(Love) Compared with You

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"(Love) Compared with You"
Steve Harley (Love) Compared With You 1976 USA Single.jpeg
Single by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
from the album Love's a Prima Donna
B-side "Too Much Tenderness"
Released 1976
Format 7"
Genre Pop, rock
Length 3:33
Label EMI Records
Songwriter(s) Steve Harley
Producer(s) Steve Harley
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel singles chronology
"(I Believe) Love's a Prima Donna"
(1976)
"(Love) Compared with You"
(1976)
"The Best Years of Our Lives (live)"
(1977)
"(I Believe) Love's a Prima Donna"
(1976)
"(Love) Compared with You"
(1976)
"The Best Years of Our Lives (live)"
(1977)

"(Love) Compared with You" is a song by the British rock band Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, released in 1976 as the third and final single from the band's fifth studio album Love's a Prima Donna.[1] Released as a single in America only,[2][3] the song was written and produced by Harley.

Background[edit]

Following the UK Top 50 entry of Love's a Prima Donna's second single, "(I Believe) Love's a Prima Donna", plans were made for "(Love) Compared with You" to be released as the third single in the UK. However, EMI Records decided to cancel the release at the last minute.[4] Although the UK release was scrapped, EMI chose to release the song as the album's only single in America.[5]

Like the Love's a Prima Donna album, the song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios, sometime between June-September 1976.[6] English violinist Wilfred Gibson, who contributed to choir and orchestral arrangements on the album, scored the string section for the track. Speaking to Melody Maker's Harvey Kubernik in February 1977, Harley spoke of the song, revealing: ""(Love) Compared with You" is the first out-and-out love song I've written. I'd been trying for three years."[7]

In 2010, Harley supported the Children in Need charity by auctioning a personal mini-concert at the winning bidder's home, as well as a signed guitar and a lavish dinner. A a German fan won the auction with the bid of $15,000. In December that year, it was revealed that Harley was set to travel to the fan's home to play their requested song, which was "(Love) Compared with You".[8]

Release[edit]

"(Love) Compared with You" was released by EMI Records on 7" vinyl in America only.[9][10] The B-side, "Too Much Tenderness", was written and produced by Harley, and also taken from Love's a Prima Donna. For its release as a single, "(Love) Compared with You" was cut down by almost a minute. A promotional edition of the single was also released, which placed the A-side on both sides of the vinyl; one in stereo and one in mono. Neither release featured a picture sleeve, but used a generic one instead.[11]

Following its original release on the Love's a Prima Donna album, and as a single, the song has also appeared on a number of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel compilations including 1987's Greatest Hits,[12] 1998's More Than Somewhat – The Very Best of Steve Harley,[13] 1999's The Cream of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel,[14] and 2006's The Cockney Rebel – A Steve Harley Anthology.[15]

Promotion[edit]

The song has been performed live during Harley and the band's concerts over the years.[16][17][18] As a result, live versions of the song have been recorded and released. A version appeared on the band's 1977 live album Face to Face: A Live Recording,[19] while an acoustic version later appeared on Harley's 1999 album Stripped to the Bare Bones.[20]

Track listing[edit]

7" Single
  1. "(Love) Compared with You (Stereo)" - 3:33
  2. "Too Much Tenderness" - 4:16
7" Single (American promo)
  1. "(Love) Compared with You (Stereo)" - 3:33
  2. "(Love) Compared with You (Mono)" - 3:33

Critical reception[edit]

Upon release, Paul Phillips, writing for National RockStar magazine, reviewed the album and said: ""Here Comes the Sun" bears all the hallmarks of the accomplished lyricist desperately attempting to become the acclaimed musician/arranger - mistaking clumsiness for cleverness and arrogance for art. Unfortunately, these faults permeate the entire album. "(Love) Compared with You" and "Carry Me Again" are two tracks which work, not because they are simple songs, but because they are simply presented."[21] Geoff Barton of Sounds wrote: "After the morass of interrelated mini-songs, there comes the first 'conventional' number of the album, the endearing "Too Much Tenderness". The balladic "(Love) Compared with You" is next, containing the lovely line "Like a waterfall you tingle me with your love". This one comes across extremely well, building into an all-encompassing entity and ending with the tear-jerking lines "I love you - I'm in love with you" echoing away into the disance, ad. inf."[22] American magazine Billboard listed the album under the "Pop" section of their "Recommended LPs". The review highlighted the song, along with the title track, as the album's best cuts.[23]

In a 1976 issue of the EMI Records Weekly News magazine Music Talk, Rex Anderson compared the song with the title track: ""(Love) Compared with You" is the first real highpoint of the album and possibly one of the best things Steve has written to date. It contrasts with all his other work in that it is romantic and dreamy. It is a love hymn with beautifully gentle acoustic guitar, piano, and strings. The "I'm in love with you" overdubbed fade is a little production masterpiece on its own. The following track, "(I Believe) Love's a Prima Donna" is a brilliant contrast. The guy has been through all the different pangs of adolescent love and comes to the realisation that "love" is a prima donna." Later in the review, Anderson also noted: "Tony Rivers deserves some praise for his vocal arrangements, particularly on "(Love) Compared with You" and "Love's a Prima Donna"."[24]

Donald A. Guarisco of AllMusic spoke of the song in a retrospective review of the album. He wrote: "Love's a Prima Donna features two of Harley's finest songs in the title track, and "(Love) Compared with You," a delicately orchestrated love ballad that manages to be touching and heartfelt without lapsing into sappy sentimentality."[25] Guarisco spoke of the song again in a review of the 1987 Greatest Hits compilation. He stated: "Another interesting aspect of this collection is that it highlights Harley's oft-underrated skill with ballads: a particular highlight in this area is "(Love) Compared with You," a delicate, subtly orchestrated tune where Harley drops his yen for surrealistic lyrics to communicate in direct and elegantly romantic terms."[12] George Starostin retrospectively reviewed the album for his website, stating: "On the downside, "(Love) Compared with You" is hardly a great success - apart from the general tender feel of it, there's little to recommend it alongside Steve's really fine ballads; it actually looks like a reject from the too-wordy Timeless Flight. Not even the tenderness-itself of the "I love you, I'm in love with you" coda helps - such things should be left to real "lovemeisters" like Paul McCartney, I guess."[26]

In 1977, Geoff Barton of Sounds also reviewed the Face to Face: A Live Recording album, commenting: "The involvement builds and builds until, towards the end, everyone sings along in fine football chorus tradition. Highly charged, sincere, spine-tingling stuff. "(Love) Compared with You" follows admirably in the footsteps of "Best Years of Our Lives", together with the irresistible line "Like a waterfall you tingle me with your love"."[27] Starostin said: "...but reasonable still does not equal forgivable, and there's no good excuse for me having to sit through boring crap like "(Love) Compared with You" when I could be grooving to the cool sounds of "Loretta's Tale" or "Judy Teen" instead. Oh well, it's not like it's my first experience of an "untimely" live album."[26]

Personnel[edit]

Cockney Rebel
Additional personnel
  • Lindsay Elliott - percussion
  • Tony Rivers - backing vocals, backing vocal arrangement
  • John G. Perry - backing vocals
  • Stuart Calver - backing vocals
  • Wilfred Gibson - string section score
  • Tony Clark - sound engineer
  • Pat Stapley - assistant sound engineer
  • Ken Perry - mastering

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - Love's A Prima Donna at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  2. ^ "Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - (Love) Compared With You (Vinyl) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  3. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/nc696128us
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 2013-07-01. 
  5. ^ http://www.45cat.com/record/nc696128us
  6. ^ Love's a Prima Donna - sleeve notes - original vinyl album - EMI Records - ST11596
  7. ^ Some of the fans' poetry puts me to shame - Steve Harley interview by Harvey Kubernik - Melody Maker - February 1977
  8. ^ "Harley To Perform At Fan's Home For Charity". Contactmusic.com. 2010-12-08. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  9. ^ "Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel - (Love) Compared With You / (Love) Compared With You - EMI - USA - P-4397". 45cat. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  10. ^ "Love's A Prima Donna". Harleyfanzone.com. Archived from the original on 21 November 2014. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Images for Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - (Love) Compared With You". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  12. ^ a b Guarisco, Donald A. "Greatest Hits [EMI] - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  13. ^ "More Than Somewhat: The Very Best of Steve Harley - Steve Harley : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  14. ^ "Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - The Cream Of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (CD) at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  15. ^ "Cockney Rebel: A Steve Harley Anthology - Steve Harley : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. 2006-10-02. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  16. ^ "Steve Harley- Love Compared To You". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  17. ^ "Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel - (Love) Compared With You". YouTube. 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  18. ^ Steve Harley - Love Compared To You - December 13th 2012 - HMV Forum London UK - YouTube
  19. ^ Thompson, Dave. "Face to Face - Steve Harley : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  20. ^ Thomas, Stephen (1999-08-03). "Stripped to Bare Bones - Steve Harley : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  21. ^ "Prima Donna Falls Flat". Harleyfanzone.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  22. ^ "Dark Clouds". Harleyfanzone.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  23. ^ "Billboard - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. 1977-01-29. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  24. ^ "Love's A Prima Donna". Harleyfanzone.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  25. ^ Guarisco, Donald A. "Love's a Prima Donna - Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  26. ^ a b "Steve Harley/Cockney Rebel". Starling.rinet.ru. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  27. ^ "Text". Harleyfanzone.com. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 

External links[edit]