Saturday, December 26, 2009

"Do You Want to Know a Secret"

"Do You Want to Know a Secret" is a song by The Beatles from the 1963 album Please Please Me, sung by George Harrison.


"Do You Want to Know a Secret" was written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (see Lennon/McCartney), inspired by "I'm Wishing," a tune from Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which Lennon's mother, Julia Lennon, would sing to him as a child. The first two lines of the song in Disney's movie ("Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell?") come right after the opening lyrics ("You'll never know how much I really love you... You'll never know how much I really care..."). McCartney said it was a "50-50 collaboration written to order," i.e., for Harrison to sing.


In 1980, Lennon said that he gave "Do You Want to Know a Secret" to Harrison to sing because "it only had three notes and he wasn't the best singer in the world," but added "he has improved a lot since then." Harrison sang two songs on Please Please Me, this song by Lennon and McCartney and "Chains" by Goffin/King. The Beatles did not record a song composed solely by Harrison until "Don't Bother Me" on With the Beatles.

The song was recorded during a 10-hour session on 11 February 1963 along with 9 other songs for Please Please Me.

Single release

"Do You Want to Know a Secret" was a year later released as a single in the United States on 23 March 1964, reaching the number two spot behind another Beatles song, "Can't Buy Me Love" in Billboard, but reaching #1 for two weeks in the chart published by the Teletheatre Research Institute.


* John Lennon — rhythm guitar, backing vocal
* Paul McCartney — bass guitar, backing vocal
* George Harrison — lead guitar, lead vocal
* Ringo Starr — drums

The Billy J. Kramer version

The Beatles' version was never released as a single in the United Kingdom, where a cover version by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas (released b/w "I'll Be on My Way", Parlophone R5023, 26 April 1963) reached number two in the Record Retailer chart, and hit number one in the NME chart (used by Radio Luxembourg) and the BBC's Pick of the Pops chart, which were more widely recognized at the time.

Album: Please Please Me
Released: 22 March 1963 (mono album), 26 April 1963 (stereo album)
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 11 February 1963
Genre: Rock and roll
Length: 1:56
Label: Parlophone
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


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