Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart was Love Is The Answer by England Dan & John Ford Coley. Released on March 4, the song was written by Todd Rundgren for his band Utopia. It is the last track on the 1977 album Oops! Wrong Planet. Rundgren’s version didn’t chart but, this cover version reached #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
From John Ford Coley:
Of all the songs we released as singles, that was my favorite. The song, first of all, had a classical base and the middle had a gospel section, which I loved.
From Todd Rundgren (on what the song meant to him):
We were doing an album at the time and, usually, we try and be collaborative when we write the songs because, we had made an agreement that we would share the publishing on all of our songs so that specific writers don’t get the credit. But, that was a song that I came up with. We put it on a bummer album like Oops! Wrong Planet thinking, maybe, we need to put something a little hopeful on it.
The song still has meaning to me. I perform it every night with Ringo. Ringo has his “three hit rule” and I’m taking advantage of a technicality in that Love Is The Answer was a hit but, it wasn’t a hit for me or Utopia. It was a hit for England Dan & John Ford Coley.
Originally, Ringo wanted me to do Hello It’s Me and I just felt that the song, in the context of what the rest of the band was playing, didn’t represent the message I wanted to convey because, “Hello It’s Me” is a kind of a selfish song. It’s me, me, me…it’s all about me. I’m in charge and, all this other stuff. I thought a better song, especially for Mr. Peace & Love, Ringo himself, would be “Love Is The Answer” and, people would know the song because it was a hit. […] they, maybe even, would just gloss over the fact that it wasn’t a hit for me and think, ‘Oh Yeah! Now, I remember him singing this song.’ So, for me, it’s a high point of the evening and, hopefully, the audience is getting the message.
Glen Campbell recorded the song in 2004 on his Love Is The Answer: 24 Songs of Faith, Hope and Love album. It remains a favorite of Christian artists.