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Chains

by

The Cookies



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

This was written by the husband and wife songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King.
This was the Cookies' first Pop hit. One year after this became a hit, it earned a special place in music history when the Beatles covered it for their album Please Please Me with lead vocals by George Harrison. The Beatles' version of this song gained popularity quite quickly because of the band's frequent performances on numerous BBC radio shows. (thanks, Airk - Skagway, AK and Jerro - New Alexandria, PA)
The Cookies formed in the '50s, and had an R&B hit in 1956 with "In Paradise." Soon after, Ray Charles hired all the members except Earl-Jean McCrea as his backup singers, The Raelettes. She kept the name, formed a new group and had several hits with this version of The Cookies, including "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys" and "Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
Little Eva sang backup. She was a babysitter for Gerry Goffin and Carole King, who turned her into a star when they had her record "The Loco-Motion." Goffin has explained that when "Chains" was being rehearsed, he felt that something was missing. He pulled in Little Eva, who was the Cookies's other Dimension Records labelmate, to sing backup and was very happy with the results. He said that she provided the song with the sullen edge it needed. (thanks, E - Brooklyn, NY)
In his book Backstage Passes and Backstabbing Bastards, Al Kooper cites this as an example of how many songs attributed to the "Brill Building sound" actually came from the building at 1650 Broadway: "Aldon Music, the hottest song-publishing concern of the early sixties and perhaps of all time, dominated 1950's action. Ironically, as I mentioned before, much of what today is called 'the Brill Building sound' actually originated at 1650 right in Aldon's offices!... In 1962, Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil, Neil Sedaka, Howie Greenfield, Helen Miller, and numerous others competed for space at Aldon's piano to compose the hits that would monopolize the airwaves. Even the Beatles recorded Aldon songs when they first started out."
The Cookies
More The Cookies songs
More songs written by Carole King
More songs that were an artist's first hit

Comments (13):

On December 21st 1962 the Cookies performed "Chains" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
One month earlier on November 4th it entered Billboard's Hot top 100 chart at position #84; and on December 23rd it peaked at #17 (for 1 week) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
And on the very same day of their appearance on Bandstand they entered the Top 100 as back-up singers on Neil Sedaka's "Bad Girl"...
Group member Earl-Jean charted with "I'm Into Somethin' Good"; and on August 2nd, 1964 it reached #38.
- Barry, Sauquoit, NY
John and Paul did indeed admire Goffin & King, one of them said they wanted to BE the next Goffin & King. They did record several other G/K recordings. "Keep Your Hands Off My Baby" and "Don't Ever Change" were both released. They also sang "I'm Into Something Good" on the Get Back sessions cover songs, though I can barely hear it and only for a few seconds. There are supposedly versions of "The Loco-Motion", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow", and "When My Little Girl Is Smiling" on LIVEx (unreleased)(1962-1963). George sang leads on "Sharing You" at the Cavern Club July 1962.
- Don Hertel, Dover, NJ
I believe the Cookies later became the Raelettes, Ray Charles' backing singers.
- Don, Newmarket
I've heard this version, but I'm more familiar with The Beatles' cover.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
Chains is a great cover. I also like their cover of Please Mr. Postman, by The Marvelletes
- Phil, Borrego Springs, CA
Barry, you are really reaching on that one.
- lee, clearwater, FL
The harmonies on this one are great.
- Stefanie, Rock Hill, SC
John and Paul truly admired the songwriting team of Goffin and King. I believe this is the only song they ever covered by them.
- Ernie, Kranj
Excellent choice for a cover.
- Fred, Glens Falls, NY
This song was released on the same album as the song ANNA. If you put ANNA and CHAINS together, you get "ANNA IN CHAINS." I've always wondered if the band Alice In Chains actually got their name as a variation of these Beatles cover songs!!
- Barry, New York, NC
I saw the cartoon version chains when i was about 6 years old, and that was my first introduction to beatles. I still love them...they are wonderful!!
- fazla, newport, Wales
If you listen closely, you can hear that the final "s" in "chains" often isn't heard -- Not sure if it's recording equipment or George himself, or a combination.
- Sara
One of many "doo-wop" era songs that the Fabs recorded.
- Alan, New Baltimore, MI
You have to to post comments.
Christopher CrossChristopher Cross
The man who created Yacht Rock with "Sailing" wrote one of his biggest hits while on acid.
Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"Jackie DeShannon - "Put a Little Love in Your Heart"
It wasn't her biggest hit as a songwriter (that would be "Bette Davis Eyes"), but "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" had a family connection for Jackie.
SugarlandSugarland
Meet the "sassy basket" with the biggest voice in country music.
Charles FoxCharles Fox
After studying in Paris with a famous composition teacher, Charles became the most successful writer of TV theme songs.