We Love You" is a rock song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, first released as a single in the UK by The Rolling Stones on 18 August 1967, with "Dandelion" as the B-side. It reached the top ten in Britain, peaking at No. 8, but only made it to No. 50 in the US, where "Dandelion" (which reached No. 14) was promoted as the A-side. The song features uncredited backing vocals by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Recorded on 12 June, during the sessions for Their Satanic Majesties Request, the song is a droning Moroccan influenced anthem of defiance. Outwardly, it was a message from the band to its fans, expressing appreciation for support in the wake of their recent drug busts. It was also an ironic, tongue in cheek slap in the faces of the police harassing them and the Stones' true feelings about it, putting on a cooperative and friendly face while inside they were seething with anger and indignation (as is represented by Brian Jones' surreal Mellotron in the background). "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 you have the delay between hitting the note and the sound coming out of the Mellotron, Jones managed to get "a tight rhythmic punch" for that record.
Mick Jagger was quoted at the time saying the song was "just a bit of fun".
All of the original single releases have a faded-in distorted coda of a short section of vocals from "Dandelion" (usually missing from the album and CD versions).
Allen Ginsberg was in London for a pro-marijuana rally in Hyde Park. He met Jagger at McCartney's house, and Jagger invited the Beat poet to that night's session with McCartney and Lennon to recorduncredited backing vocals for "We Love You". Ginsberg, waving his Shiva beads and a Tibetan oracle ring, conducted the singers from the other side of the studio glass to the tempo of the stuttering Mellotron track. "They looked like little angels," he wrote later of the Stones and Beatles, "like Botticelli Graces singing together for the first time."
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, the single 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 by The Times in protest. The song's lyric, seemingly "a spoof"or echo of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" (which Lennon, in his famous 1970 Rolling Stone interview, insisted it was) broadcast from earlier in the summer, on closer examination espouses a strong anti-establishment posture, 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."
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 andMarianne Faithfull respectively portraying Wilde, a judge 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 stated the producer didn't think it was suitable for the type of audience who watches Top of the Pops. He went on to say there wasn't a ban on it by the BBC, it was simply this producer's decision.
The single was included on the UK version of Through the Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) but was not on the US version (B-side "Dandelion" is present on both versions), and so is not on the version currently available on CD. It is however available on four other compilations: More Hot Rocks, the Singles Collection: The London Years, Rolled Gold+: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones, and GRRR!. The remastered version of this track released on the More Hot Rocks collection omits the snippet of "Dandelion" included at the end of the original single version; instead the voice of Lennon saying "Your health!" ends the song.
Cover versions of "We Love You" were recorded by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gregorian and Cock Sparrer. The song was also sampled by British EDM artist Jimmy Rotten on the track "Love You Like a Rolling Stone".