All inducted songs
“We had an overage of repertoire...and thought (the song) didn’t fit with the others…it was all about fit.”
What About Love
  • Year Inducted: 2021
  • Written In: 1982
Songwriters
Jim Vallance Songwriter
Brian Allen Songwriter
Sheron Alton Songwriter
Artists
Heart
Toronto
Kelly Clarkson
The rock band Toronto’s most successful song was, ironically, one that didn’t make the cut for their own album.

The poignant SOCAN Classic rock ballad What About Love, written in 1982 by bandmates Brian Allen and Sheron Alton, with Jim Vallance; and although it was infamously left out of Toronto’s third album, it would ironically become one of their greatest songwriting achievements.

Allen, Alton and Vallance co-wrote the song to fit a title that Vallance suggested, and the band recorded a demo, but later voted to leave it out of their third album. Allen remembers: “We had an overage of repertoire...and thought (the song) didn’t fit with the others…it was all about fit.” The band members voted on ballots tossed into a hat, and What About Love didn’t make the cut.

Vallance explained, “I thought it was quite a good song, but unfortunately they decided to leave it off the album. So the demo sat on a shelf for a few years.”

Fast forward three years later to 1985. As Allen told “FYI Music News,” he offered What About Love to Mike McCarty of ATV Music Publishing. “I played the Toronto demo for him….He stopped the cassette partway through and said ‘Brian, I think I could work with this one.’” McCarty sent it off to the producer for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Heart, who happened to be searching for a strong single for their next album.

Since Heart’s first album had been produced in Canada and the Wilson sisters had lived in Vancouver for several years, the song from three Canadian songwriters was an easy fit.

Vallance explained, “I thought it was quite a good song, but unfortunately they decided to leave it off the album. So the demo sat on a shelf for a few years.”

Fast forward three years later to 1985. As Allen told “FYI Music News,” he offered What About Love to Mike McCarty of ATV Music Publishing. “I played the Toronto demo for him….He stopped the cassette partway through and said ‘Brian, I think I could work with this one.’” McCarty sent it off to the producer for Rock and Roll Hall of Famers, Heart, who happened to be searching for a strong single for their next album.

Since Heart’s first album had been produced in Canada and the Wilson sisters had lived in Vancouver for several years, the song from three Canadian songwriters was an easy fit.

Heart’s cover features Ann Wilson’s powerhouse vocal with an especially emotive chorus. The single rose to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in August 1985, No. 3 on the Billboard Rock chart, and No. 8 in Canada, and became their first top ten hit in five long years. Overall, the song enjoyed 12 weeks in the Top 40, earning BMI and PROCAN awards.

The Grammy-nominated “Heart” album, on the Capitol label, went multiple platinum to the No. 1 spot in the U.S.A. and the No. 3 Adult Contemporary spot in Canada.

As Brian Allen later laughed, “One of the smartest dumb things I ever did was voting that song out of the album!”

Toronto themselves did not release What About Love until 2002, when Solid Gold Records added the track as a bonus on their re-issued “Get It On Credit” album. Guitarists Brian Allen and Sheron Alton had four platinum albums with Toronto. Allen is a sought-after producer, has been an executive with SOCAN, a major-label A&R Vice President, and currently serves as a Director on the Board of the Country Music Association of Ontario. The multiple award-winning Jim Vallance is one of Canada’s pre-eminent songwriters and is the composer behind numerous international hits with Bryan Adams and other top artists.

What About Love has often been covered and sampled, and Kelly Clarkson has performed it on tour.

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