Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand

Past Masters album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 17 October 1963, 29 January 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 5 March 1964 (Germany)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar, handclaps
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass, handclaps
George Harrison: vocals, lead guitar, handclaps
Ringo Starr: drums, handclaps

Available on:
Past Masters

The German language version of I Want To Hold Your Hand was recorded by The Beatles in Paris in January 1964, along with Sie Liebt Dich, a similar reworking of She Loves You.

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EMI's West German division, Electrola Gesellschaft, had been busily persuading Brian Epstein and George Martin that they would be unable to sell The Beatles' records unless they were in German. Martin agreed with Odeon, and had to convince the reluctant group to comply.

Otto Demmlar, a producer for EMI in Germany, telephoned Camillo Felgen, a singer, lyricist and television and radio presenter, to ask if we would provide German translations of Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich. Felgen was also asked to fly to Paris to teach The Beatles phonetic pronunciations of the two songs.

The group were in France for a 19-day series of concerts at the city's Olympia Theatre. However, getting them to the studio at the allotted hour proved somewhat complicated.

We waited an hour before I telephoned their suite at the George V hotel. Neil Aspinall answered, 'They're in bed, they've decided not to go to the studio.' I went crazy - it was the first time they had refused to do anything for me. 'You tell them they've got to come, otherwise I shall be so angry it isn't true! I'm coming over right now.' So the German [translator] and I jumped into a taxi, we got to the hotel and I barged into their suite, to be met by this incredible sight, right out of the Mad Hatter's tea party. Jane Asher - Paul girlfriend - with her long red hair, was pouring tea from a china pot, and the others were sitting around her like March Hares.

They took one look at me and exploded, like in a school room when the headmaster enters. Some dived onto the sofa and hid behind curtains. 'You are bastards!' I screamed, to which they responded with impish little grins and roguish apologies. Within minutes we were on our way to the studio. They were right, actually. It wasn't necessary for them to record in German, but they weren't graceless, they did a good job.

George Martin
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

In the studio

Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand was the first song to be recorded on the 29 January 1964 session. The original four-track tape of I Want To Hold Your Hand, from 17 October 1963, had been mixed down to two tracks, and onto this they re-recorded their vocals in German.

The Beatles recorded 11 takes; the best were five and seven, and were later edited together with overdubbed handclaps. They then turned their attentions to Sie Liebt Dich and a new song, Can't Buy Me Love.

Felgen used the alias J Nicolas for his songwriting credit - his full name was Camillo Jean Nicolas Felgen. Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich were credited to Lennon/McCartney/Nicolas/Hellmer - the latter presumably being a misspelling of Otto Demmlar's surname.

On all British releases, including the Past Masters album, the songs were given the familiar Lennon-McCartney credit.

11 responses on “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand

  1. mario

    you know, I never realized that on the labels of RARITIES and PAST MASTERS vol.1 about KOMM GIB MIR DEINE HAND and SIE LIEBT DICH there is nothing about the authors of the texts in german. I read that Heinz Hellmer was to write both texts under several pseudonyms like Camillo Jean Nicolas Felgen Lee Montague. What’s the story? Thanks for the name OTTO DEMMLAR (I had never heard).

  2. Tom Wotus

    Listen to the American “SOMETHING NEW” version of KGMDH in STEREO, and you’ll hear a split-second of talk at the opening chord..sounds like PAUL mutterring “KOMM”..it’s mixed out of the remaster.

    1. mja6758

      I am wondering about your source for Otto Demmlar’s role? There’s a discussion on the forum at the moment throwing some doubt on it. The most common reference found for the translator is “a Luxembourger named Camillo Felgen (Camille Jean Nicolas Felgen, 1920-2005)” and that Otto Demlar was an German EMI producer. Could you help?

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