Love Ain't for Keeping
|"Love Ain't for Keeping"|
|Song by The Who from the album Who's Next|
|Released||14 August 1971|
|Recorded||Spring 1971, Olympic Studios, London|
|Genre||Rock, folk rock, country rock|
|Producer||The Who, Glyn Johns|
|Who's Next track listing|
"Love Ain't for Keeping" is a song written by Pete Townshend and originally released by The Who on their 1971 album Who's Next. It is the shortest and one of the lightest songs on the album, and one of the few songs on the album not to use synthesizers. It was originally written for Townshend's abandoned Lifehouse project. Its themes include the joy of physical love, the power of nature and the need to live for the moment.
Music and lyrics
At two minutes and ten seconds, "Love Ain't for Keeping" is the shortest song on Who's Next. It is also one of the lightest songs on the album. However, a demo version of the song, recorded in New York with Kit Lambert producing, was more of a hard rock song. This version included electric guitars and synthesizers, but these were excluded from the version of the song on Who's Next. The hard rock version of "Love Ain't for Keeping" was used as the concert opener for Who live shows for a period.
"Love Ain't for Keeping" was originally conceived as part of Townshend's abandoned Lifehouse project. It has been described as "a blues-tinged country love song." The lyrics project optimism and contentment and the themes of the song include the peaceful joy of physical love, the power of nature and the need to live for the moment, indeed to share love rather than "keep" it. For example, the lyrics include:
- Rain is coming down
- But I know the clouds will pass
- Lay down beside me
- Love ain't for keeping.
The song has a bouncy tempo. The instrumentation of "Love Ain't for Keeping" is dominated by multitracked acoustic guitars, played by Townshend, including an acoustic guitar solo. Keith Moon's drumming is more restrained than usual. Moon plays a Ludwig drum kit on this song, rather than his usual Premier kit. John Entwistle's bass playing is also relatively restrained. It is one of the few songs on Who's Next not to use synthesizers. Allmusic critic Tom Maginnis describes Roger Daltrey's vocal as using a "clear, soaring voice," and singing sweetly for the line "Lay down beside me/Love ain't for keeping." "Love Ain't for Keeping" segues into the following song on Who's Next, "My Wife."
A version of "Love Ain't for Keeping" appeared on the 1998 reissue of The Who's Odds and Sods album. Townshend included a version of the song on his solo album The Lifehouse Chronicles. Milton Mapes covered the song on the 2004 album Who and Who.
- Maginnis, T. "Love Ain't for Keeping". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- Charlesworth, C. (1995). The Complete Guide to the Music of The Who. Omnibus Press. p. 43. ISBN 0-7119-4306-0.
- Atkins, J. (2000). The Who on record: a critical history, 1963–1998. McFarland. pp. 154, 159. ISBN 978-0-7864-0609-8.
- Mendelsohn, J. (January 22, 1997). "Who's Next". Rolling Stone Magazine. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- Grantley, S. & Parker, A.G. (2010). The Who by Numbers. Helter Skelter Publishing. pp. 92–93. ISBN 978-1-905139-26-2.
- Unterberger, R.. "Odds and Sods". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- Jurek, T. "The Lifehouse Chronicles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-11-30.
- "Who and Who". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-11-30.