On March 7, 1970, “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” by Friends of Distinction entered the Billboard Hot 100 at #82. During its next 13 weeks on the singles charts, it would peak at #6.
Friends of Distinction was the quartet founded by Harry Elston and Floyd Butler. Elston had formed an R&B group called the Hi-Fi’s in 1963 with Butler, Lamonte McLemore and Marilyn McCoo (McLemore and McCoo would later join the Fifth Dimension). Ray Charles heard the Hi-Fi’s and took them on tour with him in 1964. The Hi-Fi’s became part of Charles’ backup entourage. By 1966, Elston and Butler decided to leave and they took two singers with them—Jessica Cleaves and Barbara Jean Love—to form Friends of Distinction.
In 1968, Hall-of-Fame football player Jim Brown heard the group, loved them, and arranged a meeting with RCA Records. The bands first hit, “Grazing in the Grass,” went to #3 on the Hot 100. Two additional singles followed (“Going in Circles” and “Love Is the Way of Life”), but it wasn’t until “Love or Let Me Be Lonely” that the Friends of Distinction returned to the Top 10 for the second (and last) time.
You gotta love the soul-pop arrangements on this song by Perry Botkin Jr.