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"Love in Vain" is a 1937 blues song written by Robert Johnson.
The song is noted for its sad lyrics, tone, and style. In the 1991 documentary film The Search for Robert Johnson, John P. Hammond plays Robert's recording of "Love in Vain" for the elderly Willie Mae Powell, the woman for whom it was supposedly written. Johnson moans "Oh, Willie Mae" twice before the last refrain.
Johnson was an admirer of blues singer/pianist Leroy Carr. "Love in Vain" takes its musical structure from Carr's classic "In the Evenin' When the Sun Goes Down". Both songs express a yearning and sorrow for the loss of a lover.
The Shreveport Home Wreckers (a duo of Oscar "Buddy" Woods and Ed Schaffer), recorded their track "Flying Crow Blues" in 1932. Johnson used one set of its lyrics almost verbatim for the final verse of "Love in Vain."
In 2011 the song was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame of the Blues Foundation."Love in Vain" has been covered by many musicians, most famously by The Rolling Stones on their 1969 album, Let It Bleed (although, in the album credits on the original vinyl LP label, the song is listed as written by "Woody Payne", a pseudonym of Robert Johnson's.) The Stones also recorded a live version of the song that appeared on their 1970 album, Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out.

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