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"Love Hurts" is a song written and composed by the American songwriter Boudleaux Bryant. First recorded by The Everly Brothers in July 1960, the song is also well known from a 1975 international hit version by the Scottish hard rock band Nazareth and in the UK by a top five hit in 1975 by the English singer Jim Capaldi.

"Love Hurts"
Song by The Everly Brothers
from the album A Date with The Everly Brothers
Released 1961
Recorded July 1960
Genre Country
Length 2:22
Label Warner Bros.
Songwriter(s) Boudleaux Bryant

The song was introduced in December 1960 as an album track on A Date with The Everly Brothers, but was never released as a single (A-side or B-side) by the Everlys. The first hit version of the song was by Roy Orbison, who earned Australian radio play, hitting the Top Five of that country's singles charts in 1961. A recording by Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons was included on Parsons' posthumously released Grievous Angel album. After Parsons' 1973 death, Harris made the song a staple of her repertoire, and has included it in her concert set lists from the 1970s to the present. Harris has since re-recorded the song twice.

The most successful recording of the song was by hard rock band Nazareth, who took the song to the U.S. Top 10 in 1975 and hit number one in Norway and the Netherlands. In the UK the most successful version of the song was by former Traffic member Jim Capaldi, who took it to number four in the charts in November 1975 during an 11-week run. The song was also covered by Cher in 1975 for her album Stars. Cher re-recorded the song in 1991 for her album of the same name. Rod Stewart recorded the song in 2006 for his album Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of Our Time which was No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.


Roy Orbison versionEdit

Roy Orbison covered "Love Hurts" in 1961 and issued it as the B-side to "Running Scared". While "Running Scared" was an international hit, the B-side only picked up significant airplay in Australia. Consequently, chart figures for Australia show "Running Scared"/"Love Hurts" as a double A-Side, both sides peaking at No. 5. This makes Orbison's recording of "Love Hurts" the first version to be a hit.

Chart (1961) Peak
Australia 5

Jim Capaldi versionEdit

"Love Hurts"
Single by Jim Capaldi
from the album Short Cut Draw Blood
B-side "Sugar Honey"
Released 1975 (1975)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1975
Genre Pop
Length 3:29
Label Island
Songwriter(s) Boudleaux Bryant
Producer(s) Steve Smith
Jim Capaldi singles chronology
"It's All Up to You"
"Love Hurts"
"Goodbye Love"
"It's All Up to You"
"Love Hurts"
"Goodbye Love"

Jim Capaldi reached number 4 in the UK charts with his interpretation of "Love Hurts" in November 1975, which was to prove his highest charting UK single.[1] Described by Rolling Stone as having "a sense of pain very different from Roy Orbison's."[2] the single also charted in the US,[3] Germany,[4] and Sweden.[5]

Chart (1975) Peak
Germany 42
Sweden 16
UK 4
U.S. 97

Nazareth versionEdit

"Love Hurts"
Single by Nazareth
from the album Hair of the Dog
B-side "Down" (non-U.S.)
"Hair of the Dog" (U.S.)
Released 1974 (1974)
Format 7-inch single
Recorded 1974
Length 3:53
3:03 (U.S. single)
Label Vertigo
Songwriter(s) Boudleaux Bryant
Producer(s) Manny Charlton
Nazareth singles chronology
"This Flight Tonight"
"Love Hurts"
"Shanghai'd in Shanghai"
"This Flight Tonight"
"Love Hurts"
"Shanghai'd in Shanghai"

Performed as a power ballad,[7] the Nazareth version was the most popular version of the song and the only rendition of "Love Hurts" to become a hit single in the United States, reaching No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1976. Billboard ranked it as the No. 23 song for 1976.[8] As part of the "Hot Tracks (EP)" it also reached No. 15 in the UK in 1977.[9] Nazareth's version was an international hit, peaking at No. 1 in Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa and Norway, and remains the best-known recording of the song. The Nazareth single was so successful in Norway that it charted for 61 weeks on the Norwegian charts (VG-lista Top 10), including 14 weeks at No. 1, making it the top single of all time in that country.[10]

A later recording by Nazareth, featuring the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, peaked at No. 89 in Germany.

The lyrics of the song remained unchanged on all versions up until Nazareth's 1975 recording, where the original line "love is like a stove/it burns you when it's hot" was changed to "love is like a flame/it burns you when it's hot". The Nazareth track has been featured in the movies Dazed and Confused, Detroit Rock City, Together, Click, and Halloween, and season 3 of Gotham, among others. It was edited for use in a late-'90s Gatorade TV commercial. Other companies to have used the song in advertising include Southwest Airlines, Molson, Nissan (for the Altima), Zurich (worldwide 'True Love' advertising), and Toyota in Australia.

Cher used this Nazareth version for her 1991 re-recording of the song for her album of the same name.


The Nazareth version was sung by Courtney Taylor-Taylor, lead singer of The Dandy Warhols, in "Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang", a second season episode of Veronica Mars.[11] A cover version of the Nazareth version was sung by Nan Vernon for the film Halloween II.

The song was sung similar to the Nazareth version in the "That '70s Musical" episode of That '70s Show. The Nazareth version of the song is also included in the soundtrack to the 2000 Swedish film Together and can be heard in several scenes.

Charts and certificationsEdit

Triumph versionEdit

"Love Hurts"
Single by Triumph
from the album Livin' for the Weekend: The Anthology
Released 2005
Recorded 1991
Genre Rock
Length 4:38
Label Castle
Songwriter(s) Boudleaux Bryant
  • Emmett
  • Levine
  • Moore
Triumph singles chronology
"Child of the City"
"Love Hurts"
"Child of the City"
"Love Hurts"

In 1991, Triumph created and covered their interpretation of "Love Hurts", but the track never surfaced until the release of Livin' for the Weekend: The Anthology in 2005, with a subsequent video single.[23]

Cher versionEdit

"Love Hurts"
Single by Cher
from the album Love Hurts
B-side "One Small Step"
Released 1991
Recorded 1991
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:07
Label Geffen
Songwriter(s) Boudleaux Bryant
Producer(s) Richie Zito
Cher singles chronology
"Save Up All Your Tears"
"Love Hurts"
"Could've Been You"
"Save Up All Your Tears"
"Love Hurts"
"Could've Been You"
Audio sample

Cher also recorded the song in 1975 but did not have a hit with it at the time. She recorded a second version in 1991 for the album of the same name. The single became a minor hit in the UK in December 1991.

Chart (1991) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[24] 43

Live performancesEdit

Cher performed the song on the following concert tours:

List of coversEdit

Artist Release date Album Notes
Roy Orbison March 1961 Crying (May 1962) B-side of "Running Scared"
Mark Wynter August 1964 A-side of the single Pye 7N 15686
The Liverbirds 1965 Star-Club Show 4 Recorded for their debut album.
The Who 1965-1967, 1989 Played occasionally in the band's early days and during the early part of their 1989 reunion tour.
Jimmy Webb 1972 Letters
Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris 1974 Parsons album Grievous Angel A live version by the duo, recorded in 1973 shortly before Parsons' death, was released in 1983 and received a Grammy Award nomination. Another live version and an alternate take recorded in 1973 were released in 2006 on The Complete Reprise Sessions.
Nazareth 1975 Hair of the Dog Performed as a rock ballad. This rendition reached No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1976. As part of the "Hot Tracks (EP)" it also reached No. 15 in the UK in 1977.[9]
Cher 1975 Stars Produced by Jimmy Webb
Jim Capaldi October 1975 Short Cut Draw Blood Reached number four in the UK chart[9] and charted worldwide.
Grupo Yndio 1976 Herida de Amor A cover done by a Mexican group
Jennifer Warnes 1977 "Debut Album "Jennifer Warnes"
Journey 1978 Unaired episode of the King Biscuit Flower Hour radio show featuring also Annie Sampson & Jo Baker of Stoneground.
Don McLean 1981 Believers
Elaine Paige 1985 Love Hurts
Nicolette Larson 1988 Shadows of Love
Joan Jett 1990 The Hit List Joan's version charted number 100 on Ukraine charts.
Bad Romance 1991 Code Of Honor
Cher 1991 Love Hurts Also released as a single in Europe.
Kim Carnes 1992 Soundtrack for Private Lessons II
Paul Young 1993 Best Ballads
Guided by Voices frontman Robert Pollard with Kim Deal of Pixies 1994 Soundtrack for Love and a .45
Heart 1995 The Road Home Live concert
Corey Hart 1996 Corey Hart
Pat Boone 1997 In a Metal Mood: No More Mr. Nice Guy Covers album.
Valery Kipelov 1997 Live concert with Sergey Mavrin
Emmylou Harris 1998 Spyboy A live album
Stina Nordenstam 1998 People Are Strange 33 second version
Little Milton and Lucinda Williams 1999 Welcome to Little Milton
Juice Newton 1999 American Girl
Deacon Blue 1999 Walking Back Home
Smokie 2000 Uncovered
Sally Jones 2001 Love Hurts bluegrass
That '70s Show cast 2002 That '70s Musical, an episode of That '70s Show
Sinéad O'Connor 2003 She Who Dwells Irish singer
Robin Gibb 2003 Magnet A modern R & B version which closes this solo album
J.C. Lodge 2004 Reggae Country 2 A reggae version of this classic
Keith Richards and Norah Jones 2005 Return to Sin City DVD tribute concert for Gram Parsons.
Éric Goulet under the name "Monsieur Mono" 2005 Pleurer la mer morte French version
Triumph 2005 Livin' for the Weekend: Anthology Triumph covered this back in 1991 however, the track has only recently surfaced on Livin' for the Weekend: Anthology
Bonnie Bramlett 2006 Roots, Blues, and Jazz
Rod Stewart 2006 Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of our Time
Paul Noonan from Bell X1 and Lisa Hannigan
Julienne Taylor 2008 "A Time For Love" Track #4 on her album "A Time For Love".
Jason Donovan 2008 "Let It Be Me"
Leo Sayer 2008 "Singles As & Bs" Used as the theme song to the UK film Wilt (film) in 1989.
Jenny Lewis 2009 Live on radio program World Café
Nan Vernon 2009 Halloween II: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Jim Guthrie 2010 Now, More Than Ever (Extended Edition)
Doug Howell 2010 Jimmy & Me – Song Descriptions from a Master Album featuring Jimmy Webb originals (and this song, inspired by Jimmy's recorded version, 1972)
Carrie Rodriguez 2010 We Still Love Our Country Carrie Rodriguez and Ben Kyle album
Jann Arden 2011 Uncover Me 2
Grandaddy 2017 Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle
Preceded by
"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" by Neil Sedaka
Canadian RPM number one single (Nazareth version)[25]
February 28, 1976
Succeeded by
"Squeeze Box" by The Who
Preceded by
"Willempie" by André van Duin
Dutch Top 40 number one single (Nazareth version)[26]
February 21 – March 20, 1976
Succeeded by
"The Alternative Way" by Anita Mayer


  1. ^ Jim Capaldi in the UK charts, The Official Charts. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  2. ^ Marsh, Dave (11 March 1976). "Album review". Archived from the original on April 30, 2009. Retrieved 2011-08-12.  , Rolling Stone.
  3. ^ Jim Capaldi in the Billboard charts, Allmusic. Retrieved August 11, 2011.
  4. ^ "Chartverfolgung / Jim Capaldi / Single". Music Line (in German). Germany: Media Control Charts. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  5. ^ "Love Hurts" in the Swedish charts, Retrieved August 12, 2011.
  6. ^ Phil Hardy (1995). The Da Capo Companion to 20th-century Popular Music. Da Capo Press. p. 123. ISBN 978-0-306-80640-7. 
  7. ^ SPIN Media LLC (June 1995). SPIN. SPIN Media LLC. pp. 104–. ISSN 0886-3032. 
  8. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1976
  9. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 388. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "British_Hit_Singles_.26_Albums" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  10. ^ a b "BEST OF ALL TIME – SINGLES". VG-lista. Hung Medien. Archived from the original on 2 November 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Music Of Veronica Mars: Episode 2-3: Cheatty Cheatty Bang Bang". Mars Investigations: The (In)Complete Guide to Veronica Mars. Retrieved March 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ " – Nazareth – LOVE HURTS" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  13. ^ " – Nazareth – LOVE HURTS" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  15. ^ " – Nazareth – LOVE HURTS" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ " – Nazareth – LOVE HURTS". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ " – Nazareth – LOVE HURTS". VG-lista.
  18. ^ " – Nazareth – LOVE HURTS". Singles Top 100.
  19. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Nazareth Chart History (Hot 100)" Billboard.
  21. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Love Hurts". Music Canada. 
  22. ^ "American single certifications – Love Hurts". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  23. ^ "Love Hurts" Single on YouTube.
  24. ^ "Cher: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  25. ^ List of RPM number-one singles of 1976[better source needed]
  26. ^ List of Dutch Top 40 number-one singles of 1976[better source needed]

External linksEdit