Love You To

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"Love You To"
Song by the Beatles from the album Revolver
Released 5 August 1966
Recorded 11 April 1966,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Indian,[1] raga[2]
Length 3:01
Label Parlophone
Writer George Harrison
Producer George Martin
Revolver track listing

"Love You To" is a song by the Beatles from the album Revolver. It is sung and written by George Harrison and features Indian classical instrumentation: tabla,[3] a pair of hand-drums, sitar and a tambura providing a drone. "Love You To" was the first Beatles song that seriously attempted to incorporate Indian classical music and has even been hailed as the first pop song to emulate a non-western form in structure and instrumentation.[4] As such, it first introduced Western pop music fans to the eastern, Indian music that Harrison would promote for the rest of his career.


As Harrison seldom had titles for his songs, the working title for "Love You To" was "Granny Smith".[5] Lewisohn states that the first basic tracks of the song were taped in Abbey Road's studio two on Monday, 11 April 1966 in sessions between 2.30pm-7pm and 8pm-12.45am.[6] They initially involved Harrison singing to his own acoustic guitar accompaniment, with Paul McCartney supplying backing vocals. The sitar came in at take three and again as an overdub onto take six, along with a tabla, bass and fuzz guitar.[6] Lewisohn specifically states: "George played the sitar but an outside musician, Anil Bhagwat, was recruited to play the tabla."[6]

Harrison had been practising the sitar since he used it to record "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" in October 1965 (he was soon to do so from its leading exponent Ravi Shankar) and Lavezzoli writes that "His playing throughout the song is an astonishing improvement over 'Norwegian Wood'. In fact, 'Love You To' remains the most accomplished performance on sitar by any rock musician."[7] Bhagwat was chosen to play tabla after Harrison had contacted Patricia Angadi, co-founder of London's Asian Music Circle.[8] Bhagwat later recalled of his involvement: "It was only when a Rolls Royce came to pick me up that I realised I'd be playing on a Beatles session. When I arrived at Abbey Road there were girls everywhere with Thermos flasks, cakes, sandwiches, waiting for the Beatles to come out. George told me what he wanted and I tuned the tabla with him. He suggested I play something in the Ravi Shankar style, 16-beats, though he agreed that I should improvise. Indian music is all improvisation."[6][7]

Ringo Starr is the only other Beatle who plays on the song, contributing tambourine. McCartney originally recorded backing vocals for the song but these were left out of the final mix.[5] There have been various suggestions of uncredited personnel from the Asian Music Circle who contributed.[9] MacDonald makes an unreferenced claim that there was an "uncredited sitarist" on this track.[10]

A brief portion of the song was included in the Beatles' animated film Yellow Submarine when Harrison's character is introduced.

Musical structure[edit]

The song is in the key of C Dorian and emulates North Indian Khyal music.[7] Harrison begins by twice stroking his sitar's resonating strings (a common technique before the opening alap segment of a raga).[7] In the alap section (lasting 35 seconds) the melody is previewed, before the tabla, tamboura and percussion commence a Madhya laya (medium tempo) Bandish or gat. [7] This opening "filled with croaking drones, pregnant pauses and softly elasticized notes" has been termed both an evocation of the Mysterious East and a total surprise on such a record, indeed "one of the most brazenly exotic acts of stylistic experimentation ever heard on a popular LP."[11] Some critics consider that the lack of a clearly measured tempo in this overture "sets musical and, in this particular context, spiritual time adrift- until the tune kicks into gear and the singer observes that "Each day just goes so fast." [12] The song otherwise conforms to a basic I-flatVII sparse chord structure with 8-bar verse A sections and 12-bar B sections in an ABAB pattern.[13] The song follows the pitches of Kafi That, the Indian equivalent of the Dorian mode.[14] The "meditative harmonic coloring" provided by the tamboura drone complements the cynical worldview expressed in the lyric: "There's people standing round who screw you in the ground. They'll fill you in with all their sins you'll see," which is answered differently by the sitar in each verse [12][14] The drut (fast tempo) gat does not begin until the very end of the song, pointedly as the vocals fade upon "I'll make love to you, if you want me to."[7]


Personnel per Ian McDonald, except as noted.[16]
Personnel notes
  • A ^ Ian McDonald is uncertain George Harrison plays the sitar on this track. However, Walter Everett and Mark Lewisohn assume that Harrison plays the sitar.
  • B ^ Paul McCartney sang backing vocals in some takes, at a very low volume.

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 175.
  2. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (2 November 2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 53. ISBN 0743201698. 
  3. ^ The Beatles interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  4. ^ Lavezzoli 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Lewisohn 1988, pp. 72–73.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Mark Lewisohn. The Beatles Recording Sessions. Harmony Books NY 1989 session for April 11, 1966 accessed 27 Jan 2011
  7. ^ a b c d e f Peter Lavezzoli. The Dawn of Indian Music in the West. Bhairavi. The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc. New York 2006. ISBN 0-8264-1815-5 ISBN 978-0826418159, 2006. p. 175.
  8. ^ Lavezzoli, p. 176.
  9. ^ The Beatles Online 2010.
  10. ^ Ian Macdonald. Revolution in the Head. 3rd ed Chicago Review Press. Chicago. 2007. p. 194 song [79].
  11. ^ Jonathan Gould. Can't Buy Me Love. The Beatles, Britain and America, Piatkus 2007 p353
  12. ^ a b Reising R and LeBlanc 'Magical mystery tours, and other trips: yellow submarines, newspaper taxis, and the Beatles psychedelic years' in Womack K (ed) The Cambridge Companion to the Beatles. Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2009, p 96
  13. ^ Pedler, Dominic (2003). The Songwriting Secrets of the Beatles. London: Omnibus Press. p. 731. ISBN 978-0-7119-8167-6. 
  14. ^ a b Walter Everett. The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. Oxford Uni Press. NY 1999 ISBN 978-0-19-512941-0 p41
  15. ^ a b Everett 1999, p. 38-41.
  16. ^ MacDonald 2003, p. 194.


External links[edit]