“Young Hearts Run Free” was written by its producer David Crawford. According to Staton, the song’s genesis was a conversation she had with Crawford over lunch in Los Angeles: Staton – “Dave Crawford was always asking me: ‘What’s happening in your life’…and I was then with someone I shouldn’t have been with and it was hard getting out of that…very abusive relationship”…”I noticed that Crawford was taking notes, and he said, ‘You know, I’m gonna write you a song. I’m gonna write you a song that’s gonna last forever.'”
Released in 1976 from the album of the same title, it spent a week at number one on the Hot Soul Singles chart. It also peaked at number twenty on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Along with the tracks “Run to Me” and “Destiny”, “Young Hearts Run Free” went to number eight on the dance/disco charts. “Young Hearts Run Free” was one of only two songs by Staton to reach the top 10 on the UK Singles Chart, it peaked at number two behind The Real Thing’s “You to Me Are Everything”. The 1976 single releases had “I Know” on the B-side.
The song is referenced in Staton’s 1978 single “Victim” in the lyrics, “I became a victim of the very song I sing, I told you “young hearts run free”. When I didn’t listen to myself . . .”
In 1999 Candi Staton recorded a new dance version of “Young Hearts Run Free”. It peaked at #29 in the UK.