UNITED KINGDOM: Originally released as a single, March 20, 1964. It had huge advance sales and entered the chart at No. 1 on March 24. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles
UNITED STATES: Originally released as a single, March 16, 1964. Entered the Billboard Top 40 March 28 and stayed for nine weeks, five at No. 1. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles There were advance orders of 2.1 million copies.
RULING THE CHARTS
This song headed the largest monopoly of the U.S. charts by any group or individual in recording history. The Beatles' positions on the Billboard Hot 100 chart of April 4, 1964:
No. 1: "Can't Buy Me Love"
No. 2: "Twist And Shout"
No. 3: "She Loves You"
No. 4: "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
No. 5: "Please Please Me"
No. 31: "I Saw Her Standing There"
No. 41: "From Me To You"
No. 46: "Do You Want To Know A Secret"
No. 58: "All My Loving"
No. 65: "You Can't Do That"
No. 68: "Roll Over Beethoven"
No. 79: "Thank You Girl"
At the same time, the Beatles also occupied the top two positions on the album chart, with Meet The Beatles and Introducing The Beatles. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles
AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.9) and Lennon (.1)
McCARTNEY: "This was written really when we was in Paris. We had to have a new record ready for recording in England and we were going to record a song in Paris as well, so we wrote 'Can't Buy Me Love' there and we recorded the first track of it in Paris and we finished it off in London. It's a two-country effort. It's double-tracked as well." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
This song was written in Paris. The Beatles were playing their season at the Olympia Theatre: two and sometimes three shows a day for eighteen days, from January 16 until February 4, 1964. They were staying at the exclusive Goerge V Hotel on the Avenue George-V, in the expensive residential area between the Champs Elysees and the River Seine. In order to work on songs for their upcoming movie, John and Paul had an upright piano brought to the sitting room of their suite and installed in the corner by a window. Here Paul wrote "Can't Buy Me Love". They rehearsed it; George Martin flew over from London; and on January 29 they recorded it at the Pathe Marconi Studios on rue de Sevres. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now
McCARTNEY: " 'Can't Buy Me Love' is my attempt to write a bluesy mode. The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well but they won't buy me what I really want. It was a very hooky song. Ella Fitzgerald later did a version of it which I was very honoured by." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now
LENNON: "John and Paul, but mainly Paul." Hit Parader (April 1972)
LENNON: "That's Paul's completely. Maybe I had something to do with the chorus, but I don't know. I always considered it his song." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono
HARRISON: "They did 'Can't Buy Me Love' in Paris, and the other side over in Miami Beach. Ringo and I didn't chip in with any of it, except at the recording session, where we always try to help. We suggest little things here and there." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
January 29, 1964, at Pathe Marconi Studios, Paris
GEORGE MARTIN: "When The Beatles first sang 'Can't Buy Me Love' to me, they started singing, 'da da da da', and that was the beginning of the song. So I told them, 'We need a tag for the ending and the beginning.' I then took the first few lines of the actual chorus and changed the ending, and said, 'Right. Let's just have thse lines and, by altering the end of the second phrase, we can get back into the verse pretty quickly.' They said, 'Hey, that's not a bad idea! OK, we'll do it that way.' So that, in fact, is the way it was done." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
McCARTNEY: bass, lead vocal (double-tracked)
LENNON: rhythm guitar
HARRISON: lead guitar (Rickenbacker 360/12 [12-string])
guitar from Guitar (November 1987)
HARRISON: "For the first time ever on record, I play a 12-string guitar, which is much wilder! I had the guitar given to me in America and will be featuring it in some of the numbers we do on stage in the future." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
DICK JAMES: "During the recording of this song, he was really having a ball, because it was the first chance that he had to record with the L300 12-string guitar which he had bought in the States. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, twanging and incorporating different effects." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
MARTIN: "The way they first sang 'Can't Buy Me Love' was by starting on the verse, but I said: 'We've got to have an introduction, something that catches the ear immediately, a hook. So let's start off with the chorus.' " All You Need Is Ears : The inside personal story of the genius who created The Beatles
"Can't Buy Me Love" was used for a pivotal scene in A Hard Day's Night. In the early scenes director Richard Lester had developed the feeling of confinement by shooting most scenes in enclosed spaces. (The idea had been spurred when Lennon replied to Lester's question of how he had liked Sweden on a recent tour: "It was a room and a room and a car and a room and a room and a car . . .") The movie led up to the point where the Beatles rebelled.
RICHARD LESTER: "We see them break out. We needed a visual example of that escape. Suddenly, the film opens up, and that's really the point of 'Can't Buy Me Love.' "
This song was part of the Beatles' repertoire for concerts in 1964 and 1965. Live
This song was played as a march by a military band as the Beatles received their MBEs in the Great Throne Room at Buckingham Palace, October 26, 1965. The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London
McCARTNEY: "[We] felt proud because Ella Fitzgerald recorded it, too, though we didn't realize what it meant that she was doing it." Playboy (December 1984) The version by jazz singer Fitzgerald was a minor hit in May 1964. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles
COMMENTS BY BEATLES
LENNON: "This one is Paul solo. None of us sing on the track at all, except Paul. This is better than our other records. It's certainly the one we most enjoyed doing. This is a 12-bar number, which is what we've always wanted to do. You might say our other discs have led up to this one. People think this 12-bar stuff is easy, but it isn't! We really like this disc." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
McCARTNEY: "Personally, I think you can put any interpretation you want on anything, but when someone suggests that 'Can't Buy Me Love' is about a prostitute, I draw the line. That's going too far." Beatles in Their Own Words
McCARTNEY: "Miami was incredible . . . MG Motors were trying to sell their convertibles down there, which was a perfect little Florida car, and lent us one each as a publicity thing. I remember meeting this rather nice girl and taking her out for dinner in this MG in the cool Florida night, palm trees swaying. You kidding? A Liverpool boy with this tanned beauty in my MG going out to dinner. It should have been 'Can Buy Me Love', actually." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now