Ten Years After – I’d Love To Change The World

I hear this song and I’m transported to the sixties. As well known as this song is now it only made it to #40 in the Billboard 100 in 1971. It was written and sung by guitarist Alvin Lee. It’s been in many movies and tv shows. When I think of Ten Years After I think of Woodstock and them playing “I’m Going Home” and Alvin Lee playing his guitar like it’s on fire.

The group was formed in 1966. They took their name because it was 10 years after what they considered the birth of rock and roll. The band didn’t play this song live while Albert Lee was a member, as he felt trying to re-create it on stage would be “too restricting.”

From Songfacts

This song was written by guitarist Alvin Lee, who was the centerpiece of the group. “I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do and I’ll leave it up to you. I’m just saying the world does need changing,” he said of the song in Vintage Rock. “I’d love to do it, but I haven’t got the talent. I don’t think I’m a world changer.”

The song is a good look at what were considered the big problems in the world in 1971: overpopulation, economic inequality, pollution, war. Alvin Lee often said in later interviews that the song remained just as relevant despite the passage of time.

The first line in this song throws out a few slurs:

Every where is freaks and hairies, dykes and fairies

“Freaks” and “hairies” are terms that detractors used to describe the band – after all, they did play Woodstock. The dykes and fairies are likely a reflection on how others might see the world, and it also creates a memorable rhyme. Later in the song, Alvin Lee pulls out a rhyme of convenience in the lyrics:

Life is funny
Skies are sunny
Bees make honey
Who needs money?

Formed in Nottingham, England, Ten Years After made a huge impact when they played the Woodstock festival in 1969 – their performance of “I’m Going Home” made the film. They released two albums in 1969, two more in 1970, and one in 1971 – A Space In Time, which contains “I’d Love To Change The World.” Their albums sold well, typically charting in the Top 25 in America, which was their stronghold. Hit singles were not a concern; Alvin Lee had almost a disdain for them because he didn’t want his songs edited down and then talked over by a DJ. “I’d Love To Change The World” was by far their biggest hit and most enduring song. Their other charting songs in America were “Love Like A Man” (#98, 1970), “Baby Won’t You Let Me Rock ‘N Roll You” (#61, 1972) and “Choo Choo Mama” (#89, 1973). The group stopped performing in 1975 but regrouped every now and then. Alvin Lee died in 2013, but the band had been playing without him for about 10 years by that point.

This was used in the trailer for Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. Matt Stone and Trey Parker then used it in the trailer for Team America World Police to lampoon the “Fahrenheit” preview.

I’d Love To Change The World

Everywhere is freaks and hairies
Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity
Tax the rich, feed the poor
Till there are no rich no more?

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

Population keeps on breeding
Nation bleeding, still more feeding economy
Life is funny, skies are sunny
Bees make honey, who needs money, Monopoly

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

World pollution, there’s no solution
Institution, electrocution
Just black and white, rich or poor
Them and us, stop the war

I’d love to change the world
But I don’t know what to do
So I’ll leave it up to you

Author: badfinger20

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

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