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This song has to be one of the most beautifully written and respectful songs of all time. It is a song about love lost and having to wait on love, but also respectful and not trying to make one or the other give in to love if they aren’t ready at that time. Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack as a team, were two people with voices out of this world.
This was written by percussionist Ralph MacDonald and bass player William Salter. They wrote the song hoping The 5th Dimension would record it, but MacDonald was working on the session for the Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway album, and when they needed one more song, he offered it to them.
Flack and Hathaway were good friends who both attended Howard University. Their first collaboration was a cover of Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” This led to an entire album of duets, which contained this hit and this song, Flack and Hathaway would sing about a relationship that is not working out. Unlike most male/female duets, they aren’t singing to each other, but are both taking the role of the person who is on the short end of the relationship. It’s a classic case of girl leaves boyfriend, tells another guy she will love him, then goes back to her original boyfriend, leaving Donny and Roberta to ask, “Where Is The Love?”
Six years later, Flack and Hathaway teamed up again for “The Closer I Get To You,” which peaked at #2 in the US. Flack also recorded successful duets with Peabo Bryson (“Tonight, I Celebrate My Love”) and Maxi Priest (“Set The Night To Music”).
Chloe x Halle performed this at the Grammy Awards in 2019 in tribute to Hathaway, who died in 1979 at age 33.
Song Lyrics –
Where is the love
You said you’d give to me
soon as you were free
will it ever be
Where is the love?
You told me that you didn’t love him,
and you were gonna say goodbye
but if you really didn’t mean it,
why did you have to lie?
Where is the love,
you said was mine all mine, till the end of time
was it just a lie
where is the love
If you had had a sudden change of heart
I wish that you would tell me so
don’t leave me hangin on the promises
you’ve got to let me know
Oh how I wish I never met you
I guess it must have been my fate
to fall in love with someone else’s love
all I can do is wait
(that’s all I can do)
yeah yeah yeah
Where is the love (repeat until end)