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Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton (Incorporating ‘You Got The Love’)


The song was semi-biographical…

Young Hearts Run Free – Candi Staton  (Incorporating ‘You Got The Love’)



Warner Bros WBS 8181 (USA) / Warner Brothers K 16730* (UK)

Recorded at Sound City Studios, Los Angeles, CA

Released February 1976

Writer/Producer Dave Crawford

USA #20   4/76   UK #2   6/76

Canzetta Maria Staton is a noted Southern Soul/Gospel singer born in Alabama in March 1940 and was already 30 by the time she first scored big in the US with a number of her recordings made at Rick Hall’s legendary Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, recorded between 1969 and 1973. Called ‘The First Lady of Southern Soul’ it was in particular her soulful covers of Tammy Wynette’s ‘Stand By Your Man’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘In The Ghetto’ that attracted attention, though her Fame sides (released on Capitol and United Artists in the UK) made no mark outside the States and it wasn’t until a label switch to Warner Brothers (in 1974) that she made her mark with the disco hit ‘Young Hearts Run Free’, a worldwide hit in 1976.

Written by her Warner producer Dave Crawford, the song was semi-biographical since it was composed after Candi & Crawford had numerous lengthy discussions about the state of her private life and her contemporary marriage (the 3rd of 5) which she was trying to exit due to spousal abuse. Candi recalls, “Little did I know he (Crawford) was making mental notes and writing all that stuff down.” ‘Young Hearts’ (which features Ray Parker Jr. on guitar and Deniece Williams on backing vocals – both later to have Number 1 records) certainly struck a chord with record buyers around the world, both lyrically and musically, and was a major dancefloor hit, rising to #2 on the UK charts where it was held off the top spot by the Real Thing’s ‘You To Me Are Everything’. In the States it reached #20 on the Pop charts and was an R&B Number 1.

Candi, whose voice is not unlike that of Randy Crawford, and has a rather sexy huskiness to it, had a handful of further UK hits in the late 1970s/early 1980s including a cover of the Bee Gees’ ‘Nights On Broadway’ (#6) and a cover of another Presley hit, ‘Suspicious Minds’, Top 40 in 1982, before a re-mixed ‘Young Hearts’ charted in 1986. A UK cover by Kym Mazelle made the Top 20 in 1997 and Candi released a re-recorded version that made the UK Top 30 in 1999. Meanwhile, back in 1982, Candi had returned to her gospel roots recording strictly gospel/Christian material (her most recent collection came out in 2009) and probably didn’t expect to trouble pop chart compilers again. In fact, her biggest career success would occur without her personal participation – indeed, the club classic in question which has since reached the UK Top 10 on three separate occasions and allegedly sold 2 million copies, would initially occur entirely without her knowledge!

‘You Got The Love’ must rate as the most remixed, re-modeled, re-hashed and mashed tunes of all time. I shall endeavour to keep this complicated tale as painless as possible! A composition credited to Anthony B. Stephens, Arnecia Michelle Harris and John Bellamy, Candi originally recorded an a cappella version of the song for an early 1980s privately made video about the world’s fattest man and his attempts to lose weight. (Apparently, she still has the video and notes that at one point in the programme he had to be fork-lifted into a plane!) The song itself was supplied by the video-makers and since they were strapped for cash they gave Candi 50% of the song’s publishing and copyright in lieu of payment, a move that would prove handy as events progressed.

In November 1986 it featured in an illegal UK bootleg mix (released on the Streetwave label) that combined her a cappella vocal with a Frankie Knuckles/Jamie Principal house track entitled ‘Your Love’. In 1991, UK deejay/producer John Truelove (henceforth calling himself ‘Source’, a name he appropriated from the 1986 release though he wasn’t involved with that) released a remix created by Eren Abdullah aka DJ Eren, totally different to the 1986 version, and credited to ‘Source featuring Candi Staton’. This first appeared on a bootleg 12-inch, but was then licensed by Truelove Records and made Number 4 on the UK charts. It was at this point, in an effort to overcome any potential legal problems, that a surprised Ms Staton was first contacted and informed that she had a major hit on her hands!  Candi told Sophie Heawood in an article for The Guardian in 2006: “They were calling my house saying I had a number one record in England, and I said, ‘What song? I haven’t released any song.’ When they told me it was ‘You Got The Love’, I said, I’d never made a record called that. Then I got off the phone and realized – it was the one from the diet video! Which was never supposed to be put on a record at all.”

An extremely uplifting anthem, and in keeping with Staton’s current career gospel/Christian sentiments, ‘You Got The Love’ has become a dancefloor staple with further remixes/remakes charting in the UK in both 1997 and 2006. (Of a myriad of versions this author’s favourite is the 2006 Extended New Voyager Mix) The song has also been utilized by numerous major TV series’. ‘You Got The Love’ has done well in Europe and Australia over the years though doesn’t appear to have had any impact on the US charts. More recently it has been covered by Joss Stone (on her 2009 album Colour Me Free!) and climbed the UK charts yet again in a new version (as ‘You’ve Got The Love’) by Florence + The Machine, a Number 5 in 2009. In addition, a version performed at the 2010 Brits by Florence and rapper Dizzie Rascal interpolating his rap ‘Dirtee Cash’ was released exclusively on itunes as ‘You Got The Dirtee Love’ and reached #2 on the UK charts in February 2010. Since Ms Staton receives 50% of the publishing and copyright royalties, all this activity will doubtless be a handy pension bonus for the then 74-year-old singer who was still touring and recording in 2014.


Copyright © 2017 SongStories/Tony Burton


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