So this heartbroken lament of a song has been covered so many times that I honestly didn’t have a clue who originally did it until I started researching it for my Cover Story. Turns out, it was the Everly Brothers in 1960, a version I don’t think I’d heard until now.
Next up we have Roy Orbison’s take on the song, released in 1961. The emotion is palpable in this version thanks to the singer’s unique, haunting vocals.
The first version of the song that I became familiar with is the countrified duet between Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris off of Parson’s 1974 album, Grievous Angel. The gorgeous harmony between the two singers is what really sells it, as does the pained moan at the end of the song. This might be my favorite version of the song, with Orbison’s rendition being the only possible exception. Maybe.
Now we come to the most well-known version of the song, Nazareth’s 1975 hard-rock rendition. This version replaces the word “stove” with “flame”, which on the surface makes the comparison to love more poetic, but I take issue with this change, as the phrase that follows is “burns you when it’s hot”, and a flame is never not hot, whereas a stove has a mode in which it isn’t hot. But that’s just me nit-picking. This is a stellar performance regardless.
Finally we have another countrified version, this time by two people not particularly known for country music. In 2004, Keith Richards and Norah Jones performed “Love Hurts” live at a Gram Parsons tribute concert. They did a pretty good job of it, too, if you ask me.