- Published on 1966
- Author: Harrison
- Track 4 on “Revolver“
George Harrison’s quotes about “Love You To”
GEORGE 1966: “I play sitar on another track. I don’t care if everybody is using ’em, you know. I just play it ‘cuz I like it.”
GEORGE 1980: “‘Love You To’ was one of the first tunes I wrote for sitar. ‘Norwegian Wood was an accident as far as the sitar part was concerned, but this was the first song where I consciously tried to use the sitar and tabla on the basic track. I overdubbed the guitars and vocals later.”
About “Love You To”
“Love You To,” written and sung by George Harrison, features Indian instruments such as sitar and tabla. The Beatles’ first song to fully reflect the influence of Indian classical music was “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” in 1965. A number of Indian musicians from the Asian Music Circle in London participated in Harrison’s recording; he created the track without much involvement from his bandmates.
Composition adheres to the Indian equivalent of Dorian mode and emulates the khyal vocal tradition of Hindustani classical music. As a musical inspiration, Harrison looked to master sitarist Ravi Shankar, who soon became his sitar tutor. “Love You To” incorporates philosophical themes influenced by Harrison’s experiments with LSD as well as lyrical references to his wife, Pattie Boyd. The song represented one of the first instances of the Beatles expressing an ideology aligned with that of the counterculture at the time it was released.
“Love You To” has been hailed by musicologists and critics for presenting a non-Western music form to rock audiences in an authentic and non-parodic manner. A slow sitar introduction to the song is described by Jonathan Gould as “one of the most brazenly exotic acts of stylistic experiment ever heard on an LP”. Ronnie Montrose, Bongwater, Jim James, and Cornershop have covered the song.
Meaning of “Love You To”
The lyrics of “Love You To” by George Harrison, as performed by the Beatles, explore themes of love, spirituality, and Eastern philosophy.
The song begins with lines like:
“Each day just goes so fast I turn around, it’s past
You don’t get time to hang a sign on me“
The lyrics express the idea that time passes quickly, and the narrator feels a sense of impermanence in life. “Love You To” suggest an appreciation for the fleeting nature of life and the importance of cherishing moments of love and connection while they last. Throughout the song, Harrison draws on themes of mortality, change, and the search for deeper meaning. The lyrics are infused with Eastern spiritual concepts, reflecting Harrison’s growing interest in Hindu philosophy and meditation.
“Love You To” can be interpreted as a reflection on the impermanence of life and a call to embrace love and spiritual understanding in the face of this transience. The song’s Indian musical influences also contribute to its distinctive and evocative atmosphere.
- George Harrison – lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar, sitar, rhythm guitar, fuzz-tone lead guitar
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal
- Ringo Starr – tambourine
- Anil Bhagwat – tabla
- Unnamed musicians from the Asian Music Circle – sitar, tambura