Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Power of Lyrics - "The Love You Take, is Equal to the Love You Make."

"...The love you take is equal to the love you make." - Lennon/McCartney
(from the song "The End" from The Beatles album, Abbey Road -1969 [w/solos - Click for Video])

The final song from the final album (yes, I know - Let It Be was released after Abbey Road, but as you all know, Abbey Road was recorded last.) This is not only an apropos swan song for a band that preached love and peace, and the only one that features instrumental solos from all four Fabs (especially Ringo's renowned solo), but a lyric that is oft-quoted and a sentiment that we all should embrace. Yet as much as this lyric speaks to me - and far (far) be it for me to second guess The Beatles - upon closer analysis I find the thought - as phrased - a bit flawed.

"The love you take..." is a harsh thought that makes one think of force. I would think a better phrase would be "The love you receive" or "The love you get back" - I believe either is closer to the intended sentiment.

The remainder of the phrase " equal to the love you make." makes it sound like simply "you get what you give" which in and of itself is OK, but not as encompassing as it could be. You get a dime because you gave 10 pennies. To me it makes love sound like it needs to be or it is nothing more than an equitable exchange.

Knowing Beatle lyrics as well as I do, and having read and listened to hundreds of hours of interviews and personal writings by the lads, I feel that what they were really meaning to say is not "The love you give is equal to the love you receive in return" but
was more along the lines of "The more you put out there, the more your efforts will be rewarded."

Right or wrong this is what I take from the phrase. It's not about the receiving or the taking of Love. It's about the giving, the making. We should be putting it out there, regardless of whether it is returned in kind. Interestingly, in the 1939 MGM Film, The Wizard of Oz, I find a similar sentiment in a similarly mis-phrased thought (to my thinking): "A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others." This is what The Wizard tells Tin Man when he bestows the silk heart. This also seems to point to the merits of 'taking love' over 'giving love' - the flawed sentiment that seems prevalent in our society (or in mankind in general).

But back to The Beatles. The intent of their lyric seems to me to be more of a wish for us, along the lines of: "may you receive as much love as you give (if not more)" - a reminder that you don't get it if you don't give it. So give it... freely and often. The more you love, the more you are loved in return.

"And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make."

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