If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want To Be Right) – Luther Ingram | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1) & R&B (#1 for 4 weeks); 1972

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Prior to their #1 1977 smash Best Of My Love, The Emotions recorded a series of singles for the Memphis-based Volt label, including So I Can Love You (#3 R&B, 1969). Over at sister label Stax, the writers of If Loving You Is Wrong recorded an uptempo version with the girls, yet, all agreed the song’s theme of adultery was too risqué for them. The tape of If Loving You gathered dust on a shelf for a couple of years before Luther Ingram happened upon it. The soul singer from Tennessee had managed one Top 10 R&B record in 1970, then saw his career slump. In If Loving You, Luther heard the makings of a hit. Recalling Man’s Temptation by Gene Chandler (#17 R&B, 1963), Luther began working up on a slowed down arrangement of If Loving You with his brothers and sister, then recorded it at the famous Muscle Shoals Sound studios. Seven years later Barbara Mandrell took the tune to #1 on the country chart.

This content and all Song Meaning articles were created and written by Top 40 Contributing Editor Ed Osborne. © 2023 Ed Osborne. All Rights Reserved. In addition to these song meaning articles, Ed has written our “Year in Music 1960s-1990s” articles.

Produced by:

  • John Baylor

Lyrics Written by:

  • Homer Banks
  • Carl Hampton
  • Raymond Jackson