titled "Where Is the Love" with the 5th Dimension in mind after hearing the number seven pop hit of Jimmy Webb's, "Up, Up and Away." The two were unsuccessful in trying to get the song to the group. Flack and Hathaway needed one more song for their first album. McDonald suggested "Where Is the Love." The session for the song listed McDonald, guitarist Eric Gale, bassist Chuck Rainey, drummer Bernard Purdie, vibist Jack Jennings, Flack on piano, and Hathaway on electric piano. Produced by Arif Mardin and Joel Dorn, the million-selling "Where Is the Love" went to number one R&B and number five pop in the summer of 1972. The Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway album went gold, going to number two R&B for five weeks and number three pop; besides "You've Got a Friend," the album also included their Top 30 R&B cover of the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'." "Where Is the Love" has been covered by Sergio Mendes and Brazil '77, Ralph McDonald, Jesse & Trina, and rapper Nate Dogg used as it as the basis for his number 33 pop hit "Never Leave Me Alone." The most successful cover was a duet between Stephanie Mills and Robert Brookins that went to number 18 R&B in late 1988.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
The Best of Donny Hathaway 1978 Atlantic
A Donny Hathaway Collection 1990 Atlantic 2:43
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974 [Box] 1991
Various Artists
Atlantic 2:46
Softly with These Songs: The Best of Roberta Flack 1993 Atlantic 2:44
Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Vol. 8: 1970-1974 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:46
Atlantic R&B Box Set 2006
Various Artists
WEA International 2:46
blue highlight denotes editor's pick