With The Beatles album artworkWritten by: Robinson
Recorded: 18 July, 17 October 1963
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

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

Available on:
With The Beatles
Live At The BBC
Anthology 1

Personnel

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

The first song recorded for The Beatles’ second album was a cover version of Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’, originally a hit in 1962.

The Beatles’ subtly-retitled version of Robinson’s Motown million-seller featured John Lennon on lead vocals, with George Harrison providing close harmonies and Paul McCartney on backing vocals.

A lot of our tracks may not have been ‘cool’. I think if we’d just been cool, we wouldn’t have made it how we did. But that was a great aspect of us. John would do ‘A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues’ or ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ – you could call that cool.
Paul McCartney
Anthology

Although ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’ wasn’t yet a big hit in the UK, The Beatles were aware of it through imported copies arriving in Liverpool from America, where The Miracles enjoyed continued success with it throughout the winter of 1962.

The second album was slightly better than the first, inasmuch as we spent more time on it, and there were more original songs. We did ‘Money’ for that album, and other cover versions: ‘Please Mister Postman’, ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ and ‘Devil In Her Heart’.
George Harrison
Anthology

The Beatles first recorded ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ on 24 May 1963, for an episode of the BBC radio show Pop Go The Beatles. It was first broadcast on 4 June.

The group recorded it three more times for the BBC, on 16 July, 30 July, and 3 September 1963. The 30 July attempt can be heard on Live At The BBC.

A live version, recorded at the Karlaplansstudion in Stockholm, Sweden on 24 October 1963, was included on Anthology 1 in 1995.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ on 18 July 1963. It was the first song attempted during the first session for the With The Beatles album. That day they also recorded ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’, ‘Devil In Her Heart’, and ‘Till There Was You’.

The group took seven attempts to perfect it, though only four were complete takes. They then recorded four edit pieces, numbered takes 8-11, which including overdubs of the word ‘baby’ and the instrumental coda which closes the song.

On 17 October 1963 they attempted a re-recording of ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’. They taped just one attempt – take 12 – but quickly gave up and moved on to other songs.

The version on With The Beatles was an edit of takes 7, 10 and 11 from 18 July. The final master edit was made on 21 August; the same day the mono mix for the LP was made. The stereo mix was made on 29 October, ahead of the album’s 22 November UK release.

Lyrics

I don’t like you, but I love you
Seems that I’m always thinking of you
Oh, oh, oh, you treat me badly
I love you madly
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
Baby

I don’t want you, but I need you
Don’t want to kiss you but I need to
Oh, oh, oh, you do me wrong now
My love is strong now
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
Baby

I love you and all I want you to do
Is just hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me

Tighter
Tighter

I want to leave you, don’t want to stay here
Don’t want to spend another day here
Though, oh, oh, I want to split now
I just can’t quit now
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
Baby

I love you and all I want you to do
Is just hold me, hold me, hold me, hold me

You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)
You’ve really got a hold on me
(You’ve really got a hold on me)