“Love’s Theme” is an instrumental piece written by Barry White and recorded by Barry White‘s the Love Unlimited Orchestra and released in 1973 as a single. It is one of the few instrumental and purely orchestral singles to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, which it did in early 1974. Billboardranked it as the #3 song for 1974. The piece was included on two albums: 1973’s Under the Influence of… Love Unlimited (by the vocal group Love Unlimited) and 1974’s Rhapsody in White by the Love Unlimited Orchestra.
The recording, with a large string orchestra, wah-wah guitar, and big rhythm, is considered to be an influence on the disco sound, which would explode in popularity the following year. The song was also popular on the Adult Contemporary chart in the U.S., where it spent two weeks at #1. It was also used by ABC Sports for many years as the opening theme music for its golf coverage. New York television station WPIX used it as the closing music for its then-Action News franchise during the mid-1970s. In Canada, the single saw similar success, reaching #1 on the RPM 100 National Singles Chart on March 2, 1974.
In addition, “Love’s Theme” was also recorded in a vocal version by Love Unlimited(on their 1974 album In Heat). Andy Williams released a vocal version in May of 1974 that reached #16 on the adult contemporary chart in the United States. Enoch Light recorded an electro-disco instrumental version on his 1977 album, Disco Disque. The song is also part of Meco‘s instrumental medley “Hooked On Instrumentals Part I” (from the 1985 album Hooked On Instrumentals). In May 1993, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark released the single “Dream of Me (Based on Love’s Theme)” (from their album Liberator, released the same year) which used a sample of this Barry White composition. This single reached #24 on the UK Singles Chart, and Barry White was given a writing credit.
The Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways used the music for their TV advertisements. It was also featured briefly in Mean Girls, Despicable Me 2, El Cantante, Goodbye Bruce Lee: His Last Game of Death and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.