Love Train – The O’Jays | Top 40 Chart Performance, Story and Song Meaning

Chart Performance: Pop (#1) & R&B (1 for 4 weeks); 1973

Story Behind The Song By Ed Osborne

Ohio’s O’Jays entered the R&B Top 10 for the first time in 1967 with I’ll Be Sweeter Tomorrow (Than I Was Today).In 1969 and 1970 the group released some terrific singles for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Neptune Records, of which two scraped into the R&B Top 20. When G&H launched Philadelphia International, the O’Jays went with them; quickly rocketing to #1 R&B and #3 pop with Back Stabbers in 1972. It was the label and the group’s first #1. Back Stabbers’ serious subject matter – it shared the Top 10, after all, with a song about a rat (Ben) and the male privates (My Ding-A-Ling) – was just one element that separated G&H records from the pack. Another was their dramatic use of instrumental and vocal textures. Love Train, with its call for international brotherhood and soulful testifying from Eddie Levert, also went to #1; the second of 10 career R&B chart toppers for the O’Jays.

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:

  • Kenny Gamble
  • Leon Huff

Lyrics Written by:

  • Kenny Gamble
  • Leon Huff


  • Nominated for Grammy Awards for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group in 1973
  • Inducted to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005
  • Won the American Music Awards for Favorite R&B/Soul Group