The Paul McCartney Project

That Means a Lot

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the That Means A Lot 7" Single.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1965

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions

"Help!" Session #6

Feb 20, 1965

"Help!" Session #7

Feb 23, 1965

"Help!" Session #9

Mar 30, 1965

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

That Means a Lot” is a song written (mainly) by Paul McCartney, but credited to Lennon–McCartney. It was released in 1965 by P.J. Proby. Proby’s version reached #24 on the NME chart. Prior to the release by Proby, the Beatles recorded a version that was intended for the Help! film and soundtrack. The Beatles were dissatisfied with the song and their version was not released until the Anthology 2 CD in 1996.

Lennon said at the time, “This song is a ballad which Paul and I wrote for the film but we found we just couldn’t sing it. In fact, we made a hash of it, so we thought we’d better give it to someone who could do it well.” In an interview with Mark Lewisohn in 1988, McCartney said, “There were a few songs that we were just not as keen on, or we didn’t think they were quite finished. This was one of them.

P.J. Proby version

Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ business manager, gave the song to Proby, another of the acts he managed. Proby was introduced to Epstein by Jack Good who had created numerous television shows including Around The Beatles. Proby released “That Means a Lot” in September 1965. His version was produced by Ron Richards, arranged and conducted by George Martin.

Beatles’ version

Multiple takes of the song were recorded by the Beatles on 20 February and 30 March 1965. The three takes recorded on 30 March were markedly different from the original but not more successful.

The song is credited to Lennon–McCartney, but in his 1980 interview with Playboy Magazine, Lennon claimed the song was written by McCartney. Music critic Ian MacDonald speculated that “Lennon may have helped with the lyric, the middle eight, and the arrangement“. He had harsher words to say about the song, describing it as “a botch, rightly excluded from the Help! album” and “the structure sounds wrong and, at worst, seems completely arbitrary“. He also claims it as “an attempt to rewrite Lennon’s Ticket to Ride… to which take 1 of ‘That Means a Lot’ bears a blatant resemblance” and that it “reveals the Beatles in the unfamiliar roles of blunderers in the dark“. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 20 Feb 1965.
    CD: Apple CDP 8 34448 2 Anthology 2 1996.

This is probably the 1965 mono mix, and it sounds a little distorted. The same mix was slated for the Sessions LP and has appeared on bootlegs (a remake in March has also been bootlegged).

Last updated on May 26, 2016

Officially appears on

That Means A Lot

7" Single • Released in 1965

Studio versionA

The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away

Official album • Released in 1979

2:33 • Studio versionA

Anthology 2

Official album • Released in 1996

2:27 • OuttakeB • Take 1

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Piano, Vocals
Ringo Starr :
John Lennon :
Backing vocals, Maracas, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison :
Backing vocals, Lead guitar, Maracas

Session Recording:
Feb 20, 1965
Studio :
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Take It Off!

Unofficial album

3:43 • Outtake • Take 1

Complete Controlroom Monitor Mixes - Volume 1

Unofficial album

2:30 • Studio version

Unsurpassed Masters Vol. 2 (1964-1965)

Unofficial album • Released in 1989

2:28 • Outtake • Take 2

Help! - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

3:00 • Alternate take • That Means A Lot (Take 1 Dry Mix Stereo)

Help! - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

0:44 • Alternate take • That Means A Lot (Take 3 Rehearsal Take 1 Stereo)

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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