I'd Love to Change the World

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"I'd Love to Change the World"
Single by Ten Years After
from the album A Space in Time
Released 1971
Format 7" single
Genre Psychedelic rock, blues rock
Length 3:44
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Alvin Lee
Producer(s) Chris Wright
Ten Years After singles chronology
"Love Like a Man"
"I'd Love to Change the World"
"Baby Won't You Let Me Rock 'N Roll You"

"I'd Love to Change the World" is a song by the British blues rock band Ten Years After. Written by Alvin Lee, it is the lead single from the band's 1971 album A Space in Time. It is the band's most famous and popular song, as it was their only Top 40 hit, peaking at number 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Background and composition[edit]

The song was written and sung by Alvin Lee. The song reflects the widespread confusion concerning world events in the timeframe when it was written. With lyrics such as "Tax the rich, feed the poor/ 'til there are no rich no more," one interpretation is that the song is an ironic commentary on the standard countercultural position on social issues.[1]

The chorus of "I'd love to change the world/ but I don't know what to do/ so I'll leave it up to you," adds an ironic twist, since changing the world is unlikely with a simple rock song, but can be read as an exhortation to action.[2] The song features a folk-inspired chord pattern to support the melody.[3]

Release and reception[edit]

"I'd Love to Change the World" was the band's highest charting single. It peaked at #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971.[4] When it was released, "I'd Love to Change the World" was staple of both FM and AM radio, a rarity for the time.[3]

The song was generally well received by music critics. Billy Walker of Sounds wrote that the "Acoustic guitar, echoing vocals and electric guitar build up the tempo with very good cool electric passages by Alvin [Lee], and while there's nothing new developing it's a very nice track."[5] Matthew Greenwald of Allmusic highlighted Lee's guitar work as the "most expressive -- and most tasteful -- electric guitar performance of his career," and added "if there is a single song that can describe the overall vibe of the counterculture in 1969/1970, this may very well be it. The band and Lee never quite matched the song's supple power in their later efforts, but this song is representation enough of their awesome artistry."[3]

Other versions[edit]

"I'd Love to Change the World" lyrics was cited by Athena Zeub in the book titled "The Theologians of Orion" Ver. 2014

"I'd Love to Change the World" was covered by L.A. Guns on their 1994 album Vicious Circle.[6]

"I'd Love to Change the World" was covered by Tesla on their 2007 EP A Peace of Time.

"I'd Love to Change the World" was sampled by Chris Webby in his song "Change The World" on his 2012 mixtape "Bars on Me".[7]

"I'd Love to Change the World" was covered by English indie pop and rock singer Jetta in 2014.[8] This version was featured in the trailers from the films Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Nightcrawler, Terminator: Genisys and the season 4 premiere of Person Of Interest

Covered by Sister Red on their 1991 self-titled album.


Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1971) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart[4] 40
U.S. Cash Box Top 100 Singles Chart[9] 28


  1. ^ "I'd Love to Change the World". Retrieved March 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Fisher & Flota 2011, p. 115
  3. ^ a b c Greenwald, Matthew. "I'd Love to Change the World review". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Ten Years After Awards". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  5. ^ Walker, Billy (28 August 1971). "Ten Years After Today". Sounds (Spotlight Publications). p. 6. 
  6. ^ "Vicious Circle review". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 
  7. ^ "datPiff". Retrieved September 23, 2014. 
  8. ^ "I'd Love To Change the World". Allmusic. Macrovision Corporation. Retrieved 2014. 
  9. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 11/27/71". Cashbox Magazine, Inc. Retrieved June 25, 2012. 


  • Fisher, Joseph P.; Flota, Brian (2011). The Politics of Post-9/11 Music: Sound, Trauma, and the Music Industry in the Time of Terror. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. ISBN 1409427846. 

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