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 song's 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.

33 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.

  7. Alan Mallard

    Just learning this song on my guitar .I could sing this song when I was younger ,but couldn’t play it . now I can play it ,but can’t sing it .Do not want to change the key also.
    Armchair Al 21 April 2015.

  8. Johan cavalli

    If you sing “you gonna loose that girl…” slowly, you have the beginning melody in A Day in the Life.
    The guitar solo here, and in Something, are Harrison´s best during the Beatles epoch!

    1. kirbygene

      Wow! Nice catch. “You’re gonna lose that girl” and “I heard the news today” do match up, but with different under-pining chords and a different speed / cadence.

  9. Ben Smith

    God I love this song. It took me a while to appreciate it, but it’s probably one of the most unique songs in the Beatles’ entire catalog. It almost has the feel of a Phil Spector/Motown girl group song with the harmonies and aggressive romantic lyrics. It’s just another testament, along with “The Night Before,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” and “I Need You” to the Help! record’s strength as an album. Rubber Soul gets more of credit as an album IMO because of its extremely tight American counterpart, but the British Help! is in many respects a companion piece to the British work that would be released later in 1965.

    Who am I kidding? All of the Beatles’ works are perfection.

  10. Yacko

    Ben Smith, I think the song is more a homage to the folk-rock of the Mamas and Papas. Think of John’s vocal as john Philips with backup harmony like Denny Doherty and Mama Cass. Note especially how the two sections of “I’ll make a point of taking her away from you………the way you treat her what else can I do” sound.

  11. Joseph Brush

    This Beatles song was recorded eight months before California Dreaming was released. In early 1965 the Mamas and the Papas were rehearsing in the Virgin Islands and did not even have a record contract at that time.

  12. robert

    “I’ll make a point of taking her away from you………the way you treat her what else can I do” – surely has that “Monday Monday” sound – I never noticed that before.

    But here’s the thing – You’re Gonna Lose That Girl song was written (or at least released) first! Also before California Dreamin’ – so how you can pay homage to something that hasn’t been done yet?

    Maybe they heard the Mamas and Papas live during an early US Tour and emulated their sound or who knows – I’m really speculating. But the harmonies in this song are really close to Mamas and the Papa’s harmonies (the way you treat her what else can I do-ooo?).

    Could it be that the M&Ps copped those Beatles Help harmonies? No surprise there. Anyone have any background on this?

  13. Joseph Brush

    There was no M&P tour until after the success of California Dreamin’.
    The M&Ps did try to emulate the Beatles harmonies and it started when Denny Doherty gave John Phillips a copy of Rubber Soul and told him to listen and then arrange the M&P’s sound in the same Beatle way.
    There is a M&P documentary where this was revealed by Denny.

  14. bobbytee

    Amazing song, and another great vocal from John. I always love the way he could be so intense, but also show great use of dynamics to change things up. In this one, coming out of the guitar solo, notice how he softens up on the lead line, almost like he’s whispering in the other guys ear… “You’re gonna lose that girl…” Then he comes back at full volume on the next one, like he’s playing with the guy. So many other examples of how John mixed up his delivery during a song, but this is one of my absolute favorites!

  15. manteau

    The off beat bongos are abviously intentional, they’d never have a song released at this time of their career without oversseing at least the mono mix

  16. countdownkid

    First of all, this is an amazing site. I’m writing a book on the Fab 4, so prepare to find the site in the acknowledgements and the bibliography.

    I have to nitpick on this song though. Is there really technically a key change? Yes the key switches to G in the bridge, but don’t most Beatles songs switch to different chord patterns in the Middle Eight? It ends back in E. When I think key changes, I think of what Barry Manilow, to use the most obvious example, loves to do: start with a chorus in one key and then modulate up to a higher one for the chorus at the end of the song. Or, off the top of my head for another example, Jackson Browne’s “Lawyers In Love,” which rises to another key for the final verse. To me, those are key changes. What happens in YGTLTG is pretty common for the Fab 4, at least to these ears.

    Or maybe I’m wrong. In any case, thanks, and keep up the great work.

      1. Allan

        Joe, I think it is fair to talk about a key change, and the great Alan Pollack agrees:
        “The home key of the song is E Major but its bridge is clearly in the remote key of G Major. There’s no flirtation or fake pass here; it’s a full-blown interlude in that second key. I call it “remote” because there is no G chord (either Major or minor) that’s native to the key of E; remember, there are four sharps in the key signature, the third of which is G#. In fact, there are no indigenous chords common between the two keys.”

        It’s not a Manilow-style step-up, and – as countdownkid said – it is pretty common for the Beatles to have a bridge in a different key. But I think the facts that (a) it’s a remote key, and (b) a clearly established one, do make this a pretty significant key-change. After that, yes, it goes back to the home key.

        1. Joe Post author

          Ah, OK, thanks for the re-correction! I sort of did think it modulated, but had a moment of self-doubt (I also didn’t have an instrument with me to check when I wrote my previous comment). Perhaps I’ll put that bit back in the article.

          I know Penny Lane has one of those Manilow-style changes. I’m not sure of any others, though there may well be some. They certainly used it sparingly.

  17. Barry

    I had no idea that this was co-written by Lennon and McCartney. I’ve always considered it a Lennon composition. Does anyone know how much Paul contributed to it?

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