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Can't Buy Me Love by The Beatles

Album: A Hard Day's NightReleased: 1964Charted:
1
1
  • Paul McCartney wrote this song. Despite rumors to the contrary, he claimed it was not about a prostitute. Rather, the song makes a simple yet profound statement on what matters most in life. The word "Love" appeared in many Beatles lyrics, especially in their early songs.
  • This song was recorded on January 29, 1964 in Paris, although when The Beatles returned to Britain, George Harrison decided to overdub another lead guitar part in London. The original solo is still audible in the background. (thanks, Mark - Rotterdam, Netherlands)
  • This was one of the Beatles songs that held the top five positions on the US chart on April 4, 1964. The others were: "Twist and Shout," "She Loves You," "I Want To Hold Your Hand," "Please, Please Me." The week after it hit #1 in the US, The Beatles had 14 songs in the Billboard Hot 100. It's also the first song to hit #1 from outside the Top 20, something that didn't happen again until Billboard began using its "Soundscan" method of recording sales. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • This was one of the first Pop songs to start with the chorus rather than a verse. That was producer George Martin's idea.
  • Paul McCartney sang the lead vocal. It was one of the first Beatles songs where only one member of the group sang.
  • "Can't Buy Me Love" was used as the title for a popcorn movie starring Patrick Dempsey in 1987. In the film, his character goes from "totally geek to totally chic" by paying a popular girl to pretend they are dating. Gerardo, who sang "Rico Suave," was also in the movie.
  • This was used in the first Beatles movie, A Hard Day's Night, which was re-released in 2000. It was used to replace "I'll Cry Instead," which the film's director Dick Lester thought was an inappropriate song to use when the Beatles were to break out and have some fun.
  • This replaced "Roll Over Beethoven"/"Please Mr. Postman" as the single to be released by Capitol Records USA in March 1964.
  • In the first two takes of this song, John and George sang back up harmonies. Take 4 is the one they used. (thanks, Adrian - Wilmington, DE)
  • The Jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald recorded this shortly after The Beatles version came out. She covered several Pop songs late in her career.
  • Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel perform part of this song in the 2008 movie Yes Man.
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Comments: 39

On May 23rd 1964, Ella Fitzgerald's covered version of "Can't Buy Me Love" entered the United Kingdom's charts, thus becoming the first American artist to make the UK chart with a covered version of a Beatle song...
It eventually peaked at #34...
And on this week in 1964 when Ella's version entered the UK chart, the Beatles' original version was at #23 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart...
R.I.P. John, George, and Ms. Fitzgerald (1917 - 1996).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
"Can't Buy Me Love" peaked at #1 on March 29th, 1964; the week before it was at position #27, and after five weeks at #1 it fell to #5...
It had only spent 10 total weeks on the Top 100; and for 5 of those weeks was at #1.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
Love this song. The first Beatles song that I really liked. One of my favorites.Lada - Zelenograd , Russia Federation
Possibly the first double-tracked guitar solo, a technique later popularized by Tony Iommi, among others.Zero - Nowhere, Nj
The fact that it was filmed in B/W gives it that avant garde Felini look. I sure hope they never do a colorized version.Jim - West Palm Beach, Fl
Geez...I just hear the pickup notes and I'm singin' along! Absolutely love this song! It's sooo calming when you're stressed to the max!!!Megan - Stevenson, Al
A great mainstream song with a high energy pop sound.A very popular song.Have many memories of listening to this song on the old phonograph record player in my childhood in the 60's.George - Belleville, Nj
Probably one of the very few songs I enjoy from THe Beatles. Dutch jazz singer Rita Reyes recorded a fantastic version of this song.Laurent - Manama, Bahrain
Although I worship the Beatles, and they are in my top 3 of favorite bands, I just can't seem to ejnoy this song. I seem to skip it if it plays on my CD or on the radio.Tara - Petoskey, Mi
This song's ID is 1. You can see it on the address bar. I decided to look for the last song. #18071 is Gabriel's Message by Sting. Are you glad The Beatles were #1 and not Sting?K - Nowhere, On
Chloe and Leah: You have to remember that Marketing wasn't as Mass or Media based as it is today. During the 60s some DJs weren't even playing Beatles music at all...so how else would you know about the Beatles? The lunchboxes, dolls and such were a brilliant plan to put the Beatles in the public eye amidst the social stiffling efforts such as record burnings in the Bible Belt...obviously it worked cause here now 40+ years later we still talke about them...
So if the Beatles were going to stay around they had to be competative on the same level as their American counterparts who had their own dolls and luchboxes and for potential fans who had possibly never heard of the Beatles until they saw a lunchbox and thought - who are those guys?
Linc - Beaumont, Tx
i agree with you leah, but that stuff wasnt neccessarily their idea. give them a little credit- i really dont think they got into the business for the money, myself. this song reminds me of my mom. im not sure why, but it does.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
I saw Paul perform this song at the Columbus stop during his Back in the U.S. Tour, and it was one of the many Beatles tunes I recognized.Shane - Columbus, Oh
The Beatles produced, I believe, 16 love songs as part of a contractual obligation to their recording lable when they first signed. When the contract ended they were free to create their own style of music - while love was often a theme - it was not the main theme since John loathed writing cheesy love songs and wanted to write more edgy rock 'n roll.Linc - Beaumont, Tx
this song has a"sandy" sound to it, partly because it may have been recorded elsewhere,but also beacause of the amplified acoustic guitars,
and ringo's slush cymbal!
Steve Dotstar - Los Angeles, Ca
i love this song, especially the scene from Hard Day's NightOlivia - Chicago, Il
okay....i was 13 when the beatles exploded on the scene. it was through WLS in chicago that we heard the beatles blast-off to the stars on their way to greatestness.. and there i was singing outloud CAN PUPPY LOOOOOOVE, CAN PUPPY LOOOOVE.......... YEAH......I LOVED THE BEATLES. (it wasn't till year's later that i lernt it was......can't buy me love)Chuck - La, Ca
I like the beatles, and although i like their later stuff better than the pop stuff, i like both. This song though.....I can't enjoy because of the lyrics, knowing how exploited the beatles allowed themselves to get (lunchboxes and sneakers and commercials, please.) The lyrics say A)im not too fond of money B) implies they dont got much. It's so fakeLeah - Pittsfield, Ma
I don't know if anybody else have written this, but have come Paul says that you "can't buy him love", when he claims that "fun is the one thing that money can't buy" in She's Leaving Home? Great song, anyway.Andrea - Sønderborg, Denmark
my early favorite beatles song and still the fastest selling single of all time...
so long the beatles........
Paul Bert Bilog - Los Angeles, Ca
Good song. John does the scream before the guitar solo.Krissy - Boston, Ma
Glad to see it's not just me. Talk about your non-sequiturs, WHAT IS A BLOOD CURDLING SHRIEK DOING IN THE MIDDLE OF A HAPPY SONG? (cf. "A Hard Day's Night")Michael - Oxford, England
I hate the scream before the guitar solo it sounds like it's sped up. Who does that by the way?Michael - Oxford, England
@ zach from philly - it was easy to write a cool part because there weren't that many riffs around? Some would say that might make it harder - you're working without much reference. With hindsight, it looks like it was easy to come up with those riffs. But I really don't think it is!Calum - Edinburgh, Scotland
Wow, Mike! I assume you either did or help create songfacts. This site rocks, it's probably the site I go on most (Besides for maybe YTMND). This is not about a prostitute.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
i guess,im mean he wasnt that great at guitar, back in the sixties there werent that many riffs that were already used so it was easy to write a cool part, but anyways this is one of the beatles best earlier songsZach - Philly, Ks
I play electric guitar AND acoustic, and I can't read music either! All the riffs I know are Beatles riffs because I loove George so much, haha. We have a lot in common!!Sylvia - London, England
Yes! George WAS a guitar genious!!! There are some 'Greatest Guitarists of All Time' lists, like Rolling Stone's lists and whatnot, that totally underestimate him! One list said he was #21, and it said that Jack White of the White Stripes was #18 or so! I was so mad when I saw this. George is SO much cooler than any of those people!Sylvia - London, England
Could George come up with some great guitar licks, or what? His contribution to this like some of the other songs,I saw her standing there, and Til there was you, is pure genious. And the man couldnt read music! It all just originated in his head. He just knew what would sound right. He heard it before he wrote it. Talk about a gift.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
I love the part in the movie (A Hard Day's Night)
when they break free and run down the fire escape. That scene...as well as the song is forever etched into my mind.
Great song!
Kalissa - New York City, Ny
The beloved administrator:
"Some of my friends loved the movie Can't Buy Me Love so much, they had a theme party where you were encouraged to dress up like your favorite character from the film. As we discussed the cultural significance of Patrick Dempsey over our favorite beverages, I kept spouting interesting tidbits about the song - like how it was one of the 5 Beatles songs to hold the top 5 chart positions at once, and how it was a rare song that started with the chorus. After enjoying more of my favorite beverages and ripping off my sleaves to complete the Patrick Dempsey look, I started thinking about putting this song information into some kind of database. So I put Filemaker on my Powerbook 2400 and started entering in song information. Of course, the first song had to be the one that gave me the idea in the first place.

I was a disc jockey, and the database was a wonderful show prep device, allowing me to access song information without digging through magazines and reference guides. Listeners loved hearing about the songs, so I put the database on line so anyone could enjoy it and contribute. A lot of people did, and we have Patrick Dempsey to thank".

Suffice to say, this song is the corner-stone of Songfacts.
Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Wa. U.s.a
This one passes the test for a good song.Ben - Cheverly, Md
Some sources credit Lennon as a co-author but this song is most likely a McCartney solo composition.Barry - New York, Nc
Check out the URL: this is (from all probability) the first song the Songfacts team decided to tackle. I wonder if this holds any significance.Ali - East Lansing, Mi
A pretty big contrast to Money(that's what I want)lol. Awesome song!Laura - Santa Fe, Nm
Yeah! I like the anthology version too!Stefanie Magura - Rock Hill, Sc
I personally prefer the version on the Anthology albums, with the harmonies. It's much, much better.Marina - Seattle, Wa
This is the only song (not counting the Lennon demos used for "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" - they were recorded in New York City) The Beatles recorded outside of the United Kingdom. It was recorded at EMI's Pathe Marconi studios in Paris, France, while they were on tour.Elliott - Douglassville, Pa
The very first song entered into the Songfacts database.Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington - Usa