Much like “I Want You”, there’s more than one song with the title “Love Is.” Not nearly as many, but I can think of at least one right off the top of my head. This particular “Love Is” is the song that Canadian singer Alannah Myles released to follow up her #1 smash “Black Velvet” in the late spring/early summer of 1990.
Alannah Myles is classified by many as a one-hit wonder, but I think she’s more accurately a one-and-a-half hit wonder, as “Love Is” did get some traction on U.S. radio, although not nearly to the degree that “Black Velvet” did. It barely cracked the Top 40 here in the U.S. My friend Mary and I always say, when referring to one-hit wonders “Oh, you know, I liked their other hits better.” I think this is one instance that I honestly find that to be true. It’s hard to diss “Black Velvet” because it is top notch, but I really liked the fact that she cut loose on “Love Is.” It’s a lot more representative of her eponymous debut album than “Black Velvet.” Alannah Myles wants you to know that she can rock with the likes of Pat Benatar and Joan Jett, but based upon her best known single, you would never know it.
I bought Alannah Myles right after graduation in 1990, picking up Lisa Stansfield’s Affection in the same purchase. I was in the habit of going out to Swan Lake and walking around the lake (about 3.2 miles) a lot of nights after work. I’d pop the cassette into my Walkman and listening to the whole album took just about the amount of time it took for me to walk around the lake. This was when I really fell in love with “Love Is.” Sadly, the rest of the country did not agree and it barely made the Top 40.
Alannah Myles’ next album was a bit of a bust in the U.S. and I’m pretty sure that she’s been riding the “Black Velvet” gravy train ever since, at least as far as the U.S. market goes. I’ll always love a good female rock song, and maybe that’s why it didn’t do so well at the time. All the female rockers were kind of off their game at that time, looking for an audience that had seemingly disappeared. But if nothing else, it gave us a pretty kick-ass video.