Our Top 10 Nicolette Larson Songs takes a look at a singer best remembered for her huge 1978 hit and cover version of Neil Young’s “Lotta Love.” Throughout her music career, Nicolette Larson spent a great deal of time working as a professional backup singer to some of classic rock’s biggest legends. Her career began working as a backup singer with Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen. She had previously worked with Hoyt Axton. Eventually, Nicolette Larson found herself recording with Emmylou Harris on the album Luxury Liner in 1977.
Through her association with Emmylou Harris, Nicolette Larson met Linda Ronstadt, who would then eventually recommend her to Neil Young as a backup singer. Both Linda Ronstadt and Nicolette Larson sang harmonies on Neil Young’s legendary American Stars n’ and Bars album. At the same time, Nicolette Larson was working with The Doobie Brothers on their legendary album Minute by Minute. Working with all these great musicians would lead to Nicolette Larson being signed by Warner Brother Records.
Nicolette Lawson would release her first album on Warner Brothers Records in 1978. The album contained a cover of a new Neil Young song entitled “Lotta Love.” Nicolette Larson’s version of Neil Young’s song went straight to number one on the US Billboard easy listening charts. Nicolette Larson had become a household name. She was never able to repeat the success that she had with the single, but that didn’t matter. Once you achieve a number-one record in the United States, you pretty much will build up a loyal fan base that will follow you for years. That’s what happened with Nicolette Larson.
Nicolette Larson released eight studio albums during her short career. A career cut short due to her passing in 1997. Even during the years she was releasing solo albums, she would continue to work as a backup singer with many other artists. Nicolette Larson continued to work with Linda Ronstadt, The Doobie Brothers, Graham Nash, and Rita Coolidge and even made an appearance on a Van Halen album in 1980 entitled Women And Children First, singing harmony on the track “Could This Be Magic.”
Our top 10 Nicolette Larson songs will present a mixture of Nicolette Larson’s recordings and some of the famous songs she sang harmonies on. It’s interesting to listen to her voice on some of those famous songs. Nicolette Larson was a favorite amongst so many artists, musicians, and fans. There was just something special about her. It was sad that she passed away so young.
# 10 – Fool Me Again
We open up our top 10 Nicolette Larson songs list with this wonderful song entitled “Fool Me Again.” Burt Bacharach and Carole Bayer Sager wrote the song. The song was released on the soundtrack to the 1981 film entitled Arthur which starred Dudley Moore.
# 9 – Could This Be Magic
We know you want to hear this one. Not many people realize that Nicolette Larson sang with Van Halen in the early 80s. But only for one track which was released on The Women And Children First album. Reports were that David Lee Roth was not too happy with Nicolette Larson singing on the record. I guess he didn’t want someone who could sing much better than he did backing him up. Take a listen; this is awesome. This down-home country Van Halen.
# 8 – Real Love
If you’re a fan of great vocals, then you are a fan of The Doobie Brothers. Especially during the Michael McDonald era. In 1980, The Doobie Brothers released the album One Step Closer. The album featured top-10 hit entitled “Real Love.” The song featured lead vocals by Michael McDonald, with Nicolette Larson singing a harmony that definitely stood out. Listening to Michael McDonald and Nicolette Larson sing together is just chilling.
# 7 – Summer Hearts
The song “Summer Hearts” was featured on the soundtrack to the motion picture Vacation. This was the first in the series of National Lampoon’s Vacation movies featuring Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo.
# 6 – That’s How You Know When Love Is Right
The single “That’s How You Know When Love Is Right” was released on Nicolette Larson’s album entitled Rose of My Heart. The album was released in the spring of 1986. The song “That’s How You Know When Love Is Right” would become a top 10 hit for Nicolette Larson on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. “That’s How You Know When Love Is Right,” was written by Craig Bichardt and Wendy Waldman.
# 5 – Building Bridges
Stepping into the second half of our top 10 Nicolette Larson songs list, we turn to another country song recorded by Nicolette Larson in 1985 entitled “Building Bridges.” The song was released on Nicolette Lawson’s 1985 album… Say When. The song was written by her ex-husband, Hank DeVito. It’s been covered by multiple artists, including Brooks & Dunn and Steve Sanders.
# 4 – Radioland
The song “Radioland” was the title track to Nicolette Larson’s third studio album. Radioland was released in 1981. The album was produced by Van Halen’s legendary producer, Ted Templeman. Sumer Mering wrote the song. This was an All-Star recording. “Radioland” also featured Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers playing the song’s guitar solo. John McFee of The Doobie Brothers also played guitar on the track as well as Paul Barrere of Little Feat. Another member of Little Feat, we all know as Billy Payne, played keys on the track. Tiran Porter of The Doobie Brothers played bass, and Keith Knudson of The Doobie Brothers played drums. Not many musical artists could say that half of The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat played on their recordings.
# 3 – Rhumba Girl
The song “Rumba Girl,” was released on Nicolette Larson’s debut album entitled Nicolette Larson. The album was released in 1978. “Rhumba Girl,” served as the follow-up single to “Lotta Love.” The song “Rumba Girl “was not as big of a hit as “Lotta Love” was in the United States. However, it did well in Canada, where it was a top 10 hit. “Rhumba Girl” was written by Jesse Winchester.
# 2 – Let Me Go Love
As we get close to the end of our Nicolette Larson songs list, we turn to the great duet between Nicolette Larson and Michael McDonald entitled “Let Me Go Love.” The song was released on Nicolette Larson’s second album titled In The Nick Of Time. It’s another album featuring an all-star cast of musicians, including members of The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat. It also contained a performance by guitar great Ronnie Montrose. Once again, Ted Templeman produced the album.
# 1 – Lotta Love
We close out our top 10 Nicolette Larson songs list with the obvious number one song entitled “Lotta Love.” We all can thank Linda Ronstadt for this one because it was Linda Ronstadt who suggested that Nicolette Larson record this song. The difference between Neil Young’s original version and Nicolette Larson’s version is just stunning. They’re both wonderful. Nicolette Larson’s “Lotta Love” really defines the art of covering songs.
Nicolette Larson’s version went straight to number one on the US Billboard Easy Listening charts. The song broke the US Billboard Hot 100’s top 10 peaking at number eight. It was a top 10 hit on Canada’s top 10 singles charts. It stands as one of the best songs released at the end of 1978. “Lotta Love,” will always be the song Nicolette Larson is best remembered for.
Updated January 15, 2024