“The Book of Love” is a song written by Stephin Merritt and attributed to The Magnetic Fields, an American indie pop group founded and led by him. “The Book of Love” appears on Magnetic Fields’ three-volume concept album69 Love Songs, which contains 69 tracks described as “love songs”, 23 tracks in each of the three volumes. The three-volume album was released in 1999, with “the Book of Love” appearing in volume 1 as track number 12.
It was covered by the American indie band The Airborne Toxic Event in the live album All I Ever Wanted: Live from Walt Disney Concert Hall featuring Calder Quartet. The live recording was released on Island Def Jam Records.
When The Magnetic Fields appeared at The Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith in January 2001 to play the whole of 69 Love Songs, they were joined by Peter Gabriel for an encore of “The Book of Love”. He subsequently recorded the song for the soundtrack of the 2004 film Shall We Dance.
Gabriel’s version also appeared on his 2010 album Scratch My Back. Gabriel originally intended to release Scratch My Back and And I’ll Scratch Yours simultaneously. However, as completion of the latter dragged out, it was instead decided to release a series of double A-sided singles with one song from each album every new full moon during 2010 on iTunes. The first of such singles was actually “The Book of Love” — Gabriel’s cover of a Magnetic Fields song, together with “Not One of Us” — Stephin Merritt‘s (The Magnetic Fields’ frontman) cover of a Peter Gabriel song. The double A side single “The Book of Love” / “Not One of Us” was released on 30 January 2010, on the day of January 2010’s full moon.
On 17 April 2010 “The Book of Love” / “Not One of Us” as well as the follow-ups “Flume” / “Come Talk to Me” were also released on 7″ vinyl to independent record stores.
- Side-A: “The Book of Love” (Peter Gabriel) (3:53)
- Side-B: “Not One of Us” (Peter Gabriel featuring Stephin Merritt) (3:58)