My Top 1000 Songs #254: We Love You
Back in middle school, as my initial introduction to music via Top 40 AM radio evolved into a deep dive into classic rock history, my initial explorations of the Stones naturally centered on Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, and their essential collection of 60s singles, Hot Rocks. It took a few more years for me to stumble onto the sequel to that collection, More Hot Rocks. I wasn't a fan of the early singles found on sides 1 & 4 of the oddly-configured double-LP; but the psychedelic-era tracks in the center captured my imagination. Hot Rocks had inexplicably skipped over the Stones' brief psychedelic period, so it came as a surprise to find a handful of songs that sounded a lot like the Beatles circa Sgt. Pepper/Magical Mystery Tour. I was very much getting into late 60s psych by then--Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd and the early Moody Blues were getting a lot of play on my turntable--and I thought these tunes were great.
Beyond the two best songs from the band's underrated (and these days more favorably perceived) Satanic Majesties Request, More Hot Rocks included other tracks that would've fit in well on that LP, like "Dandelion" and "Child Of The Moon." But my favorite of them all was the 1967 single "We Love You," probably the trippiest, most Beatlesque of the batch (aided in part by a guest visit from Lennon & McCartney on the backing vocals). The piano & bass figure at the center of the song was entrancing, Jagger was at his most playful (with that weird recurring "we" usage--"We love you, and we hope that you will love we too")--and the song was embedded with Brian Jones' creepy mellotron and the odd echoing footsteps and clanging prison gates. (I later learned the song's back-story, written in reaction to the recent arrest of Jagger & Richards on drug charges.)
At the time, the band's short-lived pivot into psychedelia (and particularly Satanic) were greeted with some disdain, but the song belies any suggestion that the Stones weren't suited to the task. (I later re-built my own version of Satanic Majesties by adding "Love," "Dandelion," and "Child," and it's infinitely better.)