Elton John

Love Song

Composed by Lesley Duncan

Song Review by

Unlike a majority of Elton John tracks, “Love Song” is not an original John/Bernie Taupin collaboration. Fellow British singer/songwriter Leslie Duncan not only penned this affective and heartfelt track, she also accompanies John on acoustic guitar and co-lead vocal. This cut is one of the many highlights included on his third studio LP Tumbleweed Connection (1971) . The favour was returned in short order as the pianist lends his name and talents to Duncan’s version featured on her debut long player Sing Children Sing (1971). While both have considerable merit, it is without a doubt that more exposure was given to John’s reading as a ‘turntable hit’ on burgeoning FM album rock stations in the States. “Love Song” also garnered significant airplay on the other side of the Atlantic thanks to U.K. pirate radio stations as well as the BBC’s own Radio One. Both lyrically and melodically, as the title suggests, “Love Song” is a sweet and fairly straightforward emotionally charged ballad. Duncan’s metaphoric comparisons of love as “an opening door” and “a key we must turn” suggest the innocence, if not the naivety of a hope-filled romantic commitment. The subtle infusion of sound effects aurally depicting children at play during the final chorus significantly enhances the youthful spirit of the tender lyrics. Duncan joined John on stage at the Royal Festival Hall for a brilliant rendition during a 1974 Royal command performance. This version is prominently featured on John’s highly recommended Here And There (1976) live set. There are several other renderings available. Among them are readings from the studio all-star band Punch who included the track on their self-titled debut. Additionally, alternative rockers Orphan Moon reworked “Love Song” for Have a Little Faith (1997). Elton John’s Uni Records label mate, Olivia Newton-John, covered the tune on her If Not For You (1971) LP -- which also includes a second Leslie Duncan composition “Lullaby”. A jazzy overhaul from Lani Hall -- who is perhaps best known as the voice of Sergio Mendes' Brasil '66 -- can be found on the Berlin: Sound of the City, Vol. 3 (1999) compilation.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Tumbleweed Connection 1970 Rocket Group Pty LTD 3:41
Chronicles 2005 Island 3:39
5 Classic Albums (1970-1973) 2012 Island / Mercury 3:41