The Beatles' music: quotes and info

“Do You Want to Know a Secret”

Beatles quotes about “Do You Want to Know a Secret”

JOHN 1980: “Well, I can’t say I wrote it ‘for’ George. My mother was always… she was a good comedienne and a singer. Not professional, but she used to get up in pubs and things like that. She had a good voice. She could do Kay Starr. She used to do this little tune when I was one or two years old… she was still living with me then. The tune was from a Disney movie: (sings) ‘Do you want to know a secret? Promise not to tell? You are standing by a wishing well.’ So, I had this sort of thing in my head, and I wrote it and just gave it to George to sing. I thought it would be a good vehicle for him, because it had only three notes and he wasn’t the best singer in the world. He has improved a lot since then; but in those days, his ability was very poor.”

PAUL 1984: “A song we really wrote for George to sing. Before he wrote his own stuff, John and I wrote things for him and Ringo to do.”

GEORGE 1994: “‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’ was my song on the album. I didn’t like the vocal on it. I didn’t know how to sing.”

About “Do You Want to Know a Secret”

“Do You Want to Know a Secret”, composed in autumn 1962 by John Lennon, was credited to “McCartney–Lennon” in the 1963 version by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas (a UK No. 2). The song was inspired by Lennon’s mother, Julia Lennon, who would sing to him as a child a charming tune from Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs known as “I’m Wishing”.

The first two lines of the song in Disney’s movie (“Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell?”) come right after the opening lyrics (“You’ll never know how much I really love you… You’ll never know how much I really care…”).

As McCartney has stated, the song was a 50-50 collaboration written to order, i.e, for Harrison to sing. However, Lennon, who has always claimed ownership of the song, commented on it in a 1980 interview, saying that the moment he finished writing it, he realized that it was going to be perfect for Harrison to sing it.


  • George Harrison – lead vocals, acoustic guitar (right channel)
  • John Lennon – acoustic guitar (left channel), backing vocals
  • Paul McCartney – bass guitar, backing vocals
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tapped drumsticks

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