Billboard #1 Hits: #291: ” Love Train”- The O’Jays. March 24, 1973. #1 for 1 week in Billboard Hot 100.
- Single: “Love Train”- The O’Jays
- Record Company- Philadelphia International
- Genre: R&B, Soul
- Written by Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff
- Time: 2:50
- B-side:”Who Am I”
- Album-Back Stabbers
- Grade: A
- Peaked at #1 1 week in Billboard Hot 100. #9 in UK Singles Chart.
“Love Train” was the only #1 hit by The O’Jays [ my favorite O’Jay’s song “Back Stabbers” peaked at #3. Even though this song has been played to death over the years in commercials- I still enjoy hearing this song. It was used often also on the Arsenio Hall show- it being his favorite song.
The lyrics make a call for unity and world peace, mentioning England, Russia, China, Egypt, Israel, and Africa. “Love Train was the first of our big message songs,” O’Jays singer Walter Williams told The Guardian. 1972 was explosive – Vietnam was rumbling on, the rich were getting richer – so it was the perfect time to sing about social issues. The song mentioned places that were having human rights problems, but in a positive, hopeful way: “The first stop we make will be England… tell all the folks in Russia and China too.”
According to Eddie Levert of the O’Jays, when they started working on this song, it didn’t have lyrics. Kenny Gamble wrote them on the spot in about five minutes. “By the time we started laying down the vocals, we knew we had a hit,” he told The Guardian. “Love Train felt like destiny. It had such perfect, timeless lyrics that it was almost as if they’d come from God, and we had to deliver them to the people.”