Lotta Love – Nicolette Larson – 1979

Nicolette Larson Lotta Love - single coverWritten by Neil Young, Nicolette Larson’s hit, Lotta Love, is one of 1979s catchiest tunes.

1979 not music’s greatest year

Reading over the songs I’ve covered in 70s music so far I became aware of how many of them are from the first half of the decade. It got me thinking, surely there are some decent songs from the late 70s?

A quick Google, however, and I’m reminded how bad some of the music was.  Check out these songs from 1979 – who can forget the likes of:

  • Y.M.C.A., Village People
  • Sad Eyes, Robert John
  • When You’re In Love With a Beautiful Woman and Sharing the Night Together, Dr Hook
  • Tragedy, Bee Gees
  • You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
  • Just When I Needed You Most, Randy Vanwarmer
  • Somewhere In the Night, Barry Manilow

Of course 1979 did have its highlights, such as Dire Straits’ Sultan of Swing and Ricki Lee Jones’ Chuck E’s in Love. And then there is – one of my favourite all time songs – Lotta Love by Nicolette Larson.


Sadly, Nicolette’s parents burdened her with a name that sounds very much like a patch-cure for tobacco addition . Happily, they also ensured she was endowed with a great voice.

Nicolette made her name as a backing singer for artists like Hoyt Axton and Emmylou Harris. While working with Emmylou, Nicolette stuck up a friendship with Emmylou’s friend Linda Ronstadt. One day Linda’s next door neighbour came over and asked Linda if she knew of a decent backing singer an album he was putting together. Linda recommended Nicolette.  The neighbour was Neil Young.

Through her work with Neil, Nicolette was discovered and signed as an artist in her own right. Eight solo albums followed, the best being her debut Nicolette which contained the wonderful Lotta Love.

Rolling Stone Magazine named her Female Vocalist of the year in 1978.

nicolette r i p

Nicolette died in December 1997 as a result of complications arising from cerebral edema. Friends are reported as saying that her fatal seizure was related to her chronic use of Valium and Tylenol.

She was married to the legendary drummer, Russ Kunkel.

lotta love fax

  • Lotta Love was written by Neil Young.
  • Lotta Love peaked at #8 on Billboard Magazine’s Hot 100 in February 1979.
  • Lotta Love reached #1 on the Easy Listening chart and was ranked at #10 on the list of Best Adult Contemporary hits of 1979.
  • Nicolette first heard the song when driving with Neil Young. She put a cassette into his car’s player. It was a demo of Lotta Love. Neil told her, “that song’s yours if you want it.”
  • Neil’s version of Lotta Love appears on his Comes a Time album.
  • Coincidentally, the albums Nicolette and Comes a Time were released on the same day.
  • A 12 inch disco version single of Nicolette’s Lotta Love was released. As you’d expect, it plummeted into obscurity.
  • Nicolette performed Lotta Love at the renowned No Nukes concerts held at Madison Square Garden in September 1979. Her version, with The Doobie Brothers backing, was included on the No Nukes album but not in the film.
  • In February 1998 a Nicolette Larson tribute concert raised over $165,000 for the UCLA Children’s Hospital. The show was called The Lotta Love Concert and opened with Carole King, Bonnie Rait, Rosemary Butler, and Valerie Carter singing Lotta Love.
  • Lotta Love lyrics.

4 Responses to Lotta Love – Nicolette Larson – 1979

  1. wozza says:

    1979. I don’t buy the good year/bad year for music thing GK.

    In any year there is a mixture of crap and gold. I don’t think 1979 is any different really. I tend to think more in decades than I do individual years. F’rinstance re the hit parades: the 50’s – bland and then Elvis. The 60’s – bland then Beatles and then floodgates opened. The 70s – after the floodgates the dispersal then bland (aka disco) then punk. The 80s – bland with bad hair. The 90s – just rubbish. The 00s – I stopped listening to the hit parade.

    Furthermore some of my favourite music (on albums) was released in 1979:

    My top 20 for 1979 contains: Armed Forces (Elvis C); Frenzy (The Enz); George Harrison; Force Majeure (Tangerine Dream); Sheik Yerbouti (Zappa);Even Serpents Shine (Only Ones); Breakfast in America (Supertramp); London Calling (Clash); Freedom at Point Zero (J Starship); Phoenix (Dan Fogelberg); Live Rust and Rust Never Sleeps (Neil Young); Shades In Bed (Records); Unknown Pleasures (Joy Division); Highway to Hell (Akka Dakka); Off The Wall (MJ); Drums and Wires (XTC); Top Priority (Rory Gallagher); Joes Garage (Zappa); Broken English (Marianne Faithful).

    That’s a great pile of music, I think you’ll agree.

    Balancing this, I concede that 1979 was also the year of The Wall.

    Overall though there was some great music and you’ve gotta love a year when Zappa releases a triple album (Joe parts 1-3), a double (Sheikh) and three single albums (Sleep dirt, Orchestral Favs and Studio Tan).

  2. Greg.K. says:

    Ha! I KNEW you’d come up with a list! And I’m glad you did. Some of it I agree with, just one or two that I’m not so sure about – well, just one actually – never could get into Supertramp.

    The rest of the list I can go for.

    PS – I hope the bad hair you’re referring to in the 80s doesn’t include my afro!!


  3. wozza says:

    I was thinking about my eighties mullet actually! Correct me I’m wrong but your ‘fro was a seventies thing wasn’t it?

    Try the Supertramp album again – it sounds pretty fresh to my ears.

  4. Greg.K. says:

    Ah, the 80s mullet – I’d forgotten… it looked pretty good back then!!

    My brother was right into Supertramp… maybe I’ll check them out again…

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