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The Beatles Songs: Love You To

The history of this classic Beatles song

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The Beatles Songs: Love You To

The original UK sheet music for "Love You To"

rarebeatles.com

Love You To

Working title: Granny Smith
Written by: George Harrison (100%)
Recorded: April 11, 1966 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England) and April 13, 1966 (Studio 3, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: April 11 and 13, May 16, June 21, 1966
Length: 2:57
Takes: 7

Musicians:

George Harrison: lead vocals (multi-tracked), acoustic guitar (1963 Gibson "Super Jumbo" J-200), lead and rhythm guitar (1961 Sonic Blue Fender Stratocaster), sitar
Ringo Starr: tambourine
Anil Bhagwat: tabla
Asian Music Circle musicians: sitars, svarmandal, tamboura

Available on: (CDs in bold)
Revolver (UK: Parlophone PMC 7009; PCS 7009; US: Capitol (S)T 2576; Parlophone CDP 7 46441 2)

History:

  • After hearing the sitar while in India during the filming of Help!, George Harrison became quite taken with the instrument, and attending a London concert by the great sitar master Ravi Shankar in late 1965 only intensified it. When the sessions for Revolver came about, George's entire output on sitar had been limited to one somewhat clumsy line on the Rubber Soul track "Norwegian Wood." Now, however, Harrison felt he'd improved enough to try something bolder -- a Western song based around the drone of traditional Indian music, with full Indian orchestration.
  • On April 11, after final overdubs on "Got To Get You Into My Life," Harrison laid down the song - a mystic rumination on the importance of love versus the acceleration of time and the greed of the human spirit - on acoustic guitar. Then the guitarist called a friend, Ayana Angadi, co-founder of the Asian Music Circle, a collection of Indian musicians from London's northern Finely area. (George had met Angadi after his sitar string broke during "Norwegian Wood"; calling the British Embassy to find another one, they were put in touch with the circle.)
  • Two days later, limos arrived to pick up members of the circle and bring them to Studio 3 to add Indian instrumentation to "Love You To." The mediator between Harrison and the circle was tabla player Anil Bhagwat, the only musician from the group to be credited on the album (and the first outside musician to be given credit on any Beatles album). George suggested that the band start, as they normally would, with a free-form improvisation called an alap; at the end of the song, the group were encouraged to speed up and go into a free-for-all known as a razakhani, or a fast gat. The two jams and the overdubs onto the song proper (the dhrupad) were then edited into a seamless whole.
  • The only other Western instrumentation heard on "Love You To" is a fuzztone guitar played (by Harrison) with a pedal to create the illusion of a drone, which can be heard on every other bar in the chorus, and a faint electric rhythm guitar in the right channel; Ringo's tambourine was then added, and George's double-tracked vocals were double-tracked yet again. Paul had contributed a high harmony to George's vocal, but this was never used. (You can hear George's guide acoustic guitar faintly, all the way to the right of the stereo mix.)

Trivia:

  • Contrary to rumor, Ravi Shankar did not play the sitar riff heard throughout the song; George claims only that he plays a sitar, but does not specify if it is the lead one. Many musicians have doubted that George had developed sufficiently to play these solos.
  • The mono mix of this song extends the gat jam at the end another 14 seconds. It is preserved in CD mixes.
  • As a bit of an in-joke, when George's character first appears in the film Yellow Submarine, the intro to this song can be heard.
  • The title is a transposition of the lyric "I'll make love to you." It's not sure why the change was made, although the fact that Harrison waited until the very last minute to submit a title means that this may in fact may have been a simple error. "Granny Smith," the original working title, is a kind of apple - the exact kind later used for the Apple Records logo!

Covered by: Jim James, Bongwater, Ronnie Montrose, The Trypes, Don Randi Trio

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