Song 119 – Love Hurts

SONG: Love Hurts

ARTIST: The Everly Brothers

YEAR: 1960

Listen to it here: 


“Love Hurts” was written and composed by the American songwriter Boudleaux Bryant. The recording we’re listening to today is the first ever recording of this song, by the Everly Brothers in July 1960, but the song is much better known because of Nazareth’s version, which was recorded in 1974 and the 1975 Jim Capaldi version. 

The original recording was released in the October 1960 record A Date with The Everly Brothers, and was never released as a single due to some kind of falling out with the Everly Brothers’ manager. Eventually, they re-recorded the song in 1965 after their quarrel with their manager was resolved. 

Post-Everlys, Roy Orbison recorded this song, Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons recorded it, The Who performed it on their 1967 tour, and then eventually came Nazareth, and Jim Capaldi. It was also recorded by a bunch of other artists such as Cher, Joan Jett, Heart, and others. 


For more on the Everly Brothers, please go back to our episode on All I Have To Do Is Dream!


  • When Nazareth first released this song it tanked. It was only a year later when their version became popular.


I think like most people my age (I’m like SUPER youthful you guys) my first experience of this song was the Nazareth version, and honestly I didn’t even realize it was a cover for a very long time, let alone an Everly Brothers song.  As I have mentioned before, I love the Everly Brothers, and once again here their harmonies are flawless and their voices are soft and subdued.  The song itself is also pretty great – interesting harmonic progression, decent melody and oh-so-true lyrics (who hasn’t felt emotional pain while also being in love?).  But there’s something in the arrangement that just sounds off.  The tempo – perhaps due to me being more familiar with Nazareth – makes it sound vaguely chipmunk-y, like you put a 33 inch vinyl on 45 speed.  I was hoping for a little more dynamic or emotional range with singing too, the Everly’s sound bored or sedated.  I think my biggest complaint is that they’ve paired this smooth vocal sound with super twangy guitar, some soft ticky percussion and a clip clop percussion sound as well.  I think it’s a good song, just not a great arrangement?  Do I like the hair metal version better?  I think I do.  Weird.


Ha, it’s so funny hearing the original of a song, when you’re used to hearing Nazareth for example! This version, the original, sounds very Everly Brothers meets vaguely country. I actually checked if my Youtube was suddenly on 1.5 speed, as most of the other versions of this song are slightly slower, and less rigid in terms of timing. It feels to me like the brothers sound relaxed, but I as a listener would like more space and time in this song. I guess we’ve entered the era of spoons and rim shots replacing drum kits, which is fine I guess, and the sound of this plus the fact that it’s in triple time makes me think that if you were to play a 1 second snippet of this song in a “Name-That-Tune” situation, you’d know right away it’s the Everly Brothers. I find that this song is missing some things I’d like from it. Like many Everly Brother songs, there’s no clear climax or moment of reckoning, it’s all pretty much at the same level. I also feel like we need to break up the verses and choruses with something. A cheesy string section? Guitar solo? Something. I do like the melody which has a lot of movement in it, and the weird “ticky” guitar that comes in is kind of cool. The harmonies also really work for me. Right before the bridge section, I hear this song morphing into Dream Dream Dream, which is kind of distracting. Overall I like this song, and I like this version. It’s kind of syruppy, doesn’t really go anywhere, and kind of sounds a bit “every-ballad”, but it’s nice. What I really want is to hear what the Everlys sound like if they decided to take a big breath from the gut and just belt for a little!

Average mark out of 10:

Holly: 7/10

Kelly: 7/10

Other notable versions of this song:

Well, of course. Here it is, the Nazareth rendition:

The Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons version:

And finally, Roy Orbison’s spin on it: 

Listen with us!

Link to 1,001 Songs to Hear Before You Die spotify playlist:

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