“We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in I Want To Hold Your Hand, I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u… got that something…’ And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that – both playing into each other’s nose.” – John Lennon
Paul and John in 1964 (image courtesy Wikimedia)
It was the first Beatles record I bought, but it wasn’t my favorite Beatles song. I’d heard “She Loves You” in the fall of 1963, and, while the buddy I first heard it with (a story I have related before) mocked the song (as did the deejay who introduced it), I’d been immediately smitten, though I diplomatically kept my opinion to myself. Thereafter, when I listened to far away radio stations in big cities like Chicago and New York on my transistor radio at night when I was supposed to be going to sleep, I listened for “She Loves You.”
I think I may have heard it twice between that first time and the advent of what we know as Beatlemania. I freely admit that my memory of this period is fuzzy. I was in my 12th year and between the time I first heard “She Loves You” in mid-November and when I began hearing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and other Beatles songs November 22, 1963 happened. Like most Americans I walked around in a dull daze for a while, so I hope I may be forgiven for an imperfect memory of the timeline of events.
So, Christmas 1963 came and went. I got several replacement batteries for my transistor radio among my presents which kept me tuned in for a while. And I heard a couple of other Beatles songs. I’m pretty sure “Please Please Me” was one. And I have a distinct memory of hearing “Ask Me Why.”
But then Christmas break ended and it was back to school. And early in January 1964 I began hearing “I Want to Hold Your Hand” – a lot. By the end of January I was hearing it multiple times per night and beginning to hear other songs, too, both those mentioned above as well as “From Me to You,” “I Saw Her Standing There,” and “All My Loving.”
As January passed, I, like millions of others, fell in love with the Beatles.