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“Hold Me Tight”

What the Beatles said about “Hold Me Tight”

JOHN 1980: “That was Paul’s. Maybe I stuck some bits in there… I really don’t remember. It was a pretty poor song and I was never really interested in it either way.”

PAUL 1988: “I can’t remember much about that one. Certain songs were just ‘work’ songs… you haven’t got much of a memory of them. That’s one of them. You just knew you had a song that would work, a good melody. ‘Hold Me Tight’ never really had that much of an effect on me. It was a bit Shirelles.”

PAUL circa-1994: “‘Hold Me Tight’ was a failed attempt at a single which then became acceptable album filler.”

Info about “Hold Me Tight”

“Hold Me Tight” was first recorded during the Please Please Me album session, but not selected for inclusion and re-recorded for their second album.

The song was composed principally by Paul McCartney in 1961, and was part of the Beatles’ stage act until 1963. They attempted to record it for their debut Please Please Me but the 13 takes recorded were deemed unsatisfactory, and the tape was destroyed. Seven months later, they recorded a further nine takes, and the final version is an edit of the sixth and ninth takes from the second attempt, varispeeded up a semitone to F major.

“Hold Me Tight” has similarly been held in low regard by music critics. In their book The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, Roy Carr and Tony Tyler call it the album’s poorest track, saying it “fails because McCartney’s vision of the complete tune obviously sagged somewhat”. They also claim that McCartney’s singing was “out of tune”.

Ian MacDonald, in his book Revolution in the Head, says that the song’s bad reputation is partly undeserved, adding: “Play it loud with the bass boosted, and you have an overwhelming motoric rocker strongly redolent of the band’s live sound. “Writing for Rolling Stone, Rob Sheffield describes “Hold Me Tight” as “horrifying” and says that it saves the band’s cover of “Till There Was You”, also released on With the Beatles, from being their “all-time ghastliest moment”.

McCartney wrote a different song called “Hold Me Tight” for a medley included on the 1973 Wings album Red Rose Speedway.

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – vocal, bass, handclaps
  • John Lennon – harmony vocal, rhythm guitar, handclaps
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitar, handclaps
  • Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps
  • George Martin – producer
  • Norman Smith – engineer

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