About The Song
“I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” (originally “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)“) is a soul music ballad written by Otis Redding and Jerry Butler. Considered by music critics and writers to be one of Redding’s finest performances and a soul classic, it is a slow, emotional piece with Redding’s pleading vocals backed by producer Steve Cropper’s arpeggiated guitar parts and a horn section.
Redding recorded the song in 1965 and when released as a single in April 1965, became his second best selling single. The song was subsequently included on his third album, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (1965). The song reached number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 2 on the Billboard Rhythm & Blues chart.
Redding wrote this with Jerry Butler (“For Your Precious Love,” “Only the Strong Survive”) in a Buffalo hotel room. The song finds Otis in a predicament: his love affair is going cold, but he’s been loving her for so long, he can’t stop now.
The title of his best song, written with Impressions front man Jerry Butler, sounds like the first phrase of a Dear John letter—the prelude to a kiss-off. But it’s really a declaration of dependency: “I’ve been loving you too long to stop now.” The woman in a veteran couple is restless and ready to move on, so the singer engages in pleas, threats and mournfully acute observations: “My love is growing stronger as our affair grows old.” That the song could also be about heroin (“You become a habit to me”) cements the similarity of Redding’s lament to Cole Porter’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”: both say that passion is a dangerous drug that the addict doesn’t want to be cured of. Wailing this waltz played in funeral tempo, and backed by a horn section blaring long, mournful notes like a monotone ambulance siren, Redding piles up the agitation until he’s screaming for validation, for pity, for any sign that a lover will be able to sustain the torture he craves.
🎵 Let’s sing along with the lyrics! 🎤
I’ve been loving you too long to stop now
You are tired and you want to be free
My love is growing stronger, as you become a habit to me
Ohh, I’ve been loving you too long
I don’t wanna stop now
With you my life has been so wonderful
I can’t stop now
You are tired and your love is growing cold
My love is growing stronger as our affair, affair grows old
I’ve been loving you oh, too long
I don’t want to stop now, ohh, ohh, ohh
I’ve been loving you a little too long
I don’t wanna stop now, ohh, ohh, ohh
And don’t make me stop now
I’m down on my knees
Please, don’t make me stop now
I love you, I love you, I love you with all my heart
And I can’t stop now
Please, please, please don’t make me stop now
Talkin’ ’bout heart and soul
That I love you
I love you