The Story Behind The Song: “That’s The Thing About Love”


(written by Richard Leigh & Gary Nicholson)


Don Williams (#1, 1984)

The “Café Carolina” album added a new texture to Don Williams’ music with the light and breezy air of saxophone player Jim Horn, a Los Angeles session player who had relocated to Nashville. “That’s The Thing About Love” marked Horn’s first major contribution after the move, although he had worked on country records before, such as Mel Tillis’s “I Believe In You” in 1978 (on which Jim played the flute).

“That’s The Thing About Love” emerged from a songwriting session pairing Richard Leigh (best known as the composer of Crystal Gayle’s mega-hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue”) and Gary Nicholson. After a lengthy, unproductive day, Leigh cued up a Ray Charles record to change the mood and ease their frustration.

The two scribes picked up on a line in the song that was playing about “the eagle and the dove” and it immediately triggered a song title: “That’s The Thing About Love.” The songwriters started to build a tune around it, writing about how funny love is, how odd it is, how it’s full of contradictions and how universal those contradictions are.

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