Friday, July 23, 2010

Neil Young: Lotta Love

Back in December 1978, I started working at WAMX in Ashland, Kentucky as a part-time announcer. Since I was already working in the market under my real name, I used the name Jay Andrews for the year-and-a-half brief tenure at this Eastern Kentucky powerhouse at 93.7 mHz. In that first month, one of the songs I remember playing quite frequently on the air was the smash hit by Nicolette Larson “Lotta Love.”

Few people at that time released that this song was penned by Neil Young and both his and her renditions of the tune were released by Warner Brothers on the same day in November 1978. Neil’s “Comes a Time” album was issued on the Warners subsidiary Reprise. Although there is not a studio version from that album available on YouTube, here is a live interpretation performed by Neil in the same spirit.

Nicolette Larson Version

The connection between Larson and Neil Young began when Nicolette sang back-up on Young’s “Stars ‘N Bars” album. While driving Larson home following a session, Neil popped in a demo cassette of “Lotta Love” and told her that if she wanted to record the song it was hers to do. She did.

Although the LP “Nicolette” was released the same day as Young’s LP, Warners held back on the single release until they were sure that Young was not going to release "Lotta Love" himself as a single. The label did not want to have two artists competing over the same song. When satisfied that Young was not going to release a “Lotta Love” single, Nicolette’s version was released and topped the Hot 100 at #8 in February 1979. The song was produced by Doobie Brother’s producer, Ted Templeton.

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