The Paul McCartney Project

I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy

By The Beatles7" Single• Part of the collection “The Beatles • Singles

Timeline See what happened in 1963
UK release date:
Nov 29, 1963
Sessions This album has been recorded during the following sessions

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Track list

Disc 1


1.

I Want To Hold Your Hand

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:28 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass guitar, Handclaps, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums, Handclaps
John Lennon:
Handclaps, Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Handclaps, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


2.

This Boy

Written by Lennon - McCartney

2:13 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar, Vocals
George Martin:
Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Oct 17, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Oct 21, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

About

From Wikipedia:

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 single’s 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 group’s 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 wasn’t so much what I had seen, it’s 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 Albert’s suggestion to him and asked the station’s 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 o’clock, we’ll 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 “Don’t Be Cruel“, that an act had dropped off the top of the American charts only to be replaced by another of their releases. “I Want to Hold Your Hand” also finished as the No. 1 song for 1964, according to Billboard. In 2013, Billboard listed it as the forty-fourth most successful song of all-time on the Hot 100.

With that, the “British Invasion” of America had been launched. Throughout 1964, British pop and rock artists enjoyed unprecedented success on the American charts.

The American single’s 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 the album Meet the Beatles!, which 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 album’s 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. […]

Last updated on February 10, 2016


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