The History-Making ‘Come and Get Your Love,’ From Redbone

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Of the thousands of acts that earned hits in the 1970s, one stands apart for all others for a unique accomplishment. Redbone, which scored a pop hit in the U.S. in 1974 with “Come and Get Your Love,” was the first Native American band to achieve a Top 5 single on the Hot 100.

Redbone had taken its name from a Cajun term for multi-racial individuals or culture and the members of Redbone drew from Yaqui, Shoshone, and Mexican heritage as well with roots in Texas, Louisiana and California. The group’s core musicians, brothers Patrick and Candido “Lolly” Vasquez-Vegas, were born in Coalinga, Calif. (near Fresno), moved to Los Angeles in 1959 and performed for a decade on the club scene as Pat and Lolly Vegas before founding Redbone. Their guitarist, pianist and vocalist was Robert Anthony Avila, though he went by the stage name Tony Bellamy. (He died of liver failure on Christmas Day, 2009, at age 69.)

When “Come and Get Your Love” was released as a single on Epic Records in January 1974, a longer version had been previously available on the group’s fifth studio album, 1973’s Wovoka.

Listen to the album version

The genre-defying group’s multi-cultural musical blend of swamp funk, Tex-Mex, R&B, soul, Native American tribal heartbeats, hummable melodies, gelled into a pure pop masterpiece. (When the song peaked on April 13, 1974, other singles in the Top 10 included Blue Swede’s cover of “Hooked on a Feeling,” Elton John’s “Bennie and the Jets,” and John Denver’s “Sunshine on My Shoulders.”)

Watch Redbone perform their hit on The Midnight Special in 1974

The single was certified RIAA gold, signifying sales of a million copies and entered the pantheon of perennial pop radio standards and classics.

Related: The top-selling albums of 1973

Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” had never had an “official” music video to accompany the track—until 2020. While live versions of Redbone performing the song and static image clips of the song have been online, fans can now enjoy a new short film created with the song specifically in-mind as the soundtrack.

Hailing from Morelia, Mexico, producer and director, Juan E Bedolla (who’s earned two Emmy nominations, worked closely with Native American artist Brent Learned in the creation of a short film chronicling the experiences of a spiritual traveler who leaves home to explore a new world. The film is inspired by a variety of sources, from graffiti to magical realism, mixing reality with the fantastic, the past with the future, and reexamining pop-culture imagery in the context of contemporary events. “Come and Get Your Love” offers a look into the living and changing culture of Native America in the 21st Century through the eyes of the film’s mythic traveler.

Watch the official video for “Come and Get Your Love”

Learned was born and raised in Oklahoma City, and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and known for his colorful, impressionistic portrayals of the Plains Indian way of life. Of the time-traveling central figure in the “Come and Get Your Love” film, he says, “This is a commentary on an overarching idea repeated throughout the video, that of seeking our love/interests in all the wrong places, when often times they are right in front of us; if only we’re willing to look.”

“Come and Get Your Love” has been covered by multiple artists over the years (notably the 1995 Real McCoys’ version), and introduced a new generation of fans to Redbone’s music with its inclusion in the Guardians of the Galaxy film. In 2020, IDW Publishing released an illustrated biography of the group, Redbone: The True Story of a Native American Rock Band, in cooperation with the Vegas family.

On July 27, 2016, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe took their first legal action against the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil route from North Dakota to Illinois that has inspired intense protests and legal battles. (Three weeks earlier, a district court ruled the pipeline must shut down pending an environmental review and be emptied of oil by Aug. 5. On July 9, the Supreme Court ruled that roughly half of Oklahoma was Native American land, in an historic major victory.)

Pat Vegas–Redbone’s founding member, bassist and “Come and Get Your Love” arranger/co-producer–talked about the song and the new video, “We wanted to show that our people were about love…. The chorus—’Come and get your love’—is about pure love, without all the overthinking and trendy phrases. Many think the song is just about a man singing to a woman. It is, but it’s also about the coming together of different peoples….. This visual really takes you on a journey and reminds us that the sky’s not the limit, it’s only the view. It’s something to help the young understand the old, one is silver the other gold, both are valuable. To everyone, I’d like to say, ‘Chioke Uttesia,’ which is ‘thank you’ in Yaqui language.

Redbone albums are available here.

Best Classic Bands Staff

5 Comments so far

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  1. David Y
    #1 David Y 4 August, 2020, 09:38

    An earlier, slower version without the electric sitar was released as a single in the UK entitled “Hail” in 1973. Fortunately they reworked it, and re-released the version we all know and love!

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  2. Lorelei
    #2 Lorelei 21 December, 2021, 12:07

    Come and Get Your Love is one of my all time favorite songs! You hear the start and in just a couple notes you know what great song is playing. I’m so glad that it’s still getting it’s props after all of these years, it’s timeless, and that other people still love it as much as I do! <3

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  3. bradwww
    #3 bradwww 21 December, 2021, 13:47

    theme song to F is for Family comedy show on Netflix.

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  4. BMac
    #4 BMac 16 April, 2024, 11:11

    As popular as that song was, they never charted again. Side mark: Pat & Lolly Vegas wrote P.J. Proby’s “Niki Hoeky”, a hit in, I think, ’67. Redbone recorded it several years later.

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