Hold Me Tight

With The Beatles album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 11 February, 12 September 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 22 November 1963 (UK), 10 April 1964 (US)

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

Available on:
With The Beatles

Although released on their second album With The Beatles, Hold Me Tight was originally attempted by The Beatles during the mammoth 11 February 1963 session that yielded the bulk of songs for Please Please Me.

Hold Me Tight - With The Beatles
That was Paul's. Maybe I stuck some bits in there - I don't remember. It was a pretty poor song and I was never really interested in it either way.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Hold Me Tight was an early Lennon-McCartney original, written at the latter's home in Forthlin Road, Liverpool, and featured in The Beatles' live set from 1961 to 1963.

When we first started it was all singles and we were always trying to write singles, That's why you get lots of these two minute 30 second songs; they all came out the same length. Hold Me Tight was a failed attempt at a single which then became an acceptable album filler.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

In the studio

The group recorded 13 takes of the song on 11 February 1963, although when it was deemed surplus to requirements the tape was destroyed. Seven months later they resurrected it for With The Beatles, completing it in nine attempts on 12 September 1963.

The nine takes were numbered 20-29. The album version was an edit of takes 26 and 29; the edit was made by George Martin on 30 September.

I can't remember much about that one. Certain songs were just 'work' songs, you haven't got much memory of them. That's one of them.
Paul McCartney
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles evidently didn't rate the song too highly, and the fluffed lyrics, lack of bass in the mix and McCartney's often out-of-tune vocals suggest they didn't take the recording too seriously either.

That was unfortunate, because the recording - which was varispeeded to raise the key from E to F, adding drive and energy - is generally held to be a solid example of an early '60s Beatles rocker, with some clever songwriting features thrown in.

28 responses on “Hold Me Tight

    1. juan aulet

      Hold me tight is one of my favorite beatles song. Is a rocker and I love the relentless rhythum guitar by john along with the claps of the four beatles. It would be great to see this song re-release again it would be a big hit today. Every time I put the “with the beatles” cd in my car I hear this song over and over again back to back.

  1. Barry

    I’ve always wondered if McCartney wrote it himself or shared credit with Lennon. Some books consider it co-written but most likely the lion’s share was written by McCartney.

    1. Barry-ply

      At this period, although probably primarily written by Paul, they were still pretty closely involved in each other’s songs adding/changing/elaborating on at least a few bits here and there. Even the little influences on each other’s work is part of that chemistry of what makes The Beatles, in my opinion, so great.

  2. Elsewhere Man

    It’s a neat little R&B number that they could have done better. Actually, they should have given the song to a Girl Group while Girl Groups were still relatively popular. A group like the Shirelles might have even scored a hit with it.

    I rather like the cover from “Across The Universe,” too…

    1. D.B.

      They did perform it live (61-63), but not once they tried it out for PPM. There are no recorded live versions from it. I guess thirteen failed takes of a song you do loads must be a pretty disillusioning experience.

  3. John D

    Rather underrated song from With the Beatles, played loud it really drives and makes a nice change from the more well known songs from this period – could almost be an “unreleased out-take” from the Anthology series as far most people would be concerned (although it seems some, including John, would suggest that is what it should have been in the first place !)

  4. Glenn

    Why do they turn it down….that’a great song…like Chuck berry would say : ” it’s got a back beat you can’t lose it…”

    A french version of that song was made in french by ” Les Baronets ” in Quebec.
    Was very popular at the time…though every song was.

  5. carlos gutman

    It might have been a good song but the treatment George Martin gave to it was really poor. In my opinion it is one of the worst produced by him, really horribly recorded.

  6. Dan

    A great rocker and the sloppy recording gives it a really raw effect like some of the Stones and Who stuff. John was so full of shit about a lot of these songs in his interviews. He either didn’t really remember them or was saying things just to piss off Paul or Beatles fanatics.

    1. Joseph Brush

      Oh you are so brave to beat up on a dead man. And to act like you or anyone else would know all of the reasons why John Lennon “was saying things”.
      You talk as if John didn’t have the right to comment about any song the Beatles wrote unless of course his opinion matched your opinion.

  7. James Ferrell

    Interesting to read that it was attempted in the PPM sessions. I like it better than a lot of the PPM “filler”.

    Good points: Nice interplay between the guitars. Nice rocking feel. Nice contrast in the bridge. Nice triumphant “It feels so right” at the end of the bridge.

    Bad points: Uninspired lyrics other than “It feels so right”. Rhymes “only one” with “lonely one” (this rhyme works better in “Misery” and “loving you” with “only you”. Inaudible bass.

    I don’t really mind the out-of-tune background vocals the third time they build toward the “it’s you” chorus. It adds some garage appeal.

    I prefer the EQ on the American vinyl version to that on the 2009 CD version. Even without any audible electric bass, it rocks.

    1. robert

      I’ve always felt this song was poorly sung, poorly produced and yet inside there is a potentially amazing song dying to get out. If someone figures out how to do a really tough remake – this song could be fierce. It’s a shame they never bothered to polish this gem.

  8. metzgermeister77

    Mostly a bad recording of a bog-standard early Beatles rocker. There are some good bits here and there (I particularly like the call and answer “Hold/me tight/tonight/tonight” section and the kind of in medias res beginning), but they really, really didn’t care about this one at all and it shows.

  9. Biased Lennon-Harrison fan

    Hold Me Tight is a poorly produced song, no way around that. Add that to the fact that McCartney managed to get the lyrics wrong EVERY TIME on the transitional
    “It feels so right SO hold me tight”, McCartney sings “NOW hold me tight”,
    Which makes it seem unprofessional.
    Definitely She Loves You, I’ll Get You,
    I Want To Hold Your Hand or This Boy would have fared better here

  10. Michael cain

    Geez, what a bunch of nit picking techo phobes. ‘Hold Me Tight’ is a terrific early Beatles recording, flaws and all. Picture them playing this as released on Meet The Beatles in the early 60s. Pure magic.

  11. jp

    The Beatles were well known for releasing songs in a raw format, in fact there are sites dedicated to detailing every instance of a background noises, poor editing etc. Even the now and again “out-of-tune” vocals can be heard on other records. A friend of mine once said that it’s exactly this which gave them their “sound”.

    Also, the Beatles were well versed in Rock & Roll boogie riffs from Hamburg days. McCartney being a bassist would have known thousands of variations. From a musical point of view, it is very cleverly contructed i.e. replacing the diatonic Gm (In the key of F) with a G7 gives the song the Major sound that drives. The 7th add a dark or urgent feel and McCartney make good use of the b7 by leading into chords from this interval. Sorry for some technical jargon, but the muso’s will know 🙂

    Anyway, great song!!!!!

  12. Graham Paterson

    I love this Paul McCartney composition. Sure it was left over from the”Please Please Me” sessions, but it fits in perfectly to”With the Beatles”. If this had of been released as a single I have no doubt it would have been a big hit.

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