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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Can’t Buy Me Love” (Take 2 unadorned)

Posted by on December 17, 2012 at 6:00 am.

Welcome to The Beatles Rarity Of The Week. Just before their legendary first visit to America, The Beatles spent three weeks in France. On January 14th, 1964 the band flew from London to Paris where they did several interviews for French radio and television and also performed two live concerts at the Olympia Theatre on January 16th. On January 29th, they went over to EMI’s Pathe Marconi Studios to record their translated versions of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (“Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand”) and “She Loves You” (“Sie Liebt Dich”) for release on a German single.

After these two tracks were ready, the boys still had some studio time, so they decided to record a song Paul McCartney had written on the George V Hotel piano. The song had the working title “Money Can’t Buy Me Love” and originally started out with the first verse but when producer George Martin made the suggestion of starting it up with the chorus, they decided they liked that better.

John Lennon plays acoustic guitar on the recording and George Harrison plays lead guitar including the middle solo. Both John and George handle the call and response backing vocals. Paul plays bass and sings the lead vocal and, of course, Ringo Starr mans the drums.

On the first take John gets a little too bluesy with the backing vocals. The second take goes over okay until we reach George’s guitar solo which is needing lots of work. Paul is singing “everybody’s heard it so” instead of “everybody tells me so” at this point and has a little bit of a vocal flub-up in the final verse. Take 2 is heard on The Beatles Anthology 1 CD set but George’s botched solo has been replaced with the better solo he does on take 1. For this week’s BROW I am sharing with you the unadorned take 2 which contains the original guitar solo and unlike the Anthology account, it also includes Paul’s count-in.

The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love

The Beatles at the George V Hotel in Paris France, 1964

The Beatles at the George V Hotel in Paris France, 1964


Extra info:
The session continued with take three which broke down in the second verse because Paul sang lyrics that were from the first verse. Take 4 became the master and was taken back to London for overdubs. The title was shortened to “Can’t Buy Me Love” and became a number one single in the the U.K. and America and was featured twice in The Beatles first movie A Hard Day’s Night later in the year.

The music of The Beatles make great holiday gifts! Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) Anthology 1 – 1995 2-CD collection of Beatles out-takes, live recordings and extras. Includes an “improved” version of take 2 of “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

2) A Hard Day’s Night 2009 stereo CD remaster of original 1964 LP, including final version of “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

3) A Hard Day’s Night 2012 remastered vinyl version of original 1964 LP, including final version of “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

4) A Hard Day’s Night 2002 remastered 2-DVD set with original 1964 film and lots of extras. Includes two film sequences for “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

5) I Wanna Be Santa Claus – 1999 CD of holiday tunes by Ringo Starr.

6) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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  • Elliott Marx says:

    I loved the “too bluesy” backing vocals. There are few things worse than a solo that is not coming out the way you intend. At least George was in the safety of a studio and not on stage. I’ve been on stage playing worse. The embarrassment comes in horrible waves, making you want to simply walk off stage and head straight for the parking lot.

  • 0dd1 says:

    George…ouch. I can see why he wouldn’t want to have that solo on anything officially released!

    On the other hand, messed up as it is, it’s still better than any sort of solo I’ve ever attempted. :P

    • Happy Nat says:

      The tag line on the site used to be “Bringing you the best and worst of The Beatles, since 2007″ but a lot of people didn’t like that and I changed it to what it is now…”For those of us who like our Beatles rare…” I guess this would have been one of those that would make the other tag line fit better. Sometimes things are rare for a reason, lol. But don’t we love it all anyway? I know I do.

  • Elliott Marx says:

    I absolutely love the attempt that George made. I love even more that it was simply that, an attempt. First and foremost the Beatles were exceptional composers. This solo was still being composed, and that is what makes this take revealing and humanizing.

  • Mark Boersma says:

    The backing vocals make this version SO much superior to the released version. I’m aghast that someone made the decision to drop the call-and-response.

  • Stacia says:

    Sometimes when I hear the official version of this song I sing the background vocals from this version. I feel like this is one of the rare instances where a previous version is better than the official!

  • selwyn katz says:

    It beats me why they dropped the backing vocals on the final mix—perhaps a comment from Paul would help—could have been George Martin’s Idea -after all he was the ”fifth” Beatle in the studio and was responsible for a lot their final arrangements.–can you research that. ??? –Thanks for the super post–historical magic never heard before.

    • Happy Nat says:

      They wanted the song to have more of a basic rock feel to it and the prominence of the backing vocals diluted that somewhat. John’s and George’s “ooh, just can’t buy” and “ooh, satisfied” vocals were left in however which in the end they felt was adequate.

  • selwyn katz says:

    Hi Happy Nat—Its still rocks better with the backing vocals–but we never would’ve been non the wiser anyway.–By the way I wonder if there’s any dusty tapes of Johns original Help version on piano–John wrote it as a Ballad I believe–then changed it to uptempo.
    Would be interesting–but thats probably hoping for too much—thanks for the reply.

  • Robert says:

    By any chance, do you have take one of Can’t Buy Me Love?

  • selwyn katz says:

    George Martin had complete musical control over them in the studio right from Love me do . It makes me wonder what the Fab Four would have sounded like without him….better maybe ..??

  • selwyn katz says:

    George Martin had complete musical control over the Fab Four..right from Love me do. Makes me wonder what they would have sounded like had they been given their own final judgement as to their final takes..??? A better sounding Beatles by the sounds of things.???

  • Pat says:

    “Paul is singing “everybody’s heard it so”…”

    Are you sure he isn’t singing “everybody said it’s so?”

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