"Love To Be Loved" as written by and Peter Gabriel....
So, you know how people are
When it's all gone much too far
The way their minds are made
Still, there's something you should know
That I could not let show
That fear of letting go

And in this moment, I need to be needed
With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [Repeat x2]
Yes, I love to be loved

I cry the way that babies cry
The way they can't deny
The way they feel
Words, they climb all over you
'Til they uncover you
From where you hide

And in this moment, I need to be needed
When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
In this emptiness and fear,
I want to be wanted
Cause I love to be loved
I love to be loved [Repeat x2]
Oh I love to be loved

This old familiar craving
I've been here before, this way of behaving
Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
Let it pass let it go let it leave
From the deepest place I grieve
This time I believe

And I let go [Repeat x2]
I can let go of it
Though it takes all the strength in me
And all the world can see
I'm losing such a central part of me
I can let go of it
You know I mean it
You know that I mean it
I recognize how much I've lost
But I cannot face the cost
Cause I love to be loved

Yes I love to be loved
I love to be loved
[Repeat x3]

I love to be loved

I love to be loved
Yes I love to be loved


Lyrics submitted by Novartza

"Love to Be Loved" as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Love To Be Loved song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentOne of PG's best songs...I think it's very powerful, and I can really relate to it. As for meaning, it's fairly obvious: It's about longing to be wanted, loved, and being alone.
    llowellon February 24, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWhy does Peter have to keep writing songs that relate so well to me?
    Cotygeekon July 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationThis song is clearly about depression.
    svenzaon January 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRecently did some spring cleaning, and came across this CD which I remember how much I liked back then,
    especially this particular song. This is one of my faves from Peter, and resonates deeply for me, since going
    through a very difficult divorce, this song really speaks to me. I love the keys, bass, and percussion on
    this song. Major props to the musicians on this album, there is some serious talent on it.
    This song is about depression, lonliness, fear, loss, longing. What I am uncertain is if he's letting go i.e.,
    giving up completely, or that he has hope that he will find love and happiness someday. The line "this
    time I believe" is where I'm misled. I'd like to think on the positive.
    shane31270on May 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn my opinion, this song is about letting go of a relationship, but it's likened to an addiction of some sort. "Loving to be loved" is considered a bad thing.


    So, you know how people are
    When it's all gone much too far
    The way their minds are made
    ("This time you've gone too far..." People's minds are made to crave what they love. Sometimes this wanting is taken too far.)
    Still, there's something you should know
    That I could not let show
    That fear of letting go
    (The narrator wants to throw away his addiction, but he's too afraid of letting go of it. What if the consequences of quitting are worse than the consequences of not getting help?)
    And in this moment, I need to be needed
    With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
    In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
    Cause I love to be loved
    I love to be loved [Repeat x2]
    Yes, I love to be loved
    (This is a description of the "addiction". It's not an addiction to any physical substance- in fact, it is an addiction to the intangible emotion of love. The narrator considers himself weak for needing this, needing to be needed, liking to be liked, wanting to be wanted, and loving to be loved. Yet sometimes in dark moments, it can't be helped.)

    I cry the way that babies cry
    The way they can't deny
    The way they feel
    (Self-explanatory? The narrator cries from wanting, and from shame of wanting. When babies cry, they don't have to hide it, because they're too young to not show emotions. They "can't deny the way they feel".)
    Words, they climb all over you
    'Til they uncover you
    From where you hide
    (Not quite sure how to interpret this line. I kind of imagine words of conversations seeking out this person in hiding, who is desperately holding his hands over his ears in an attempt not to hear the words. So maybe it's the voice of the narrator's addicition calling him back, or the voice of his subconscious telling him to change. Either way, the narrator does not want to listen to this voice, or else he wouldn't need to be uncovered by the words it speaks.)

    And in this moment, I need to be needed
    When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
    In this emptiness and fear,
    I want to be wanted
    Cause I love to be loved
    I love to be loved [Repeat x2]
    Oh I love to be loved

    This old familiar craving
    I've been here before, this way of behaving
    Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
    (The narrator is very familiar with his "addiction", and is tired of having to give in. He doesn't know how he is helping anyone with his behavior, including himself.)
    Let it pass let it go let it leave
    From the deepest place I grieve
    This time I believe
    (The narrator tells his hungry feelings of want to leave him, and as he gets rid of the love he craves, he also grieves for its loss. But this time, he believes he can go through with it.)
    And I let go [Repeat x2]
    I can let go of it
    (He realizes he's strong enough to continue without the love that the relationship gave him.)
    Though it takes all the strength in me
    And all the world can see
    I'm losing such a central part of me
    I can let go of it
    (Even though it's nearly physically weakening to let go of the relationship, taking all of the narrator's strength, and even though it's obvious that he's hurting from letting go, he is sure that he can indeed let go of it.)
    You know I mean it
    You know that I mean it
    (The narrator convinces himself, and whoever's listening, that he's better off without it. But...)
    I recognize how much I've lost
    But I cannot face the cost
    Cause I love to be loved
    (...he realizes exactly how much he's lost from releasing himself from the relationship, and can't face the cost of his actions. He can't bring himself to end the relationship. And so he goes back to where he started, loving to be loved, addicted to this painful relationship because he can't imagine the consequences of living without it.)

    Yes I love to be loved
    I love to be loved
    [Repeat x3]

    I love to be loved

    I love to be loved
    Yes I love to be loved


    Well, I used to think this was a positive song, but after interpreting the lyrics I'm not so sure... One thing I am sure of is how achingly sad it is to hear the line "I'm losing such a central part of me". I can really relate in some strange way to the narrator's pain. The album this song is on, Us, is full of these moments, such as in the bridge section of Washing of The Water.
    EnduringChillon June 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIn my opinion, this song is about letting go of a relationship, but it's likened to an addiction of some sort. "Loving to be loved" is considered a bad thing.


    So, you know how people are
    When it's all gone much too far
    The way their minds are made
    ("This time you've gone too far..." People's minds are made to crave what they love. Sometimes this wanting is taken too far.)
    Still, there's something you should know
    That I could not let show
    That fear of letting go
    (The narrator wants to throw away his addiction, but he's too afraid of letting go of it. What if the consequences of quitting are worse than the consequences of not getting help?)
    And in this moment, I need to be needed
    With this darkness all around me, I like to be liked
    In this emptiness and fear, I want to be wanted
    Cause I love to be loved
    I love to be loved [Repeat x2]
    Yes, I love to be loved
    (This is a description of the "addiction". It's not an addiction to any physical substance- in fact, it is an addiction to the intangible emotion of love. The narrator considers himself weak for needing this, needing to be needed, liking to be liked, wanting to be wanted, and loving to be loved. Yet sometimes in dark moments, it can't be helped.)

    I cry the way that babies cry
    The way they can't deny
    The way they feel
    (Self-explanatory? The narrator cries from wanting, and from shame of wanting. When babies cry, they don't have to hide it, because they're too young to not show emotions. They "can't deny the way they feel".)
    Words, they climb all over you
    'Til they uncover you
    From where you hide
    (Not quite sure how to interpret this line. I kind of imagine words of conversations seeking out this person in hiding, who is desperately holding his hands over his ears in an attempt not to hear the words. So maybe it's the voice of the narrator's addicition calling him back, or the voice of his subconscious telling him to change. Either way, the narrator does not want to listen to this voice, or else he wouldn't need to be uncovered by the words it speaks.)

    And in this moment, I need to be needed
    When my self-esteem is sinking, I like to be liked
    In this emptiness and fear,
    I want to be wanted
    Cause I love to be loved
    I love to be loved [Repeat x2]
    Oh I love to be loved

    This old familiar craving
    I've been here before, this way of behaving
    Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
    (The narrator is very familiar with his "addiction", and is tired of having to give in. He doesn't know how he is helping anyone with his behavior, including himself.)
    Let it pass let it go let it leave
    From the deepest place I grieve
    This time I believe
    (The narrator tells his hungry feelings of want to leave him, and as he gets rid of the love he craves, he also grieves for its loss. But this time, he believes he can go through with it.)
    And I let go [Repeat x2]
    I can let go of it
    (He realizes he's strong enough to continue without the love that the relationship gave him.)
    Though it takes all the strength in me
    And all the world can see
    I'm losing such a central part of me
    I can let go of it
    (Even though it's nearly physically weakening to let go of the relationship, taking all of the narrator's strength, and even though it's obvious that he's hurting from letting go, he is sure that he can indeed let go of it.)
    You know I mean it
    You know that I mean it
    (The narrator convinces himself, and whoever's listening, that he's better off without it. But...)
    I recognize how much I've lost
    But I cannot face the cost
    Cause I love to be loved
    (...he realizes exactly how much he's lost from releasing himself from the relationship, and can't face the cost of his actions. He can't bring himself to end the relationship. And so he goes back to where he started, loving to be loved, addicted to this painful relationship because he can't imagine the consequences of living without it.)

    Yes I love to be loved
    I love to be loved
    [Repeat x3]

    I love to be loved

    I love to be loved
    Yes I love to be loved


    Well, I used to think this was a positive song, but after interpreting the lyrics I'm not so sure... One thing I am sure of is how achingly sad it is to hear the line "I'm losing such a central part of me". I can really relate in some strange way to the narrator's pain. The album this song is on, Us, is full of these moments, such as in the bridge section of Washing of The Water.
    EnduringChillon June 22, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI love this song. To me, this song is about something I can really relate to - the need for approval. That;s what the "addiction" really is. It's about needing to get a "fix" of approval from other people and though you know it's not healthy and you shouldn't need it... you still want it anyway. That's why when your "self-esteem is sinking" you need to get a hit of approval or "love". That's what this "old familar craving" is - and I think Peter is saying that it starts when you're a baby and something that can be useful and healthy can eventually long outlive its usefulness when you are looking for it from people who can't give it and yet you somehow need it anyway.
    jpx2222on February 16, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's about the basic human need to feel loved and to be loved. We all deny it at some point, but we each crave it to one degree or another. And each person, to some degree, fears emotional intimacy (while some, of course, fear sexual intimacy as well). It's about the push - pull of wanting to let go, but then changing course because it's too emotionally risky, so we push others away. And it's a never-ending cycle for some. The song most likely speaks to everyone on some level. I know that I desire love and attention, but at the same time I find ways to keep people distant (i.e. my weight). I laugh and joke and most think I am extremely secure. Nobody wants others to know they can be hurt easily. Good song in that it is relevant. I prefer his lil' froggy song due to obvious reasons (the beat and energy...of course), but this song is still good.
    IllToast2Thaton February 16, 2013   Link

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