Stephen Stills – Love The One You’re With

There are two stories on where the phrase came from…Doris Troy said that Stephen Stills’ girlfriend was in America while he was in London. Stills was at a party in London and feeling lonesome and started to talk with Doris.  Troy said “Love the one you’re with, Sugar!” Stills loved the expression and asked if she minded if he used it in a song. She agreed.

Another version of the story is Billy Preston always said the phrase “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with” and Stills asked him if he could use it and Billy agreed…either way Stephen had the biggest solo hit of his career out of it. 

The song peaked at #14 in the Billboard 100, #6 in Canada, and #37 in the UK in 1971. 

John Sebastian, Rita Coolidge, Priscilla Jones, David Crosby and Graham Nash provided the backing vocals on this track.

From Songfacts

An Isley Brothers cover in 1971 (#18 US) transformed this from a song with a free love ethos into one about a Higher Love. Other notable versions include ones by Aretha Franklin on her 1971 Live At Filmore West album, British pop act Bucks Fizz, who peaked at #47 in 1986 with their cover and UK Pop Idol winner Will Young on his 2003 album Friday’s Child.

Photographer Henry Diltz, who photographed the album sleeve for Stephen Stills, wrote in his California Dreaming: Memories And Visions Of LA 1966-1975 about the story behind the LP cover: “After Deja Vu, CSN went on a bit of a hiatus and Stephen invited me to join him in Colorado. Gold Hill was way up in the Colorado mountains. While we were there Stephen received word that Jimi Hendrix had passed away so everybody was very sad. We sat up the whole night talking, telling stories and remembering him. When dawn came up the next morning it had snowed overnight and everything was blanketed in white. I grabbed my camera and Stephen grabbed his guitar, we ran outside and I started taking pictures of him sitting on a chair in the middle of the snow. Some time later this (session) was chosen for his first album cover.”

In the 2012 movie Prometheus, which is set in the year 2093, the spaceship’s captain, portrayed by Idris Elba, sings a bit of this song after revealing that the accordion he had been playing once belonged to Stephen Stills.

Love The One You’re With

If you’re down and confused
And you don’t remember who you’re talking to,
Concentration slips away
Cause you’re baby is so far away

Well there’s a rose in the fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can’t be with the one you love honey
Love the one you’re with, Love the one you’re with,
Love the one you’re with, Love the one you’re with.

Don’t be angry, don’t be sad
Don’t sit crying over good times you’ve had
There’s a girl right next to you
And she’s just waiting for something to do


Love the one you’re with,Love the one you’re with,
Love the one you’re with,Love the one you’re with,

Turn your heartache right into joy
Cause she’s a girl and you’re a boy
Get it together, make it nice
You ain’t gonna need anymore advice


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Stephen Stills – Love The One You’re With”

      1. Yes, for sure!

        Different topic, but the Cavern Club in Liverpool is putting on a ‘virtual’ Beatleweek since they can’t do the on-location festival this year. Today is ‘Day 3’. Beatles performers from around the world are streaming their sets on Facebook live. I’m enjoying it immensely. I think they put up a schedule of who plays when, but I haven’t followed it. I’m merely enjoying whoever is playing.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you I will look at that. It’s storming here so I’ll be stuck in all day. That sounds interesting and a lot of fun.


  1. I used to go see this band who played this song in the ’70s and it was always a crowd pleaser, because they really jammed, but I was disappointed the the live video that you used. This is a fun song to be out on the dance floor and check out all of the chicks and see if anyone smiles at you.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: