Formal structure of "Love You To":
Verse 1 0:39-0:58
Middle 8 0:58-1:09
Verse 2 1:09-1:28
Middle 8 1:28-1:35
Middle 8 1:55- 2:06
Verse 3 2:06-2:25
Middle 8 2:25-2:32
Coda (solo) 2:32-3:00
Comments: "Love You To" is the first of several Indian-influenced Harrison compositions that will be difficult to analyze structurally because they are so different from the band's prior recordings. I use the same terms as I have before to maintain consistency, but it is worth noting that what I call a "verse" or "chorus" or "middle 8" here is rather different from how those same terms are used previously.
The intro is again in two parts (like [6b] "A Taste Of Honey",  "Thank You Girl",  "Little Child", [14b] "Roll Over Beethoven",  "You Can't Do That", and [31b] "Matchbox",  "Baby's in Black", [38b] "Mr. Moonlight",  "I Feel Fine", [46e] "Honey Don't",  "Ticket to Ride",  "Run For Your Life",  "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)",  "Day Tripper", and  "If I Needed Someone", and  "Tomorrow Never Knows") although here the first section (the sitar cadenza) is much longer than the second (in which the beat is established).
Both the film and the album Magical Mystery Tour suffered from a lack of discipline. Increased drug use no doubt contributed, but aesthetic principles were at play as well. "Randomness as art appealed to all of the Beatles very much," wrote George Martin wrote in his 1994 book With a Little Help From My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper. "Sometimes, therefore, they would jam for hours in the studio, and we would be expected to tape it all, recognizing the moment of great genius when it came through. The only trouble was, it never did come through. This free-form associative tinkering happened a lot after Pepper on Magical Mystery Tour. It was a side of the Beatles that I found rather tedious. 'If you want to be random, let's be organized about it,' which was definitely not what they wanted to hear when they were in that mood" (page 138).
This indulgence led to the Beatles' interest in the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who advocated a much more spare and natural lifestyle through Transcendental Meditation. In February 1968, the band traveled to Rishikesh, India to pursue the holy man's teachings. At the Maharishi's suggestion, the Beatles formally renounced all drug use. It didn't last. But for the duration of their stay in Rishikesh, all four Beatles were sober. And even by Beatles standards, their Indian respite proved exceptionally fertile, with John, Paul, and George combining to write dozens of songs and song fragments. With no electricity, however, electric guitars were useless, and as a result many of their Rishikesh songs employ acoustic fingerpicking techniques and patterns distinctly different from their previous work, many of which found their way on to their next album, including “Blackbird”, “Dear Prudence”, and “Mother Nature's Son”.
It was also in India that Yoko Ono began to occupy John Lennon's mind. She would send him postcards saying things like, “I'm a cloud in the sky. Look for me.” Lennon, upon receiving these postcards, was supposed to look up, find a cloud, and think of Yoko. Apparently her tactics worked because in the ballad “Julia” (which is another acoustic fingerpicking song), Lennon sings, “ocean child calls me”, referring to Yoko (whose name in Japanese means “ocean child”) and her constant postcards.
The White Album was originally titled A Doll's House (after Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play of the same name) until the progressive rock band Family released their debut album titled Music in a Doll's House on 19 July 1968. (Frankly, A Doll's House might have been the better title given the albums rather disjointed content.) The new album was then changed simply to The Beatles, and the cover left blank white, to be known forever more as The White Album.
Martin, George. With a Little Help from My Friends: The Making of Sgt. Pepper. Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY, 1994.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has received much acclaim for being the first “concept album”, an album in which a single idea unifies the entire recording (as opposed to most albums, which are simply collections of songs without such an overarching principle). In the case of Sgt. Pepper, that concept was the simulation of a live performance by a fictitious band. But Pepper was not the first concept album.
The definition of exactly what a concept album is remains nebulous, but many at least nascent concept albums predate Sgt. Pepper:
Additionally, the status of Pepper as a concept album never sat well with John Lennon. “It doesn't go anywhere,” he said. “All my contributions to the album have absolutely nothing to do with this idea of Sgt Pepper and his band; but it works, because we said it worked, and that's how the album appeared. But it was not put together as it sounds, except for Sgt Pepper introducing Billy Shears, and the so-called reprise. Every other song could have been on any other album” (Anthology, page 241). However, while there are no macro-scale tonal schemes (which would have to wait until Abbey Road) nor any thematic unity present in every song, the album does roughly follow a narrative of watching a single live production. The tracks help with that flow, with the opening title song followed seamlessly by “With a Little Help From My Friends”; then again at the end of the album, the stampede of animals that closes “Good Morning” leads directly into the reprise of the title track – the guitar lick starting the latter attempting to sound like the chicken cluck ending the former, with the reprise in turn segueing into the epic “A Day in the Life”.
So is Pepper a true concept album? Well, yes and no. With strong cases being made both ways, it's one of those times where each listener has to decide for him- or herself exactly what the definition of "concept album" is, and then determine if Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band fits that category. To a certain extent, the question of definition is moot. Shakespeare famously said, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet", and he's right - what you call something does not fundamentally change what that something is. Like the debate over whether Pluto is or is not a planet, the definition can change the answer, but not the object.
Regardless, what Pepper did was bring the idea of a concept album to the attention of the mass media and public – it was (and arguably still is) the most famous example of one. In doing so, Sgt. Pepper legitimized the rock album just as the song “Yesterday” had legitimized the pop song two years earlier - an artistic achievement arguably unequaled before or since.
Beatles. The Beatles Anthology. Chronicle Books, San Francisco, CA, 2000.
This blog is a workshop for developing my analyses of The Beatles' music.