In this piece you can see a portion of Fred Rogers’ handwritten lyrics for the song “It’s You I Like.” Fred wrote all of the songs you hear on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and most of them started like this, handwritten in blue ink. This song is appropriate for the month of February and the Valentine’s Day season because it tells you that you do not have to do anything special to receive love. You do not have to look or act a certain way; people can love you just as you are. This song reminds you, too, that you should care for others in the same way. “It’s You I Like” encourages you to love without expectations.
Fred sang “It’s You I Like” in many Neighborhood episodes. Introducing the song in 1971, Fred sang it multiple times until the very last week of programming in 2001. Because the song is so well-known, it is exciting to have this handwritten piece in the Fred Rogers Archive. Some of Fred’s compositions that we house in the Archive are not as widely recognized. There are some songs that are only heard once or a few times on the Neighborhood. There are so many pieces of music because Fred studied composition at Rollins College, and he was a life-long songwriter.
In the book The World According to Mister Rogers, there is a story about a hopeful Fred taking five songs to a famous composer, and then being told to come back after he’d written a barrelful of songs. Reminiscing on that story, Fred wrote, “What he knew was that if I really wanted to be a songwriter, I’d have to write songs, not just think about the five I had written. And so, after the initial disappointment, I got to work; and through the years, one by one, I have written a barrelful. In fact, the barrel’s overflowing now, and I can tell you, the more I wrote, the better the songs became, and the more those songs expressed what was real within me.” That must be why “It’s You I Like” was one of Fred’s favorites. It expresses in words his philosophy on love and caring that he demonstrated on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.