Following the sitar motif on Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), Love You To was The Beatles’ first full attempt at recording a piece of music in the classical Indian style.
At the time George Harrison was learning the sitar from Ravi Shankar, who inspired him to learn more about Indian music and Eastern religion.
I wrote Love You To on the sitar, because the sitar sounded so nice and my interest was getting deeper all the time. I wanted to write a tune that was specifically for the sitar. Also it had a tabla part, and that was the first time we used a tabla player.
Recorded under the working title Granny Smith, Love You To shows Harrison’s burgeoning interest in philosophy, as well as his love for new wife Pattie whom he married on 21 January 1966).
A short extract from the song was included in the animated film Yellow Submarine, in the scene where Harrison’s character first appears.
In the studio
Recording began on 11 April 1966. Take one was George singing while accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, and Paul on backing vocals. Take three saw the introduction of the sitar, which appeared again as an overdub onto take six, along with tabla, bass and fuzz guitar.
Love You To was finished on 13 April. George added more vocals, Ringo played tambourine and Paul contributed falsetto harmonies, left out of the final mix.