A number two U.K. hit and Roxy Music's long-awaited U.S. breakthrough -- it reached number 30 in early 1976 -- "Love Is the Drug" followed in the footsteps of David Bowie's "Fame" by utterly Americanizing what had hitherto been a stubbornly British phenomenon. The difference was whereas Bowie needed to completely dismantle his own sound and attitude, Roxy simply strengthened theirs, creating a dramatic art funk fusion from ingredients that had been littering their arsenal for years.
Pulsating on an unselfconsciously visceral bass line, "Love Is the Drug" is, nevertheless, as far from the R&B basics of true funk as it is possible to stray without descending into a dance-free zone. Rather, it predicts the Teutonic rhythms which Bowie, again, would himself be employing on his own next album, Station to Station, and which would fuel much of the post-punk electro-funk of the late '70s.
Indeed, peel away the radio-pleasing buoyancy which is the song's immediate calling card and "Love Is the Drug" is as grimly unrelenting as any past Roxy attack -- as taut as it is tight, as sordid as it is sensual. Simple Minds, Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., and the Human League can all trace at least a soupçon of their future funkiness to "Love Is the Drug," as can Roxy themselves. Regrouping following a three-year layoff, the group's Manifesto album was cut firmly from the same soul as "Love Is the Drug" and its own follow-up single, "Both Ends Burning."
A "Love Is the Drug" remix made number 33 in Britain during 1996.