The Rolling Stones

We Love You

Song Review by

After being arrested as part of an allegedly framed drug bust at Keith Richards' estate, Mick Jagger made like a contemporary Oscar Wilde and penned the lyrics to "We Love You" from a holding cell, offering a word of thanks to the band's supporters, fans, and the editorial page of the London Times, who urged judicial restraint in the case. In the flower-power parlance of the era, Jagger takes the high road and turns the other cheek, gently portraying the authorities as neo-fascists, while the singer and his ilk exist outside of and above it all: "We don't care if you hound we/And love is all around we/Love can't get our minds off we love you/You will never win we/Your uniforms don't fit we/We forget the place we're in 'cause we love you." Employing help on background vocals from the Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who were returning the favor of Jagger and Richards singing on their "All You Need Is Love" single, "We Love You" opens up with the ominous sounds of a jail-cell door slamming and boot steps climbing stairs. While the song is a harbinger of the psychedelic forays to come on the Stones' next album, Their Satanic Majesty's Request (1967), the song remains footed in the band's familiar blues and R&B terrain. A driving and insistent piano riff from Nicky Hopkins makes up the foundation of the song, which also veers into such typically post-Sgt. Peppers flourishes as Mellotron string parts, flutes, and brass punctuation, all played by resident musical prodigy Brian Jones. But along the way there are other inspired and more traditional performances, such as Bill Wyman's funky R&B bass line and Charlie Watts' Bo Diddley-beat drum fills. Jagger, Richards, and the two Beatles' vocals soar against the building, violent, pseudo-Arabic climax. Released as a single in the U.K., it went to number eight. In the States, "We Love You" was released as the B-side to "Dandelion." The legendary comic-relief punk rock band the Damned, noted Stones aficionados, covered "We Love You," which they released on their Sessions of the Damned, a collection of BBC sessions. Their version speeds up the tempo and accents the rock aspects of the song, thrashing away on buzzsaw guitars but also nodding to its psychedelic origins with wah-wah guitar solos and multi-layered vocals.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Through the Past, Darkly: Big Hits, Vol. 2 1969 ABKCO Records 0:00
More Hot Rocks (Big Hits and Fazed Cookies) 1972 ABKCO Records 4:19
Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones 1975 Universal Distribution
Stones Story 1976 Decca
No Image 1977 Arcade Music
The Complete Singles Collection: The London Years 1989 ABKCO Records 4:36
No Image 2001 Decca Bootleg
Singles 1965-1967 2004 ABKCO Records 4:38
GRRR! 2012 ABKCO Records 4:22
The Rolling Stones in Mono 2016 ABKCO Records 4:37