We Love You

"We Love You" is a song by the English rock band the Rolling Stones that was written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. It was first released as a single on 18 August 1967, with "Dandelion" as the B-side. The song peaked at number eight in Britain and number 50 in the United States, where "Dandelion" was promoted as the A-side and peaked at number 14. The recording features a Mellotron part played by Brian Jones and backing vocals by John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles.[3][4]

"We Love You"
Single by the Rolling Stones
A-side"Dandelion" (US)
B-side"Dandelion" (UK)
  • 18 August 1967 (1967-08-18) (UK)[1]
  • September 1967 (US)
RecordedJune–July 1967[1]
StudioOlympic, London
GenrePsychedelic rock[2]
Producer(s)Andrew Loog Oldham
The Rolling Stones UK singles chronology
"Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday"
"We Love You"
"Jumpin' Jack Flash"
The Rolling Stones US singles chronology
"Let's Spend the Night Together" / "Ruby Tuesday"
"We Love You"
"She's a Rainbow"

The single's two tracks were the final Stones recordings receiving a production credit for band manager Andrew Loog Oldham. The recording session represented Oldham's last work with the band before resigning as their producer.


Written in the aftermath of the drugs arrests faced by Jagger and Keith Richards at the Redlands country home of the latter in Sussex that year, "We Love You" opens with the sounds of entry into jail, and a cell door clanging shut. The draconian nature of the sentences handed down to the two Stones relative to the charges prompted a stern editorial in The Times on 1 July 1967, titled "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?", in protest.[5]

The song's lyrics appear to be "a spoof" of the Lennon–McCartney song "All You Need Is Love",[6] which the Beatles performed on the Our World satellite broadcast on 25 June. Alternatively, as Lennon insisted was the case, in his famous 1970 Rolling Stone interview, the lyrics can be seen as echoing the message of the Beatles song, on which Jagger and Richards were among the many chorus singers. On close examination, "We Love You" espouses a strong anti-establishment stance, proclaiming "we don't care if you hound we and lock the doors around we" and "you will never win we, your uniforms don't fit we."[citation needed]

Recording and compositionEdit

The Stones recorded "We Love You" during the sessions for Their Satanic Majesties Request at Olympic Studios during July 1967. The song is a droning, Moroccan-influenced anthem of defiance. Outwardly, it was a message from the band to their fans, expressing appreciation for support in the wake of their recent drug busts, yet it was also a slap in the faces of the police harassing them and the Stones' true feelings about this (as is represented by Jones' surreal Mellotron playing).[7] "We Love You" is a psychedelic collage of jail sounds, Nicky Hopkins' foreboding piano riff, and otherworldly tape-delayed vocal effects, featuring a visiting John Lennon and Paul McCartney on high harmonies. Studio engineer George Chkiantz said that even though there was a delay between hitting the note and the sound coming out of the Mellotron, Jones managed to get "a tight rhythmic punch" for the track.[7]

Mick Jagger was quoted at the time as saying that "We Love You" was "just a bit of fun".[7] The original single releases had a faded-in coda consisting of a short, distorted section of vocals from the B-side, "Dandelion". The same effect, fading in a portion of "We Love You", was used at the beginning of "Dandelion". Musicologist Walter Everett identifies this feature as a response to the Beatles' use of a fade-out/fade-in ending to close their February 1967 single "Strawberry Fields Forever".[8]

Promotional filmEdit

The promotional film for the single was directed by Peter Whitehead. It included footage from recording sessions along with segments that re-enacted the 1895 trial of Oscar Wilde, with Jagger, Richards and Marianne Faithfull respectively portraying Wilde, Marquess of Queensberry, and Lord Alfred Douglas. Footage also appears of Brian Jones, apparently high on drugs with his eyes drooping and unfocused.

The producer of Top of the Pops refused to show the film on that programme. A BBC spokesman said the producer did not think it was suitable for the type of audience who watched Top of the Pops. He went on to say there was not a ban on it by the BBC, it was simply this producer's decision.[7]

Critical receptionEdit

Among contemporary reviews of the single, Chris Welch of Melody Maker described the song as "considerably too much", and said that "The Stones and their highly recognisable friends chant the message while what sounds like mellotron, piano, drums and cymbals move to a monstrous, majestic climax like a soul Ravel."[9] In the NME, Keith Altham identified "Dandelion" as the more "immediate" of the two sides. He described "We Love You" as "a musical-mindjammer with everything going like the clappers ... to provide that special kind of ugly-excitement in sound which is the Rolling Stones speciality", and he concluded: "The basic idea of the song is as simple as 'All You Need Is Love' but the musical holocaust surrounding it is so cleverly produced you will be able to listen to it again and again and still find new ideas."[10]

In the June 1997 issue of Mojo magazine, Jon Savage included the song in his list "Psychedelia: The 100 Greatest Classics". He also wrote: "'We Love You' sounded fabulous on the radio in high summer of '67 with its monster piano riff and Mellotron arabesques hanging in the air. It was only later that you noticed the heavy walking of the prison warden at the song's start or the sarcastic hostility of the lyrics."[11] Author Stephen Davis describes the track as "sensational" and cites Jones' "panoramic Mellotron fanfare" as arguably his "last great contribution" to the Rolling Stones.[12]

In the view of sociomusicologist Simon Frith, writing in 1981, the song was symptomatic of the band's disorientation in the year that "pop" transformed to "rock". He said that the Stones' elevation to "hippie heroes", due to the drug busts, had an adverse effect on their music, since: "for a moment, Jagger and Richards' detached, selfish rock'n'roll commitment was shaken – 'We Love You' and the Satanic Majesties LP were too-obvious attempts to follow the Beatles' psychedelic trip. It wasn't until 1968, when youth politics got rougher, that the Stones made 'Jumping Jack Flash' and became a rock group, translating drug culture back into rock'n'roll terms."[13] Author and critic Philip Norman dismissed "We Love You" as "a single that loses all ironic point in its feeble attempt" to copy "All You Need Is Love", adding that it was part of Jagger's ongoing "obsession" with aligning himself with the Beatles' flower power idealism and trying to match the mystical quality of the band's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.[14] Writing for Mojo in 2002, music critic John Harris said in response to Norman's comments on the song: "Fortunately, nothing could be further from the facts. Its charms are legion: Nicky Hopkins' beautifully mesmeric piano, its opening chorus of sarcastic falsetto voices, mellotron passages … whose eeriness cannot help but evoke the idea of a conspiracy."[15]

Released versionsEdit

The single was included on the UK version of Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) (1969), but was not on the US version (although the B-side "Dandelion" is present on both versions), and does not appear on the current CD version of that album. It was released, however, on some subsequent compilations: More Hot Rocks (Big Hits & Fazed Cookies) (1972), Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones (1975), 30 Greatest Hits (1977), the Singles Collection: The London Years (1989), and GRRR! (50-track and 80-track editions) (2012).

Cover versions of the song were recorded by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gregorian, and Cock Sparrer.


The Rolling Stones[1]

Additional musicians[1]


Chart (1967) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[16] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[17] 14
Germany (Official German Charts)[18] 2
Ireland (IRMA)[19] 14
Norway (VG-lista)[20] 9
UK Singles (OCC)[21] 8
US Billboard Hot 100[22] 50


  1. ^ a b c d e Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel (2016). The Rolling Stones All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. eBook: Hachette Books. ISBN 978-0316317733.
  2. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  3. ^ Banerjee, Subhajit (7 September 2009), "The Beatles: 20 things you did not know about the Fab Four", The Daily Telegraph, retrieved 7 September 2009
  4. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1977). All Together Now – The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975 (Second ed.). New York City: Ballantine Books. p. 82. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
  5. ^ Norman, Philip (2001). The Stones. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. pp. 267–68. ISBN 0-283-07277-6.
  6. ^ "Show 46 - Sergeant Pepper at the Summit: The very best of a very good year. [Part 2] : UNT Digital Library". Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 1 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d The Rolling Stones – Off the Record by Mark Paytress, Omnibus Press, 2005, p. 140. ISBN 1-84449-641-4
  8. ^ Everett, Walter (2009). The Foundations of Rock: From "Blue Suede Shoes" to "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes". New York City: Oxford University Press. p. 154. ISBN 978-0-19-531024-5.
  9. ^ Welch, Chris (19 August 1967). "New Singles from the Stones, Monkees, Jimi Hendrix et al". Melody Maker. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  10. ^ Altham, Keith (12 August 1967). "The Rolling Stones: 'We Love You'". NME. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  11. ^ Savage, Jon (June 1997). "Psychedelia: The 100 Greatest Classics". Mojo. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  12. ^ Davis 2001, pp. 210, 221.
  13. ^ Frith, Simon (1981). "1967: The Year It All Came Together". The History of Rock. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  14. ^ Norman 2001, pp. 286–87.
  15. ^ Harris, John (2002). "Banding Together". Mojo Special Limited Edition: 1000 Days That Shook the World (The Psychedelic Beatles – April 1, 1965 to December 26, 1967). London: Emap. p. 110.
  16. ^ "The Rolling Stones – We Love You" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  17. ^ "The Rolling Stones – We Love You" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  18. ^ "The Rolling Stones – We Love You" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  19. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – We Love You". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  20. ^ "The Rolling Stones – We Love You". VG-lista. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  21. ^ "The Rolling Stones: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  22. ^ "The Rolling Stones Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 17 June 2016.


External linksEdit