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Love, Reign O'er Me by The Who

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">Album: QuadropheniaReleased: 1973Charted:
76
  • This is the last track on The Who's rock opera Quadrophenia. The main character Jimmy suffers from a 4-way split personality, with each personality reflecting a member of The Who. This is Pete Townshend's theme. The personality is described as "A beggar, a hypocrite, love reign over me."
  • At the end of the story, Jimmy steals a boat and takes it to a rock out on the sea. What happens out on the rock is described in this song.
  • Townshend was a follower of the spiritualist Meher Baba. Meher Baba's teachings were incorporated into some of Townshend's songs, including this one.
  • Townshend (from the Quadrophenia liner notes): "(Love, Reign O'er Me) 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 s--t, 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." (thanks, Jon - Sunnyvale, CA, for all above)
  • In 2007, Adam Sandler starred in a dramatic film titled after this song, named Reign Over Me. Sandler played a widowed dentist who can only relate to old Rock music since losing his family in the September 11th terrorist attacks. The soundtrack of the film featured a cover version of this song by the band Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder is a huge Who fan, and has covered many Who songs in the past. (thanks, Bert - Pueblo, NM)
  • Roger Daltrey was asked by Q magazine March 2008 about Pete Townshend struggling to write songs for his voice. The Who vocalist replied: "It's what makes The Who what it is. That's always been Pete's thing: writing songs with a different lead singer in mind. When you listen to something like 'Love, Reign O'er Me,' he wrote it as an enlightened, spiritual piece of music, and I went and sang it with this scream of frustration from the street. Not what we had in mind. But the great thing about The Who was that we all had the intelligence to realize when someone was putting in something valuable."
  • In a January, 2010 press release, Pete Townshend explained why Quadrophenia remains his most multi-dimensional work. Said Townshend: "Quadrophenia is music, it's angry music, it never lets up, it's full of energy. But it's also simply a story of a kid who has a bad day. It rains and he goes and sits on a rock. And he contemplates the future and the present, and he decides to do something that he's never done before - he prays." (thanks, DeeTheWriter - Saint Petersburg, Russia Federation)
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Comments: 33

One reason for the goosebumps listening to this song is because a lead singer from a rock band, synonymous with the partying lifestyle, excessiveness, sex, drugs, ect. is singing his guts out about LOVE. His most desired excess is love. It all means nothing without love. The lyrics are sung so directly, forcefully, with such intent, it is as if begging,demanding, screaming for love to reign o'er a person in this manner will make it happen. Oh, and it does. It does.Camille - Toronto, Oh
When The Who were feted at the Kennedy Center Awards in Washington, D.C. in 2008 - at rehearsals, the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl heard an R&B singer an predicted, "She is gonna steal the show". Pete Townshend wrote on his blog, "My favorite moment was when Bettye LaVette sang a very fine version of 'Love Reign O'er Me' at the Gala ... and Barbra Streisand turned to ask me if I really wrote it."Ed - Lebanon, Nh
-This killer song could've just as easily been on Tommy as Quad. From the opening mountainous synthesizer strains to the perfect climbing ,building vocals of Roger this is a top 3 power song by THE WHO! Pete is a genius composer/ guitarist /arrainger!Meocyber - Alma, Co
This is a fantastic song. I love it. But-Does anyone see the first line of the song????? The title is: Love, REIGN o'er me. Not Love, RAIN o'er me. "Only love can make it rain?" I love the Who, but that's just f**king stupid.Nate - New York, Ny
It's nice to know that nearly all other posters on here noted Daltrey's stunning vocal performance on this one, arguably his finest in a very long line of songs. I also must comment on the beauty of the piano at the very beginning, which is simple, but the perfect for setting the stage for Daltrey's singing. I have to throw in my two cents on his singing by saying that it is so magnificent that you don't even have to know what the song is about to get goosebumps all the way down your back and both arms when you hear it.Oldpink - Farmland, In
I read liner notes from Townshend's compilation of demos(Scoop)where he stated that the intro was composed entirely on the black keys of the piano. For sure, it's one of his best songs, ever. When you combine great music with emotionally-charged poetic lyrics espressing the depths of spiritual longing, how can you go wrong? Roger Daltrey has always done a superb job of delivering Pete Townshend'slyrics, but he outdid himself on this one.Tony - Eugene, Or
Brad, I like Eddie Vedder on this song also. I think it is Pearl Jam at their best... no offense to Pearl Jam fans. I was blown away that Heart actually has a pretty good version of this also... I never would have believed that if I hadn't heard it with own ears. But Bettye Lavette's version from the Lincoln Center Honors concert was outrageously moving.

Don't get me wrong, Daltrey is the best and I love it everytime I hear The Who play this song, but unlike My Generation and Behind Blue Eyes, there are great covers of Love Reign O'er Me.
S - San Gabriel, Ca
I love this song. Roger Daltrey is an amazing singer.Jessica - San Francisco, Ca
This is a gorgeous song. The lyrics are poetry. It's amazing to me how 4 people can come together with their seperate talents and make something so groundbreaking and amazing. Being a muscian, I can listen to this song and imagine myself there with them, and that's what makes me really not only enjoy this song, but appereciate it as well.Tara - Petoskey, Mi
My eyes well up just at the mention of this song. There is nothing so emotionally charged as Roger Daltrey's performance on this song; and he didn't even write it! A perfectly written and performed climax to The Who's crowning triumph-Quadrophenia.David - Brisbane, Australia
I like pearl jam's version, but I just don't think anybody else can perform this song like the Who. Roger Daltrey's vocals on this track, are, in my opinion his best ever. With that in mind, Eddie Vedder did his best on this song he possibly could, but nobody else can give this song the same power Roger Daltrey did.Brad - Lexington, Ky
Just leaving the room after watching the film when this song came on. Stopped dead in my tracks. It's a very long time since a song or a singer had such an instant impact. Great version by pearl jamGary - Dublin, Ireland
my favorite song of all time...breathtaking...whenever i'm frustrated, i hear this and think that daltrey's voice on this one is like my mind crying out for helpCynthia - Scranton, Pa
Love Reign O'er Me is one of my favorite songs by The Who. I saw them in concert last week and they played this song. Daltrey's vocals during this song are amazing and The Who is definetly worth seeing in concert.Doug - Totowa, Nj
This is such a great song, everyone has their A game here. Pete puts his heart into his guitar leads and synthesizer line, Keith and John hold nothing back, and Roger gives such a bone-chilling vocal performance, the best ever in rock.Ian - Augusta, Me
Adam Sandler plays a widowed dentist, not a widowed songwriter, in the movie Reign Over Me. He listens to 70's and 80's classic rock because it was something he loved in life, prior to falling in love with his wife and children, who he lost in 9/11. In a gut wrenching courtroom scene he breaks into this song, screaming the lyrics like Dalton, so that he won't be able to hear the testimony being presented against him in his competency trail.Sg Milkman - Dfw, Tx
The first time I heard this song I jacked up the volume on the radio all the way. :3 I love it! Amazing song! Also, Pearl Jam's cover really does the song justice.Mickey - Mars, Pa
Daltrey's performance in this song is without a doubt the greatest vocal performance in rock history. And I know I'm not the first one to say this.Scott - Boston, Ma
When I first heard this song...I thought it was sooo intense and piercing. It took me to another place or dimension. The vocals on this (song) is right on; it's perfect. I love the use of the word "reign" which carries a double meaning or a pun? Which in fact is also a homophone. I first thought the artist was saying 'rain' and then realized that the lyrics was actually 'reign' which is also really powerful, because this song carries both meanings well and that I think is really deep.Dee - Indianapolis, In
Roger's voice is so powerful in this song. just, wow. I love it.Melanie - Seattle, Wa
Husband & I just saw Heart cover this song live at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in NY on 27 September 2007 and they really kicked it's butt! It sounded GREAT and Ann belted the vocals to perfection! I was VERY impressed!!!Ange - Up State, Ny
One of the most powerful songs ever written. Daltrey's vocals are incredible. His wail at the end tears your heart open. This is the perfect track for any muddled up teenage boy.

Incidently, the "crashing" sound at the end is Keith Moon walking through his drum kit. Yes, walking THROUGH his drum kit. As the song builds to the climax, we get Moon's customary and incredible "going nuts" bit, Townsend runs his pick down the strings, and Moon ends the song (and the album) by walking through his kit. An under appreciated album at the time (especially in America) it is rightly regarded as masterpiece. I feel its way more accomplished than Tommy.
Craig - Melbourne, Australia
i was totally taken from the first time i heard this song. *powerful*. and i always thought he meant "reign"... never occurred to me as "rain" until i searched for its lyrics in the net.Joycemorrison - Ph
Pearl Jam's cover of this song is in the new Adam Sandler movie "Reign Over Me".Victor - New York, Ny
I think the fact that Reign is spelt the way it is, is purely to add an ambiguous quality to the song.

Rain is often seen as being spiritually cleansing. I love the screaming quality of Rogers voice on this song - like hes crying out to be refreshed.
Lauren - London, England
This song is marvolous and Pearl Jam has done a wonderful cover of it recently.John - Hendersonville, Nc
I totally agree- Roger is a hero on this song. I love how in the title it's "reign," which means that love is going to rule over everything, but that it sounds like "love rain o'er me," which continues all the water imagery.Kristina - Albuquerque, Nm
I love the song, and Roger does an amazing Vocal preformance, it really shows of his voice.Jed - Tulsa, Ok
I can sing as good as Roger Daltrey........not even in my dreams....damnit The Who are the greatest band ever.Tim - Dalton, Ma
Maybe my favorite Who song of all time. Should be included on the best of Who compilations.Danny - New City, Ny
last song on "Quadraphenia". It was written by Pete before the other songs on the album though.Jonothan - Adelaide, Australia
roger daltrey is a god on this song. it's almost impossible to get your voice to do that. it rivals his screams on won't get fooled again.Josh - New York, Ny
This song is a great one. I like the piano part at the beginning.Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc