About The Song

When Will I Be Loved: A Song for the Ages

The Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved” is a rock and roll classic that transcends generations. Released in 1960, the song captured the angst and yearning of young love with its catchy melody, tight harmonies, and relatable lyrics. This song summary dives into the background of its creation, explores its musical style, analyzes its lyrics, examines its cultural impact, and concludes with its lasting legacy.


Written by Phil Everly, the younger brother of the duo, “When Will I Be Loved” emerged at a time when rock and roll was undergoing a significant shift. The era’s earlier rockabilly sound, pioneered by artists like Elvis Presley, was evolving into a more polished and mainstream pop-rock style. The Everly Brothers themselves were transitioning from their Cadence Records contract, known for its rockabilly leaning, to a new deal with Warner Bros., which favored a more pop-oriented approach.

“When Will I Be Loved” served as a bridge between these two eras. While the song showcased the Everly Brothers’ signature tight vocal harmonies, it also incorporated elements of rockabilly with its driving rhythm section and prominent use of the electric guitar riff. This stylistic blend resonated with audiences, propelling the song to become a Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960.

Musical Style

The musical style of “When Will I Be Loved” is a captivating blend of rock and roll elements with pop sensibilities.

  • Driving Rhythm Section: The song opens with a now-iconic, descending four-note electric guitar riff that sets the pace for the entire song. This riff is complemented by a steady backbeat from the drums and a walking bass line, creating a propulsive rhythm section that is characteristic of rock and roll.
  • Tight Vocal Harmonies: The Everly Brothers were renowned for their vocal prowess, and “When Will I Be Loved” is a prime example. Their voices intertwine seamlessly, creating a rich and layered sound that is both powerful and emotive.
  • Pop Sensibilities: Despite its rock and roll foundation, the song incorporates elements that were more characteristic of pop music at the time. The melody is catchy and memorable, with clear hooks in the chorus and bridge sections. The overall sound is polished and radio-friendly, reflecting the evolving tastes of the early 1960s.
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The lyrics of “When Will I Be Loved” explore the universal theme of unrequited love. The narrator expresses his frustration and longing for someone who doesn’t seem to reciprocate his feelings.

  • Simple Yet Powerful Language: The lyrics use simple and direct language that allows listeners to easily connect with the song’s emotional core. Lines like “I keep on asking myself, why do I still love you?” and “I don’t know what to do, but I can’t go on this way” capture the confusion and despair of unrequited love in a way that resonates across generations.
  • Repetitive Chorus: The chorus, with its repeated refrain of “When will I be loved?” serves as a powerful emotional hook, driving home the central question of the song.
  • Shifting Dynamics: The lyrics shift dynamically between verses and bridges. The verses express a more subdued sense of longing, while the bridges become more intense, reflecting the narrator’s growing frustration.

Cultural Impact

“When Will I Be Loved” had a significant cultural impact on the world of music and beyond.

  • Rock and Roll Evolution: The song’s success helped bridge the gap between the earlier rockabilly sound and the emerging pop-rock style. It demonstrated that rock and roll could be catchy, polished, and still retain its emotional core.
  • Cover Songs: “When Will I Be Loved” has been covered by numerous artists across various genres, including Linda Ronstadt (whose version became an even bigger hit in 1975), The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and Bryan Adams. These covers demonstrate the song’s enduring appeal and adaptability.
  • Film and Television: The song has been featured in numerous films and television shows, solidifying its place in popular culture. It has appeared in movies like “Peggy Sue Got Married” and “Forrest Gump,” as well as in television shows like “That ’70s Show” and “The Simpsons.”
  • Teenage Anthem: “When Will I Be Loved” became a relatable anthem for teenagers in the 1960s and remains so today. The song’s themes of young love, insecurity, and yearning resonate with teenagers across generations.
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The Everly Brothers’ “When Will I Be Loved” is more than just a catchy song. It’s a timeless classic that captures the universal struggle of unrequited love. It stands as a testament to the power of music to connect with listeners on a deep emotional level.

Here are some additional points to consider for the conclusion:

  • Enduring Legacy: “When Will I Be Loved” continues to be enjoyed by new generations of listeners. Its presence in popular culture and its frequent covers ensure its continued relevance.
  • Influence on Music: The song’s blend of rock and roll and pop sensibilities influenced countless artists who followed the Everly Brothers. Its impact can be seen in the development of pop-rock throughout the 1960s and beyond.
  • Emotional Resonance: Ultimately, “When Will I Be Loved” endures because it speaks to the human experience. The emotions of longing, frustration, and uncertainty are timeless, ensuring the song’s continued connection with audiences.

In closing, “When Will I Be Loved” is a song that transcends generations. It’s a perfect example of how music can capture a specific moment in time while also remaining universally relatable. With its catchy melody, tight harmonies, and powerful lyrics, “When Will I Be Loved” continues to be a beloved classic, securing its place in the history of rock and roll.

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🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤

I’ve been made blueI’ve been lied toWhen will I be loved?
I’ve been turned downI’ve been pushed ’roundWhen will I be loved?
When I meet a new girlThat I want for mineShe always breaks my heart in two, it happens every time
I’ve been cheatedBeen mistreatedWhen will I be loved?
When I meet a new girlThat I want for mineShe always breaks my heart in two, it happens every time
I’ve been cheatedBeen mistreatedWhen will I be loved?
When will I be loved?When will I be loved?

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