Written and recorded by Buddy Holly in 1957, ‘Words Of Love’ was the only of his songs to be recorded by The Beatles at EMI Studios.

This isn’t ours. It’s an old Buddy Holly speciality which we used to do again at The Cavern. There was a fabulous guitar bit on the Holly disc, sounding almost like bells. George took the same riff and double-tracked it, and sounds just as good.
Paul McCartney
Disc, 14 November 1964

A number of Buddy Holly’s songs had been performed live by The Beatles from their earliest days. These included ‘That’ll Be The Day’, ‘Peggy Sue’, ‘Everyday’, ‘It’s So Easy’, ‘Maybe Baby’, ‘Think It Over’, ‘Raining In My Heart’, and ‘Crying, Waiting, Hoping’.

The Beatles’ name was partly inspired by Holly’s backing group, The Crickets. All four members were keen Holly fans, and in 1976 Paul McCartney bought the publishing rights to his songs.

The group had performed ‘Words Of Love’ between 1958 and 1962, with John Lennon and George Harrison singing. For the Beatles For Sale recording, however, Lennon and McCartney shared vocal duties.

Buddy Holly was completely different; he was out of Nashville, so that introduced us to the country music scene. I still like Buddy’s vocal style. And his writing. One of the main things about The Beatles is that we started out writing our own material. People these days take it for granted that you do, but nobody used to then. John and I started to write because of Buddy Holly. It was like, ‘Wow! He writes and is a musician’.
Paul McCartney

‘Words Of Love’ was first released in the UK on the Beatles For Sale album, the group’s fourth. In the US it was included on the Capitol LP Beatles VI.

Although ‘Words Of Love’ was the only Buddy Holly song in The Beatles’ canon, they did busk a version of ‘Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues’ during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions in January 1969. While not written by Holly, the song was originally released in 1957 as the b-side to ‘Words Of Love’. The Beatles’ version was eventually included on Anthology 3.

In the studio

‘Words Of Love’ was the final song recorded on 18 October 1964, during which they recorded seven songs in nine hours in a rush to finish the album.

The Beatles recorded the song in two takes, along with a vocal overdub. Ringo Starr played a suitcase along with his drums, in homage to Jerry Allison’s performance on Holly’s ‘Everyday’.

The band also performed ‘Words Of Love’ during the tenth edition of the BBC radio show Pop Go The Beatles. It was recorded on 16 July 1963, and first broadcast on 20 August. The performance can be heard on the 2013 album On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2.


Hold me close
And tell me how you feel
Tell me love is real

Words of love
You whisper soft and true
Darling I love you

Let me hear you say
The words I long to hear
Darling when you’re near

Words of love
You whisper soft and true
Darling I love you

Previous song: ‘Eight Days A Week’
Next song: ‘Honey Don’t’
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