Songs for Sound Minds are our picks of the best music that uplifts, inspires and boosts mental health. Songs written as an anthem to overcoming the storms of life. The songs that give hope in those times when we are struggling. You Got the Love is the next track in our series, a gospel/soul/disco classic from the First Lady of Southern Soul, Candi Staton dedicated to never giving up.
You know ‘You Got the Love’ but who sang it first?
It would be difficult to find someone who has never heard Candi Staton’s ‘You Got the Love’. From the original 1986 release to recent covers by Florence and the Machine and the 1991 The Source remix that propelled it to new audiences, one thing is clear: this is a powerful and much loved song.
The track started out as a soul/gospel track written by Anthony B. Stephens, Arnecia Michelle Harris and John Bellamy. The writers could not afford to pay Staton for her vocals so gave her half the royalties and copyright instead. Through the 1960s Staton had become known as the ‘First Lady of Southern Soul’ before transforming in to a disco diva in the 1970s and 1980s.
Gospel music is close to Staton’s heart – having sung gospel music exclusively for twenty years after her disco heyday. Recording a track like You Got the Love is a perfect fit. The themes of reliance on a higher power for survival through the tribulations of life chime with Staton’s own past.
The life behind the musical success
Staton suffered abuse in her childhood and marriages, subsequently bringing up 5 children as a single parent. Despite a successful music career her own life was littered with bad choices and bad relationships. Overcoming such significant problems makes her vocals on You Got the Love even more poignant. Even now at the age of 77, Staton continues to write and record gospel music.
No matter your perspective on the lyrics for You Got the Love, it is an inspiring track. You may or may not believe in the same higher power as the writers and Staton. Either way, the song reminds us never to give up. Even when it feels like life is just too much.