The O'Jays

Love Train

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
Collectors' Items 1977 Philadelphia International / EMI 2:58
Greatest Hits [Philadelphia Intl.] 1984 Sony Music Distribution 2:58
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!, Vols. 1-15 Sampler 1991
Various Artists
Rhino 2:59
AM Gold: The Early '70s 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:58
Club Epic, Vol. 3 1994
Various Artists
Epic / Sony Music Distribution 6:14
Love Train: The Best of the O'Jays 1994 Legacy / Epic 2:58
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
Three Degrees and Friends 1995 3:00
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
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 2:58
Sound of Philadelphia [1] 1995
Various Artists
Columbia / Sony Music Distribution 2:56
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 / JCI Associated Labels 2:59
Flick Hits: Old School Tracks 1996
Original Soundtrack
The Right Stuff / Capitol 2:58
No Image 1996
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 2:57
Postcard From Philly 1997
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 2:58
The Philly Sound: Kenny Gamble, Leon Huff and the Story of Brotherly Love (1966-1976) 1997
Various Artists
Legacy / Sony Music Distribution 7:00
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 Epic / Legacy 2:58
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
Work Group / Sony Music Distribution 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
No Image 1998
Various Artists
Razor & Tie 3:00
The Best of Old School 1999 American Recordings / A M W Music 2:59
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
Pop Music: The Golden Era 1951-1975 1999
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:00
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
Pottery Barn: Cool Grooves 2000
Various Artists
Rock River Records / Sony Music
Take Two 2001 Sony Music Distribution 3:00
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 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 3:00
The Sound of Philadelphia [Movie Play] 2001
Various Artists
Doubles (UK) 2:55
Soul Grooves [Platinum Disc 2 CD] 2001
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 2:58
When the World's at Peace 2002 Sony Music Distribution 2:58
Philly Super Soul Hits 2002
Various Artists
Epic / Legacy
Soul Hits of the '70s [Sony Box Set] 2002
Various Artists
Immediate 3:01
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
Anthology 2003 The Right Stuff 3:00
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
Superstars of Seventies Soul 2004
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / Sony Music Distribution 5:25
The Collection [Madacy] 2004 Madacy 2:59
The Essential O'Jays 2005 Legacy / Epic 2:57
Smooth Summer Soul 2005
Various Artists
Sony BMG 2:57
Absolutely the Best of the 70's, Vol. 2 2005
Various Artists
Fuel 2000 2:58
Greetings from Philly 2005
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:00
Love Fever/Let Me Touch You 2006 Edsel 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
Best of the O'Jays [Mastercuts] 2007 MTG Productions
Pride [Soundtrack] 2007
Original Soundtrack
Lionsgate 2:59
Get Ready, Here Come the '70s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory 2:58
Top of the Pops 1973 2007
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:59
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
Essential: Summer Breeze 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:59
The Pop Years: The 70s 2010
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 2:55
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
We Love the Nightlife 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:59
Sweet Soul Music: 1973 2014
Various Artists
Bear Family Records 3:00
The Box Set Series: '70s Soul 2014
Various Artists
Legacy / Legacy Recordings 2:58
Soul: The O'Jays 2016 BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment 2:58
100 Hits: The Best Disco Album 2018
Various Artists
100 Hits 2:59
100 Hits: The Best Seventies Album
Various Artists
100 Hits / DMG 2:58
70s U.S. Playlist
Various Artists
Crimson 2:59
No Image
Various Artists
Capitol 2:58
FTG Presents the Vaults, Vol. 5
Various Artists
Funky Town Grooves 6:17
Jackie: The Annual 2010
Various Artists
EMI 2:56
Mum Songs
Various Artists
Crimson 2:59
No Image
Various Artists
PolyGram
No Image
Various Artists
Allegro
The Classic 70s Collection [Sony]
Various Artists
Sony Music 2:57
The Greatest Ever... The 1970's
Various Artists
Bellevue 2:50
WCBS FM 101.1: The Anniversary Album - The 70s
Various Artists
Collectables 3:00