A swelling cyclone of synths gives life to Pete Townshend’s unwavering pop-rock solo hit “Let My Love Open the Door.” The 1980 upbeat bop has been featured in more rom-com movie montages than we can count, but the meaning behind the song is not as romantic as some might think. The lyrics take on a more spiritual context when really dissected.
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“Let My Love Open the Door” was released on The Who guitarist’s second solo release, Empty Glass. When released as a single, it quickly became a top 10 hit for Townshend and would be his only solo track to chart as such.
At its height, the artist brushed the song off as “just a ditty,” but later changed his tune, revealing it had a deeper meaning than just a simple love song. It was actually about a holy kind of love.
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“‘Let My Love Open The Door’ is one of those songs where you end up shooting to write something really deep and meaningful, and what you end up coming up with is something that appears to be froth,” he was quoted as saying to Rolling Stone. “This was a song about love, but this is actually about divine love. It’s supposed to be about the power of God’s love, that when you’re in difficulty, whether it’s major or minor, God’s love is always there for you.”
A follower of spiritual leader Meher Baba, Townshend reportedly wrote “Let My Love Open the Door” as a devotion to the guru and his teachings.
“Let My Love Open the Door” opens in a twinkling of synthesizes and a barrage of percussion before Townshend’s vocals cut through. When people keep repeating, he sings in the first verse. That you’ll never fall in love / When everybody keeps retreating / But you can’t seem to get enough…
He launches into the song’s repetitive, yet uplifting chorus, singing Let my love open the door / Let my love open the door/ Let my love open the door (to your heart).
“Let My Love Open the Door” finds Townshend asking listeners to be open to God’s love. When feeling down, or like the odds are stacked against you, there is one place you can turn to find comfort.
When everything feels all over, he sings, Everybody seems unkind / I’ll give you a four-leaf clover / Take all worry out of your mind… As a response to those troubles, the chorus plays again, Let my love open the door.
I’ve got the only key to your heart, Townshend sings from the perspective of a heavenly figure, assuring, I can stop you from falling apart / Try today, you’ll find this way / Come on and give me a chance to say / Let my love open the door / It’s all I’m living for / Release yourself from misery / There’s only one thing gonna set you free / That’s my love.
The chorus comes in again before the artist reminds listeners When tragedy befalls you / Don’t let it drag you down / Love can cure your problems / You’re so lucky I’m around. The song comes to a close in a fade out of Let my love open the doors and glittering synths.
Photo by Rick Kern/Getty Images for The Who