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You've Got To Hide Your Love Away by The Beatles

Album: Help!Released: 1965
  • It was rumored that this was the first gay rock song, a message to Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who was gay. In the part of The Beatles Anthology, that covers Epstein's death, this song is played, giving credence to the idea that this song was indeed a song about hiding one's homosexuality. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Patrickman - Makati City
  • John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1971, that when he wrote this, he was just knocking out pop songs, without expressing his own personal emotions to any great extent: He explained: "I was in Kenwood (his home at the time) and I would just be songwriting. The period would be for songwriting and so every day I would attempt to write a song and it's one of those that you sort of sing a bit sadly to yourself, 'Here I stand, head in hand...'"

    Lennon then went on to say how listening to Bob Dylan was beginning to influence his songwriting around the time he wrote this. He recalled: "I started thinking about my own emotions - I don't know when exactly it started like 'I'm a Loser' or 'Hide Your Love Away' or those kind of things- instead of projecting myself into a situation I would just try to express what I felt about myself which I'd done in me books. I think it was Dylan helped me realize that - not by any discussion or anything but just by hearing his work - I had a sort of professional songwriter's attitude to writing pop songs; he would turn out a certain style of song for a single and we would do a certain style of thing for this and the other thing. I was already a stylized songwriter on the first album. But to express myself I would write Spaniard in the Works or In His Own Write, the personal stories which were expressive of my personal emotions. I'd have a separate songwriting John Lennon who wrote songs for the sort of meat market, and I didn't consider them - the lyrics or anything - to have any depth at all. They were just a joke. Then I started being me about the songs, not writing them objectively, but subjectively."
  • The line "feeling two foot small" was written "feeling two foot tall." Lennon sang it wrong but liked it and left it that way.
  • Session musicians played flutes. It was the first time outsiders played on a Beatles record.
  • Lennon's friend Pete Shotton came up with the "Hey"s in the chorus.
  • Joe Cocker in 1991 on his album Night Calls. Cocker previously covered The Beatles "I'll Cry Instead," "With A Little Help From My Friends" and "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window."
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Comments: 52

Sadly as someone who was born with a heart on their sleeve and never could hide how I feel I understand a lot of the lyrics.Jennifur Sun - Ramona
A real gem of a song from The Beatles' "Help" album of 1965. I was a freshman in college then & relied on the album to get me thru my freshman "ordeals." Thru the years, I've read articles & books that Lennon wrote the song with some indirect influences from Bob Dylan---especially Lennon's vocals. I recently bought it in CD form (I'd given away my original LP of "Help" many decades ago) andthe song still works for me. It amazes me how Lennon created so many cerebral gems! His "I Am The Walrus" is a fun masterwork. Now this song mght even be considered a tip of Lennon's hat to Dylan.Babbling Babette - Tulsa Ok
Yeah, I just got a 12-string acoustic guitar for Christmas and now I'm gonna use it for playing beatles songs like this! I also got a Pink Floyd tab book from my friend. I'm gonna be in my room for a while...Zero - Nowhere, Nj
I love how you can hear the misery in John's voice in the beginning and how his voice is low, then very loud. Absolutely adore this song!Megan - Stevenson, Al
To Billy from Thornville, Ohio. The 12 string acoustic that Kohn is playing in the movie is called a Framus "Hootenanny" Acoustic 12 string. Now I do not know if that is the actual guitar used on the recording but it probably is because there are random studio pics abound with both John and George playing that same guitar. Waht amazes me the most is, I have NEVER been able to duplicate that sound no matter what type of 12 string I use. Of course a lot of that sound is due to Sir George Martin's incredible mastery of recording techinques.Michael - Alta Loma, Ca
The strumming of the 12 string guitar in this song is great. I learned to play this song about 10 years ago. I remember practicing it for hours. I play guitar as a hobby nothing serious just for my own enjoyment. I think this song is in 12/8 time. This time signature is prety common in folk music along with 6/8 and 3/4.When I finally learned the song I was happy with how I played it but I felt it was not exactly as the recording sounded. I then saw the performance of it from the movie Help and I realized John was playing a 12 string.I don't own a 12 string but have played this song on a 12 string.What a difference it made. The 12 string gives it a much fuller and richer sound.This is a pretty simple song. The rythm is what makes it so good.To those just learning guitar I suggest learning this song. This is a good song to sing along to and it is good practice for quickly changing chords.It also is good to learn this time signature 12/8.The pearl jam song Eldery woman behind the counter in a small town sounds as if it was influenced by this song.It has the same time signature and simmilar chord progression. I might be tottaly wrong but to me I hear influencesBrian - Boston, Ma
The Anthology version when they were recording this was funny they have some good rough versions of a bunch of songs off the Anthology this song being one of them.Breanna - Henderson, Nv
LMAO i was laughing at that this morning, i really don't know if it was intentional or not, but it was funny as hell.Freddy - Miami, Fl
LOL, what's with the begining? "one-two-three, one-two-three...Hold on, hold on....Naw I'm just gonna raise this so it's nearer to the bass strings and the top string....*glass shattering* Paul's broken a glass broken a glass, Paul's broken a glass, Paul's broken a glass a glass a glass he's broke today...Okay! One..Oh you ready, Macca. One, two, three, one, two, three.." John's such a goofball, was all of that intentional?Unevnelig - Berea, Ky, United Kingdom
I get that Dylan's style inspired John to be more honest about his lyrics... but boy, did he run with that! To me, the first verse is about the pain he felt as a boy, not being able to embrace his mother as his mother, but having to pretend that his aunt was his mother. By the 2nd verse, I think he is talking about Cynthia. "How could she say to me ..." what a caustic phrase to capture the way that we never really hear the people we care about!! Love you, Johnnie. Miss you!Jer - Whitehall, Pa
I have a feeling that the harmonica was changed to an alto flute because it might have sounded too Dylan-ie otherwise. I also think that this song is about how it feels to see someone you want and or love with someone else. And you want to see them but you don't want them to see you...so you shout at them, "Hey!" and then ask your friends if they are looking!Linc - Beaumont, Tx
martin from london, are you implying that brian epstein had a crush on john? then again, who really knows? the way it struck me was that its about a guy who secretly likes a girl, and everybody knows it except her, and he has to manage to keep it a secret from her. whatever its about, great song. you can hear the bob dylan influence.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
Eddie Vedder did a decent cover version.Je - Wheelerville, Pa
I really dout that this is a gay song, it has a few questionable lyrics but there isn't enoughCharles - Providence, Ri
The chord progression reminds me a lot of "I've got you babe"! Sonny and Cher should have paid royalties, it's that close!!!Louis - Durban, South Africa
Help! is a wonderful album, and this is one of the best songs on it. The whole flute solo is kind of a precursor to Fool on the Hill, even Penny LaneRosario - Naples, Fl
Like any well-written song, the lyrics to this tune have more than one underlying meaning. The chord progression in the verse is uncommon. The influence of Bob Dylan (especially his song "I Don't Believe You") is undeniable. And, the musical hook in the chorus is remarkably graceful. One of Lennon's best songs, and his performance of it on the recording is masterful. Johnny, we miss you!!!Moose - New York, Ny
I've always thought this song was about John's "hidden" marraige to Cynthia Lennon, and the record exec's decision to have him hide the fact he was married, so that they'll sell more records. Can't have a married Beatle!! Obviously, they were proven wrong later, but still, this song sounds like it's written about John's marriage to Cynthia.Tony - Carlsbad, Ca
This is got to be one of the best songs ever.
When was the anthology version made? Anyone knowwww?? Sounds live and respectivly rugged and inspirational... ahh
Lateeka - Kelowna, Canada
I love this song so much!! It is so beautiful. And no, it was NOT ABOUT DRUGS!!! It annoys me how everyone thinks that every Beatles song was about drugs IT WAS NOT!!!Paul Mc. even said that people totally overestimated the whole drug thing. Cant the Beatles sing about love if they want to without people going "omg its about drugs"Christy - Palm Springs, Ca
Hey Eddie, if you read this, try a C Blues harp next time instead of the G...play it both straight and crossed. The video on You Tubes of the Fab 4 in the movie Help, singing this great song (gay? who cares!) showed John playing a 12 string. Gibson, Guild and Stella's (especially Guild) were making killer 12's then. Is it a Gibson B-12?Billy - Thornville, Oh
I dont htink it's about epstein. How would you'd expalin the line "if she's gone I can't go on? I think its just talking about hiding yourself or at least your emotionsJason - State Of Fitz, Nj
OK Brian Epstein was GAY? LOL! I love this song's beat! And noam from ein zivan, Isreal, this song was WAY too early to be about Yoko!Krista - Elyria, Oh
Dylan's music had given John the freedom to explore personal and sociological issues in his own music. He does a great job with this tune but it simply can't stand up to the Shaun Cassidy version. Shaun digs deep to emote in a way that will truly send shivers up your spine. The crack LA and London session musicians that Shaun brought together for his track really shine too. It's an amazing tour de force by Shaun and it forever relegates The Beatles version to the dustbin of musical history.Bruce - St. Pete, Fl
I have read this song is influenced by folk and bluegrass with Lennon guitar acting as a drone much like a banjo would.Dave - Bronx, Ny
A heavily folk influenced song with all acoustic instruments with flutes.I can't think of an earlier arrangement like this by a rock band and the lyrics are top notch and this is a modal tune in mixolydian.
Sal,Bardonia, NY
Sal - Bardonia , Ny
I wouldnt believe any of that, then again thats just me. It may or not be literal. But all who think they know exactly what its about are just silly. &silly is my nice word, so back off.

Nicole - Clevelan, Oh
The "love" in the song is a metaphor for drugs. This song was a frustrated plea from John concerning his inability to kick his drug addiction. "How can I even try? I can never win."

He felt people were laughing at him because of the state of chemical dependency he was in.

He often felt like a hypocrite for hiding his drugs from the public and the authorities, but knew he had no other choice.
Zoloft - Milton, Wv
Covers of Beatle songs usually annoy me, but Vedder's rendition of this was very faithful without being boring. It was also interesting that the Pearl Jam version ends with a harmonica solo instead of the flute. That was probably how Lennon originally wrote it. He was heavily influenced by Dylan around this time, and played harmonica bits on other songs (often using a harmonica that he had famously shoplifted from a music store in Amsterdam).Dennis - Anchorage, Ak
The only Beatles song that I must say was done better by someone else. At the time, another British group called "The Silkie", performing in college, did a one hit wonder with their version of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away". John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George I believe actually played the instrumentals to this version, since Brian Epstein was involved with The Silkie.
The female lead to this version by The Silkie is absolutely haunting and timeless!! Go to Amazon.com and listen to a clip.
Andy - Florida, Fl
One of my favorite Beatles songs. Listen to the version on the anthology disc. Recorded live with John commenting that Paul has broken a glass, while making a little song of the incedent. Finally he asks "are you ready, Macca?", before launching into the most beautiful take on this song you will ever hear. The phrasing is a little different and the solo at the end is played on the guitar, but the rawness conveys the anguish of the lyrics.James - Chicago, Il
I know someone already said eddie vedder from pearl jam covered this, but i would like to say it is an amazing song as well as the rest of the I AM SAM soundtrack, they are all beatles songs and mostly are done very well. I think Eddie Vedders rendition is actually better than the original Beatles one, i know many will disagree but i gott say. its pretty fuc*ing goodAce - Ceasd, Mt
I could be wrong, but I feel like it is one of those songs that simply says what it means. If the one you love leaves you, you have to hide your love away. you cannot dwell on it. Turning one's face to the wall could be in shame, or to hide the tears. He states, "I can see them laugh at me," etc.
I think sometimes we over-analyize Beatles songs, almost as if we don't want them to think they got one over on us. Some of the songs are fun to try and understand what was meant, but I think people get carried away, looking for things as if it was some kind of puzzle. The girl left, the guy is trying to cope with the fact that she could be gone for good. I feel it is that simple.
Lee - Clearwater, Fl
John's "fat Elvis period," as he put it. All of that fame was hard to handle.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
This is a great song. It being about yoko just wouldn't make sense.Joe - Vancouver, Canada
This is my favorite Beatles song.Mike - Carrier Mills, Il
This is my absolute favorite song of all time. Its so pretty, and perfect with just John singing. I love, love, love itLaura - Lakeville, Mn
I like watching this song on the movie Help! I like Johns voice on this..he sings it really good!Niki - Chicago, Il
i love pearl jam's cover of this songClay - Bostos, Ma
Laure from Lakeville, I agree with you!Shannon - Chicago, Il
Oasis did a really good radio cover of thisJamie - Toronto, Canada
This is my absolute favorite song in the entire world. It's so beautiful, and the music videos funny. Ringo especially. John's voice is superb in this song, and it's absolutely wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!Laura - Lakeville, Mn
It's about John having relationship problems with some woman and having a hard time controlling his resulting emotions in public. People reading way too much into the lyrics, I think. He hadn't met Yoko yet, either.Chris - Port Hawkesbury, Canada
There was an alternate version of this song popular in England around 1965. By the Hideaways, it was "You've Got to Love Your Hideaway." Also, of course, the Silkie remade it and had a minor hit. This is the version with the female lead vocal.
Alan - City, Mi
Graham Garden (of the Goodies) sang this on 'I'm Sorry I haven't A Clue', harshly edited thus:
Here I stand ****** in hand, turn my ****** to the wall, is she's ****** i can't ********, feeling ******** ***** ********'....
Sacrilege, maybe, but very well done.
Pete - Sheerness, Ca
It was rumoured to be a song from John to (or about) Brian Epstein and/or homosexuality, but this has been discredited ["Revolution In The Head" - Ian MacDonald]. However, if you listen to the lyrics, they clearly have an inference to be about homosexuality (in the same vain as Oscar Wilde's "The love that dare not speak it name") and Lennon's 'relationship' with Epstein. Also, although I'm not 100% sure of the exact chronology, John and Brian had been away on holiday together during 1965 and this song seems to be a semi-biographical response to that. Note also that, although John refers to "she" in the song, he (and other poets/lyricists) would often employ this tactic. Lennon, himself, used it most famously in "She Said, She Said" about Peter Fonda.Martin - London, England
Great folk rock song with awesome lyrics. John is a musical genius!Adrian - Wilmington, De
"Here I stand head in hand,
Turn my face to the wall" - Some people interpret this line to be about masturbation. Sickos. Great song btw.
Brett - Edmonton, Canada
I LOVE this song. It's my favorite on "Help!".Liza - The Dalles, Or
It couldn't have been about Yoko. He didn't meet her until Nov. 9th, 1966 (the same day that Paul "died")Kay - Wakefield, Ma
i always thought it was about yokoNoam - Ein Zivan, Israel
Eddie Vedder sang this song for the I AM SAM movie/soundtrackAmy - Baton Rouge, La
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