Rock Music Wiki

"Love Hurts" is a songwritten and composed by Felice and 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 hard rock band Nazareth and in the UK by a top 5 hit in 1975 by Jim Capaldi.

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 a 11-week run. The song was also covered byCher 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" #1 billboard.


 [hide*1 Roy Orbison version

Roy Orbison version[edit][]

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 #5. This makes Orbison's recording of "Love Hurts" the first version to be a hit.

Chart (1961) Peak


Australia 5

Jim Capaldi version[edit][]

"Love Hurts"
Single by Jim Capaldi
from the album Short Cut Draw Blood
B-side "Sugar Honey"
Released 1975
Recorded 1975
Genre Rock
Length 3:30
Label Island
Writer(s) Boudleaux Bryant
Producer Steve Smith

[disambiguation needed]

Jim Capaldi singles chronology
"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 original,"[2] the single also charted in the US,[3] Germany,[4] and Sweden.[5]

Chart (1975) Peak


Germany 42
Sweden 16
U.K. 4
U.S. 97

Nazareth version[edit][]

"Love Hurts"
Single by Nazareth
from the album Hair of the Dog
B-side "Hair of the Dog" (U.S., Canada)

"Down" (Europe)

Released 1974 (Europe); 1975 (U.S.)
Recorded 1974
Genre Hard rock
Length 3:03 (U.S.)

3:53 (Europe)

Label A&M (U.S.)

Vertigo (Europe)

Writer(s) Boudleaux Bryant
Producer Manny Charlton
Nazareth singles chronology
"This Flight Tonight"


"Love Hurts"


"Shanghai'd in Shanghai"


Performed as a rock ballad, 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 #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1976. As part of the "Hot Tracks (EP)" it also reached #15 in the UK in 1977.[6] Nazareth's version was an international hit (reaching #8 in the US, #15 in the UK, and #1 in Canada, 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 #1, making it the top single of all time in that country.[7]

A later recording by Nazareth, featuring the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, peaked at #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 ConfusedDetroit Rock CityTogether, and Halloween, 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 AirlinesMolsonNissan (for the Altima) and Toyota in Australia.

Charts and certifications[edit][]

Weekly charts[edit][]

Chart (1975) Peak


Australia 8
Austria 11
Belgium 1
Canada 1
Denmark 2
Euro Hit 50 3
Germany 30
Netherlands 1
New Zealand 4
Norway 1
South Africa 1
Sweden 6
U.K. 15
U.S. 8

Year-end charts[edit][]

Chart (1975) Peak


South African Singles Chart 3
Chart (1976) Position
Australian Kent Music Report 45
Belgian VRT Top 30 10
Canadian RPM Top Singles 14
Dutch Top 40 3
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 23

All-time chart[edit][]

Chart Position
Norway[7] 1


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[8] Platinum 150,000^
United States (RIAA)[9] Gold 1,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Triumph version[edit][]

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


"Love Hurts"


Triumph created and covered their interpretation of “Love Hurts” in 1991, however, the track never surfaced until the release of Living for the Weekend: Anthology in 2005, with a subsequent video single.[10]

Cher version[edit][]

"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
Writer(s) Boudleaux Bryant
Producer Richie Zito
Cher singles chronology
"Save Up All Your Tears"


"Love Hurts"


"Could've Been You"


Audio sample
MENU  0:00 file info · help

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, which became a minor hit in the UK and a substantial hit in Norway, where the Nazareth version had enjoyed its greatest chart success a decade and a half earlier.

Chart (1991) Peak


Norwegian Singles Chart 2
Polish Singles Chart 21
UK Singles Chart[11] 43

Live performances[edit][]

Cher performed the song on the following concert tours:

List of covers[edit][]

Artist Release date Album Notes
Roy Orbison March 1961 Crying (May 1962) B-side of "Running Scared"
Phi-Mu Washboard Band 196? ...Just Because (196?) This version is slightly abridged.
Mark Wynter August 1964 A-side of the single Pye 7N 15686
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 albumGrievous 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 #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1976. As part of the "Hot Tracks (EP)" it also reached #15 in the UK in 1977.[6]
Cher 1975 Stars Produced by Jimmy Webb
Jim Capaldi October 1975 Short Cut Draw Blood Reached number four in the UK chart[6] 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
Bad Romance 1991 Code Of Honor
Cher 1991 Love Hurts Also released as a single in Europe.
Veronique, a Yugoslav rock band 1991 The song became a big radio hit in Yugoslavia.
Kim Carnes 1992 Soundtrack for Private Lessons II
Paul Young 1993 Best Ballads
Guided by Voices frontmanRobert Pollard with Kim Deal ofPixies 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.
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 Smokie-style harmonically vocalized soft rock ballad
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
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
Darren Smith Band 2005 Keep the Spirit Alive
Bonnie Bramlett 2006 Roots, Blues, and Jazz
Rod Stewart 2006 Still the Same... Great Rock Classics of our Time
Paul Noonan from Bell X1 andLisa Hannigan
L.I.N.E. 2008 Dutch band L.I.N.E. covered this song in 2008. It is in 6/8 time, which is quite different from all other known covers.
Jason Donovan 2008 "Let It Be Me"
Leo Sayer 2008 "Singles As & Bs"
Jenny Lewis 2009 Live on radio programWorld Café
Nan Vernon 2009 Halloween 2 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
Preceded by

"Breaking Up Is Hard to Do" by Neil Sedaka

Canadian RPM number one single (Nazareth version)

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)

February 21 - March 20, 1976

Succeeded by

"The Alternative Way" by Anita Mayer