I Want to Hold Your hand by the Beatles (official video) is a classic rock song.
Song Title: I Want to Hold Your Hand (official video)
Artist: the Beatles
Genre: classic rock, rock, pop
Composer: Copyright © 1963 John Lennon-Paul McCartney
Musical key: G Major
Lead Vocals: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Rhythm Guitar: John Lennon
Bass Guitar: Paul McCartney
Drums: Ringo Starr
Hand claps: George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
Producer: George Martin
Recorded: October 17, 1963, EMI Studios, Studio 2, London, England
Released: 29 November 1963 (UK), 26 December 1963 (US)
Format: 7" 45-rpm vinyl single
B-side: This Boy (UK)
I Saw Her Standing There (US)
Label: Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Rolling Stone 100 Greatest Beatles Songs: I Want to Hold Your Hand (official video) was selected number two (2) in Rolling Stone Magazines 100 Greatest Beatles Songs in 2010. See Rolling Stone.
Number of listens: 23776
Current rank: 45 (updated weekly)
Highest rank: 15 (play the video all the way through to register a vote for this song)
U.S. Billboard Hot 100: 15 weeks, peak #1 (one)
Billboard chart listings courtesy of Billboard Magazine
Summary quotation from Wikipedia:
I Want to Hold Your Hand is a song by the English rock band The Beatles. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded in October 1963, it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment.
With advance orders exceeding one million copies in the United Kingdom, I Want to Hold Your Hand would ordinarily have gone straight to the top of the British record charts on its day of release (29 November 1963) had it not been blocked by the groups first million seller She Loves You, the Beatles previous UK single, which was having a resurgent spell in the top position following intense media coverage of the group. Taking two weeks to dislodge its predecessor, I Want to Hold Your Hand stayed at number one for five weeks and remained in the UK top fifty for twenty-one weeks in total. I Want to Hold Your Hand was the bands first number-one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, starting the British Invasion of the American music charts. The song entered the chart on 18 January 1964 at number 45; by 1 February, it held the number one spot for seven weeks and ended up charting for 15 weeks. It also held the top spot in the British charts. A million copies of the single had already been ordered on its release. I Want to Hold Your Hand became the Beatles best-selling single worldwide.
Background and composition
Although it is said that Brian Epstein had encouraged Lennon and McCartney to write a song to appeal to American listeners this has been denied by George Martin. McCartney had recently moved into 57 Wimpole Street, London, where he was living as a guest of Dr Richard and Margaret Asher, whose daughter, actress Jane Asher, had become McCartneys girlfriend after meeting him earlier in the year. This location briefly became Lennon and McCartneys new writing base, taking over from McCartneys Forthlin Road home in Liverpool. Margaret Asher taught the oboe in the small, rather stuffy music room in the basement where Lennon and McCartney sat at the piano and composed I Want to Hold Your Hand. In September 1980, Lennon told Playboy magazine:
We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in I Want to Hold Your Hand, I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Ashers house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, Oh you-u-u/ got that something
And Paul hits this chord [E minor] and I turn to him and say, Thats it! I said, Do that again! In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that both playing into each others noses.
In 1994, McCartney agreed with Lennons description of the circumstances surrounding the composition of I Want to Hold Your Hand, saying:
Eyeball to eyeball is a very good description of it. Thats exactly how it was. I Want to Hold Your Hand was very co-written. It was our big number one; the one that would eventually break us in America.
The song is in the key of G and opens on Ill tell you with a D-B, B-D melody note drop and rise over a I (G) chord. Controversy exists over the landmark chord that Lennon stated McCartney hit on the piano while they were composing the song. Marshall considers it is the minor vi (Em) chord (the third chord in the I-V7-vi (G-D7-Em) progression). Everett is of the same opinion. Pedler claims, however, that more surprising is the melody note drop from B to F♯ against a III7 (B7) chord on understand. Music theorists are divided over whether this chord is a iii (Bm), a B major, or a B7 or even a B5 power chord with no major or minor defining third.
In the studio
The Beatles started recording I Want to Hold Your Hand at EMI Studios in Studio 2 on 17 October 1963. This song, along with the singles flip side, This Boy, was the first Beatles song to be recorded with four-track technology. The two songs were recorded on the same day, and each needed seventeen takes to complete. Also, the Beatles were experimenting with organ-sounding guitars, which was achieved by extreme compression on John Lennons rhythm guitar. Mono and stereo mixing was done by George Martin on 21 October 1963; further stereo mixes were done on 8 June 1965, for compilations released by EMI affiliates in Australia and the Netherlands, and on 7 November 1966.
I Want to Hold Your Hand was one of two Beatles songs (along with She Loves You as Sie liebt dich) to be later recorded in German, entitled Komm, gib mir deine Hand. Both songs were translated by Luxembourger musician Camillo Felgen, under the pseudonym of Jean Nicolas. Odeon, the German arm of EMI (the parent company of the Beatles record label, Parlophone) was convinced that the Beatles records would not sell in Germany unless they were sung in German. The Beatles detested the idea, and when they were due to record the German version on 27 January 1964 at EMIs Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris (where the Beatles were performing 18 days of concerts at the Olympia Theatre) they chose to boycott the session. Their record producer, George Martin, having waited some hours for them to show up, was outraged and insisted that they give it a try. Two days later, the Beatles recorded Komm, gib mir deine Hand, one of the few times in their career that they recorded outside of London. However, Martin later conceded: They were right, actually, it wasnt necessary for them to record in German, but they werent graceless, they did a good job.
Komm, gib mir deine Hand appeared in full stereo in the United States on the Capitol LP Something New and years later on the Capitol CD compilation called The Capitol Albums, Volume 1.
The German-language track was a big hit in Germany at the time, but today, like all the other German-lyrics versions of English-language pop songs that were popular in that country during the 1950s and 1960s, it is generally considered as a cultural curiosity from a by-gone era at best. The English versions are much better known in Germany today; the Beatles Red and Blue albums of the 1970s already featured the English hits on the German pressings.
Promotion and release
In the United Kingdom, She Loves You (released in August) had shot back to the number one position in November following blanket media coverage of the Beatles (described as Beatlemania). Mark Lewisohn later wrote: She Loves You had already sold an industry-boggling three quarters of a million before these fresh converts were pushing it into seven figures. And at this very moment, just four weeks before Christmas, with everyone connected to the music and relevant retail industries already lying prone in paroxysms of unimaginable delight, EMI pulled the trigger and released I Want To Hold Your Hand. And then it was bloody pandemonium.
On 29 November 1963, Parlophone Records released I Want to Hold Your Hand in the UK, with This Boy joining it on the singles B-side. Demand had been building for quite a while, as evidenced by the one million advance orders for the single. When it was finally released, the response was phenomenal. A week after it entered the British charts, on 14 December 1963, it knocked She Loves You, another Beatles song, off the top spot, the first such instance of the same act taking over from itself at number one in British history, clinging to the top spot for five full weeks. It stayed in the charts for another fifteen weeks afterwards and incredibly made a one-week return to the charts on 16 May 1964. Beatlemania was peaking at that time; during the same period, the Beatles set a record by occupying the top two positions on both the album and single charts in the UK.
EMI and Brian Epstein finally convinced American label Capitol Records, a subsidiary of EMI, that the Beatles could make an impact in the US, leading to the release of I Want to Hold Your Hand with I Saw Her Standing There on the B-Side as a single on 26 December 1963. Capitol had previously resisted issuing Beatle recordings in the US. This resulted in the relatively modest Vee-Jay and Swan labels releasing the groups earlier Parlophone counterparts in the US. Seizing the opportunity, Epstein demanded US$40,000 from Capitol to promote the single (the most the Beatles had ever previously spent on an advertising campaign was US$5,000). The single had actually been intended for release in mid-January 1964, coinciding with the planned appearance of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. However, a 14-year-old fan of the Beatles, Marsha Albert, was determined to get hold of the single earlier. Later she said:
It wasnt so much what I had seen, its what I had heard. They had a scene where they played a clip of She Loves You and I thought it was a great song
I wrote that I thought the Beatles would be really popular here, and if [deejay Carroll James] could get one of their records, that would really be great.
James was the DJ for WWDC, a radio station in Washington, DC. Eventually he decided to pursue Alberts suggestion to him and asked the stations promotion director to get British Overseas Airways Corporation to ship in a copy of I Want to Hold Your Hand from Britain. Albert related what happened next: Carroll James called me up the day he got the record and said If you can get down here by 5 oclock, well let you introduce it. Albert managed to get to the station in time, and introduced the record with: Ladies and gentlemen, for the first time on the air in the United States, here are the Beatles singing I Want to Hold Your Hand.
The song proved to be a huge hit, a surprise for the station since they catered mainly to a more staid audience, which would normally be expecting songs from singers such as Andy Williams or Bobby Vinton instead of rock and roll. James took to playing the song repeatedly on the station, often turning down the song in the middle to make the declaration, This is a Carroll James exclusive, to avoid theft of the song by other stations.
Capitol threatened to seek a court order banning airplay of I Want to Hold Your Hand, which was already being spread by James to a couple of DJs in Chicago and St. Louis. James and WWDC ignored the threat, and Capitol came to the conclusion that they could well take advantage of the publicity, releasing the single two weeks ahead of schedule on 26 December.
The demand was insatiable; in the first three days alone, a quarter million copies had already been sold (10,000 copies In New York City every hour). Capitol was so overloaded by the demand, it contracted part of the job of pressing copies off to Columbia Records and RCA. By 18 January, the song had started its fifteen-week chart run, and on 1 February, the Beatles finally achieved their first number-one in America, emulating the success of another British group, the Tornados with Telstar, which was number one on the Billboard charts for three weeks over Christmas and New Year 1962/63. I Want to Hold Your Hand finally relinquished the number one spot after seven weeks, passing the baton to the very song they had knocked off the top in Britain: She Loves You. I Want to Hold Your Hand sold close to five million copies in the US alone. The replacement of themselves at the summit of the US charts was the first time since Elvis Presley in 1956, with Love Me Tender beating out Dont Be Cruel, that an act had dropped off the top of the American charts only to be replaced by another of their releases.
With that, the British Invasion of America had been launched. Throughout 1964, only British artists flew high at the top of the American charts, including The Dave Clark Five, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks, The Hollies, and Hermans Hermits.
The American singles front and back sleeves featured a photograph of the Beatles with Paul McCartney holding a cigarette. In 1984, Capitol Records airbrushed out the cigarette for the re-release of the single.
I Want to Hold Your Hand was also released in America on Meet The Beatles!, which ground-breakingly altered the American charts by actually outselling the single. Beforehand, the American markets were more in favour of hit singles instead of whole albums; however, two months after the albums release, it had shipped 3,650,000 copies, over two hundred thousand ahead of the I Want to Hold Your Hand single at 3,400,000.
The song was later released on 1964s The Beatles Long Tall Sally, 1966s A Collection of Beatles Oldies, 1973s 1962–1966, 1982s 20 Greatest Hits, and 2000s 1.
The song was greeted by raving fans on both sides of the Atlantic but was dismissed by some critics as nothing more than another fad song that would not hold up to the test of time. Cynthia Lowery of the Associated Press expressed her exasperation with Beatlemania by saying of the Beatles: Heaven knows weve heard them enough. It has been impossible to get a radio weather bulletin or time signal without running into I Want to Hold Your Hand.
Bob Dylan was impressed by the Beatles innovation, saying, They were doing things nobody was doing. Their chords were outrageous, just outrageous, and their harmonies made it all valid. For a time Dylan thought the Beatles were singing I get high instead of I cant hide. He was surprised when he met them and found out that none of them had actually smoked marijuana.
The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, but the award went to Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz for The Girl from Ipanema. However, in 1998, the song won the Grammy Hall of Fame Award. It has also made the list in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fames 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In addition, the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Endowment for the Arts and Scholastic Press have named I Want to Hold Your Hand as one of the Songs of the Century. In 2004, it was ranked number 16 on Rolling Stones list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. In 2010, Rolling Stone placed the song at number two on the 100 Greatest Beatles Songs after A Day in the Life. It was ranked number two in Mojos list on the 100 Records That Changed the World, after Little Richards Tutti Frutti. The song was ranked number thirty-nine on Billboards All Time Top 100. I Want to Hold Your Hand is currently ranked as the twenty-third best song of all time, as well as the number three song of 1963, in an aggregation of critics lists at acclaimedmusic.net. Time included the song on its list of the All-TIME 100 Songs.
The Beatles recording of this song also appeared as the opening track in the 1997 Time-Life 6-CD boxed set, Gold And Platinum: The Ultimate Rock Collection.
Starting at the songs final week at #1 on the American charts, the Beatles had a record of seven #1 songs in one year. In order, these were I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, Cant Buy Me Love, Love Me Do (a somewhat out-of-place 1962 re-release), A Hard Days Night, I Feel Fine, and ending with Eight Days a Week one year later.
Melody and lyrics
Reminiscent of Tin Pan Alley and Brill Building techniques and an example of modified thirty-two-bar form, the song is written on a two-bridge model, with only an intervening verse to connect them. The song has no real lead singer, as Lennon and McCartney sing in harmony with each other. Lennons vocals are more prominent on the recording; however, when the Beatles performed the song on The Ed Sullivan Show on 9 February 1964, McCartneys vocals could be heard more clearly (although this may have been due to the audio mix, as their microphones were not turned to the same sound level).
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