Love, Reign o'er Me: Wikis


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"Love, Reign o'er Me"
Single by The Who
from the album Quadrophenia
B-side "Water"
Released October 23, 1973
Format Vinyl
Recorded May 1972 at Olympic Studios, London, England; additional tracks recorded on June 8, 1973 at "The Kitchen"
Genre Rock
Length 5:48
Label Track/MCA
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer Glyn Johns, The Who
The Who singles chronology
"Love, Reign o'er Me"
"The Real Me"
Quadrophenia track listing
"The Rock"
(Track 16)
"Love, Reign o'er Me"
(Track 17)

"Love, Reign o'er Me" is a song by the English rock band The Who. Written by guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend, "Love, Reign o'er Me" was released on October 23, 1973 as the second single from the band's sixth studio album and second rock opera, Quadrophenia (1973). It is the final song on the album, and has been a concert staple for years. It peaked at number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 54 on Cash Box.[1]


Origin and recording

"Love, Reign o'er Me" was written by guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend. "Love, Reign o'er Me", along with "Is It in My Head?" from Quadrophenia, date back to 1972. Both songs were originally intended to be part of the unreleased autobiographical album, Rock Is Dead—Long Live Rock!, which later evolved into Quadrophenia.


"Love, Reign o'er Me" concerns the main character of Quadrophenia, Jimmy, having a personal crisis and stealing a boat to go off to a small island. With nothing left to live for, he finds a spiritual redemption in pouring rain. As Townshend described the song:

[It] refers to Meher Baba's one time comment that rain was a blessing from God; that thunder was God's Voice. It's another plea to drown, only this time in the rain. Jimmy goes through a suicide crisis. He surrenders to the inevitable, and you know, you know, when it's over and he goes back to town he'll be going through the same shit, being in the same terrible family situation and so on, but he's moved up a level. He's weak still, but there's a strength in that weakness. He's in danger of maturing.[2]

Release and reception

"Love, Reign o'er Me" was released as a 7" single. The single release version of "Love, Reign o'er Me" is shorter than the album track, missing the introductory rolling surf sound and the first piano intro and tympani and gong crash, slightly different sequence of the lyrics and ends on string synthesizers with piano rather than the drum solo, guitar, gong and brass explosion as on the album. The single was released with a B-side titled "Water". The song peaked at number 76 on the Billboard Hot 100. Outside the United States, the single was released in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Frontman Roger Daltrey's vocal on the track has been widely praised; Mark Deming of Allmusic noted "Quadrophenia captured him at the very peak of his powers, and "Love, Reign o'er Me" is one moment where his golden-haired rock-god persona truly works and gives this song all the force it truly deserves."[3]

The song was also featured in the 1979 film based on the Quadrophenia album as well as the soundtrack album. The version included on the soundtrack features an added string arrangement and the ending is a few seconds shorter than the album version. The song served as inspiration for the title of the 2007 film, Reign Over Me, and was also featured extensively throughout the film.

Live performances

"Love, Reign o'er Me" was first performed live on The Who's Quadrophenia tour from 1973 to 1974, but it was dropped after the tour. It was returned to The Who's setlist for the 1982 farewell tour of North America. The band performed it at its one-off performance at Bob Geldof's Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London, England on July 13, 1985. When The Who performed Quadrophenia in its entirety in the summer of 1996, the band was joined by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour on the song. At The Who's July 1, 2002 concert at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California (the first after bassist John Entwistle's death), it was brought back, and it was most recently performed on the band's 2009 tour. At the 2008 Kennedy Center Honors, the tribute to Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey included a widely-praised performance of "Love, Reign o'er Me" by soul singer Bettye LaVette.[4] Live performances of "Love, Reign o'er Me" can be found on the live albums Who's Last and Join Together.

Track listing

All songs written by Pete Townshend.

7" Vinyl (US)
  1. "Love, Reign o'er Me" – 3:07
  2. "Water" – 6:25
7" Vinyl (Belgium and The Netherlands)
  1. "Love, Reign o'er Me" – 3:07
  2. "Is It in My Head?" – 3:46

Chart positions

Chart (1973) Position
US Billboard Hot 100 76

Pearl Jam Cover

"Love, Reign o'er Me"
Single by Pearl Jam
Released February 23, 2007
Format Digital download
Recorded 2006 at Studio X, Seattle, Washington and Southern Tracks Recording and Doppler, Atlanta, Georgia
Genre Alternative rock
Length 5:34
Label Monkey Wrench
Writer(s) Pete Townshend
Producer Brendan O'Brien, Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam singles chronology
"Love, Reign o'er Me"
"The Fixer"

The American rock band Pearl Jam released a cover of "Love, Reign o'er Me" for the 2007 film, Reign Over Me,[5] which took its name from The Who's song. Pearl Jam's version is played over the end credits of the movie.


Origin and recording

Actor Adam Sandler approached vocalist Eddie Vedder after a 2006 Pearl Jam concert in Los Angeles, California about covering "Love, Reign o'er Me" for the film.[6] Vedder was reluctant at first, however he agreed to do the cover only after talking to Daltrey, who called Vedder and gave his approval.[7] Guitarist Mike McCready said, "I knew he'd put everything into it, because he'd know Pete Townshend might someday listen to it."[6]

Release and reception

The cover of "Love, Reign o'er Me" made a world premiere on the KISW radio station on January 8, 2007. The track appears on Pearl Jam's 2006 fan club Christmas single along with a cover of "Rockin' in the Free World" featuring Bono and The Edge from U2. The cover was also made available commercially as a single download from iTunes on February 23, 2007. Pearl Jam's version of the song peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks chart.

Live performances

Pearl Jam first performed its cover of "Love, Reign o'er Me" live at the band's June 26, 2007 concert in Copenhagen, Denmark at the Forum.[8] It was one of two songs the band performed for VH1 Rock Honors: The Who in July 2008. Live performances by Pearl Jam of "Love, Reign o'er Me" can be found on various official bootlegs.

Chart positions

Chart (2007) Position
US Mainstream Rock Tracks[9] 32
US Pop 100[9] 97



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