John Lennon – “Love” Lyrics Meaning

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Written By Joanna Landrum

Joanna holds a BSc in English Literature and uses her expertise in literary analysis to uncover the deeper meaning of her favorite songs.

 John Lennon’s “Love” explores the different facets of love. It is about the simplicity and complexity of love. Lennon conveys that love is not just an emotion but a state of being, encompassing various aspects of our lives. It’s about the tangible and intangible, the need and the giving, the feeling and the action. Lennon wrote it as a reflection on his own experiences and understanding of love, especially during a time of personal transformation and his relationship with Yoko Ono.

How can a simple word like ‘love’ encapsulate so much? Lennon’s “Love” does just that, and there’s more to it than meets the eye. Get ready for a journey into the heart of one of the most tender and introspective songs ever written.


“Love” Lyrics Meaning

Starting with “Love is real, real is love,” sets the tone for a deeply philosophical exploration. Lennon suggests that love is not just an emotion but an undeniable reality, a fundamental part of our existence.

As the song progresses, each line delves deeper into the nature of love. “Love is feeling, feeling love” and “Love is wanting to be loved” highlight the emotional aspect of love – both in giving and receiving. Lennon reflects on the reciprocal nature of love, emphasizing that it’s not just about feeling love but also about the desire to be loved in return.

In the lines “Love is touch, touch is love,” there’s an emphasis on the physical expression of love. Love is not just an abstract concept but something that can be expressed and felt physically. The line “Love is reaching, reaching love” suggests a yearning or striving towards love, indicating that love is something we actively pursue.

The simplicity of the lines “Love is you / You and me / Love is knowing / we can be” speaks volumes. Here, Lennon touches on the idea of love being a shared experience, a bond between individuals. It’s about connection and the understanding that love enables us to exist harmoniously.

The concluding lines, “Love is free, free is love / Love is living, living love / Love is needing to be loved,” encapsulate the essence of the song. Lennon portrays love as a liberating force, essential for life, and again, highlights the human need to be loved.

The Story Behind “Love”

Post-Beatles, Lennon was exploring new realms of emotional and musical expression, influenced heavily by his relationship with Yoko Ono. This song, part of the “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” album, marked a departure from his previous work, focusing on more introspective and personal themes. The album, known for its raw and minimalist style, reflects Lennon’s state of mind – a mix of vulnerability, introspection, and a search for authenticity. “Love” stands out as a serene and contemplative piece amidst more turbulent tracks. It was written during a time when Lennon was delving deep into his psyche, exploring the concept of primal therapy, and confronting his past traumas. This exploration of his inner self is palpably reflected in the simplicity and depth of the lyrics in “Love.”

The influence of Yoko Ono on Lennon’s life and work during this period cannot be overstated. She was not just a muse but a partner in his creative and emotional journey. Their relationship, often scrutinized and controversial, played a significant role in shaping his perspectives on love, which is evident in the song.

In “Love,” Lennon distills the complexity of his emotions and experiences into a simple, yet profound meditation on what love means. The song is more than just a romantic ballad; it’s a philosophical musing on the nature of love, influenced by Lennon’s journey toward emotional clarity and enlightenment.