You’re Going To Lose That Girl

Help! album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 19 February, 30 March 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 6 August 1965 (UK), 13 August 1965 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: backing vocals, bass, piano
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, bongos

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Co-written by Lennon and McCartney at the former's home in Weybridge, You're Going To Lose That Girl was recorded three days before The Beatles left England to film Help! in the Bahamas.

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The group performed the song in a sequence in Help!, filmed at Twickenham Studios where they would later make Let It Be. In the scene, The group mimes to the song in a recording studio environment, presumably intended to represent Abbey Road.

The group's performance is curtailed when the gang chasing Ringo cuts a hole around his drum kit from the room below.

You're Going To Lose That Girl is notable for its key change, a rare occurrence in The Beatles' songs. During the bridge the song shifts from E major to G major.

The vocals are perhaps the most impressive of all on the Help! album, with John Lennon's double tracked lead lines creating call-and-response patterns with McCartney's and Harrison's backing vocals.

The lyrics, too, are quintessential early Lennon, warning an unidentified male of his predatory intentions towards his female lover.

In the studio

The Beatles began the song during the fifth recording session for Help!, on 19 February 1965. They recorded just two takes of the backing track, the first of which was a false start, with Lennon's Gretsch rhythm guitar, Paul McCartney's bass guitar and Ringo Starr's drums recorded onto track one of the tape.

During the same session they added some overdubs. Track two contained electric piano by an unknown player, plus a lead guitar by Harrison - these were later wiped. Lennon, McCartney and George Harrison added vocals onto track three, and Lennon double-tracked his lead vocals onto the fourth.

You're Going To Lose That Girl was completed on 30 March 1965, when further overdubs were added. Harrison added a new lead guitar part onto track two, accompanied by bongos and piano, played by Starr and McCartney respectively. The song was mixed on 2 April 1965.

16 responses on “You’re Going To Lose That Girl

  1. Dave Rybaczewski

    Actually, “That Means A Lot” was the last song they recorded before they left for the Bahamas, which was recorded the next day (February 20th). It was also intended for the movie “Help!” but was rejected by Dick Lester. “You’re Going To Lose That Girl” was the last song they recorded that week that made it in the film, however.

  2. brian

    An excellent, classy song that sounds as good on the radio today as it did forty five years ago. But gee, I could be talking about nearly any Beatles song with that comment!

  3. GabrielAntonio

    Funny how John transmits a kind of agressivity in most of the early love songs that he wrote. Run For Your Life is another notable example.
    One of his first girlfriends accuses him of giving her a slap in front of her friends.

    1. Joe Post author

      There’s also You Can’t Do that, which is one of the most nakedly aggressive songs he ever wrote.

      I was reading an interview from 1971/2 recently where Lennon discussed the fracas with Bob Wooler on Paul’s 21st birthday. Lennon said it was the last time he was violent, then added something like “Well, apart from a few times with the wife, of course”. This is followed by giggles from Yoko Ono. When I read it I first presumed he was talking about Cynthia, but Yoko’s response suggests he might just have been joking. It’s difficult to interpret that sort of thing in print, without hearing the actual delivery.

  4. Steve

    There was also a session on 30 March, in which overdubs were recorded. This is mentioned in Lewisohn’s Beatles Chronicle, but not in his Beatles Recording Sessions. Lewisohn says that nothing from the session was used. However, there is a production acetate for the track, which was made for the group to mime to when they filmed the sequence. This has no piano or bongos, and has a different (weaker) guitar solo that is backed by blocked chords on electric piano. George Martin’s notes on the original 19 February session, reproduced in his Playback book, say that a solo guitar and electric piano were recorded on track 2 of the tape. I think that, having made the production acetate, track 2 must have been wiped on 30 March and (non-electric) piano, bongos and new guitar added, even though Lewisohn has these overdubs as also being recorded on 19 February.

    Ringo is seen playing bongos in the film, but the sequence was shot on 30 April, after the overdubs were made.

    1. Joe Post author

      Thanks Steve, I’ve updated the articles. Your interpretation of what happened after the acetate was made tallies with what John C Winn says in Way Beyond Compare, which builds upon and corrects a lot of what’s in Lewisohn’s books.

      I’m still unsure about some of this, though. If the piano was recorded on 19 February (as Winn says), and the final mix was one from 23 February, that suggests that nothing from the 30 March session appears on the record. But the piano can clearly be heard. Winn says the 2 April mixes weren’t used, but as you say the bongos can be heard on the record (and seen in the film). Should we assume that piano and bongos were recorded on 19 February after all, or is the album mix more likely to be one from 2 April?

      1. Steve

        It’s all guesswork (!) but I think the track must have been mixed for mono and stereo on 2 April, and both mixes used for the LP. I’m going on the following: George Martin’s notes say that the 19 February recording was – bass, drums and John on guitar on track 1, solo guitar and electric piano on track 2, and John with George & Paul’s vocals on track 3. I have heard the production acetate, which has that instrumentation. There are no bongos, and the guitar solo is rather weak and is backed by electric piano chords. (Note: *electric* piano, not the acoustic piano in the released track.) The only other session documented is that 30 March session. So my guess is that track 2 was wiped during the 30 March session and a new guitar solo, acoustic piano (played very differently to the electric piano contribution that was wiped) and bongos were added on tracks 2 and 4. This was then mixed – very probably on 2 April.

        I don’t know why Lewisohn says that the acoustic piano and bongos were recorded on 19 February – (i) George Martin doesn’t mention this, and (ii) the production acetate must have been the result of the mixing session on 20 or 23 February, and this has no acoustic piano or bongos. Clearly there must have been recordings made after these mixing sessions, and these recordings must have then been mixed.

        I just looked at Winn, and he seems to say the same – I don’t think he says the 2 April mixes weren’t used, unless I’m reading it wrongly. Interesting he gives no remix number for the mono mix – Lewisohn notes RS3 in the entry for 2 April (though he says it wasn’t used), but doesn’t mention a mono mix.

        I hope I haven’t made it even more confusing. I think I may have. Oh, for a Tardis …

        1. Joe Post author

          Thanks for taking the time on this. I appreciate it. I think you’re right – re-reading Winn, he seems to say it’s the 2 April mixes that did appear on the album, which would make Lewisohn wrong. I assume there was only one mono mix, or else nobody knows how many were made.

  5. William

    I’m not a musician, but don’t you think the bongo playing is totally random?
    Love everything about the song and recording but every time I hear it all I can
    hear are the wacky bongo sounds!

  6. Leo

    At their best again- well weren’t they always. In Australia when the film was aired on TV this song was omitted. It drove me mad because I’d be waiting for it and wAiting for it- Nuts I tell you- but what a song!!!!cant praise their music enough. What a foursome.

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