Do You Want To Know A Secret

Album: Please Please Me (1963)
Charted: 2

Songfacts®:

  • John Lennon claimed this song came to him based on the tune "I'm Wishing" that his mother used to sing him from the Disney movie Snow White. In the beginning of the Disney song, Snow White is singing to the doves, "Wanna know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well."
  • John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote this song, but George Harrison sang lead. It's one of the few Beatles songs not sung by the person who wrote it.
  • This was the first Lennon/McCartney song to be a hit for another artist - it was recorded by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas. Their version was #1 in the UK for two weeks.
  • The Beatles were very close to a record deal, and John Lennon wanted to marry. Their manager, Brian Epstein, was very upset, as he had been pitching the boys as four good-looking single chaps from England. Lennon could not be talked out of the wedding, so Epstein made him a deal. As the two could not afford a honeymoon, and did not have a place of their own, he would let them use his flat for two weeks, with the promise that they not tell anyone they were married. In the flat on their honeymoon, for obvious reasons, John wrote "Listen, do you want to know a secret?" John has said that the secret in question wasn't necessarily that he was married, but that he finally realized he was actually in love. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ken - Hartland, MI
  • Lennon said in interviews in 1971 and 1980 that he wrote this song in time for his wedding in August 1962. Most Beatles tracks were credited to Lennon/McCartney, and while the band was together, they rarely discussed who actually wrote what songs, so it wasn't until after their breakup that Lennon revealed he was the composer of this song. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Johan Cavalli - Stockholm
  • George Harrison said in Musician magazine that the musical inspiration for the song came from "I Really Love You" by the group The Stereos.
  • In the UK, this first appeared on The Beatles' debut album Please Please Me on March 22, 1963, and wasn't released as a single. In America, it was released as a single on March 23, 1964, during the height of Beatlemania. It climbed to #2 on May 9, held off the top by another Beatles song, "Can't Buy Me Love."

Comments: 34

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn this day in 1963 {May 30th} "Do You Want To Know A Secret?" by Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas peaked at #2 {for 2 weeks} on the United Kingdom's Official Top 50 Singles* chart, for the two weeks it was at #2, the #1 record for those two weeks was "From Me To You" by The Beatles...
    Between 1963 and 1965 the group had six records on the U.K. Singles chart, five made the Top 10 with two* reaching #1, "Bad To Me" for three weeks in August of 1963 and "Little Children" for two weeks in March of 1964...
    Besides their two #1 records, their three other Top 10 records were the above "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "I'll Keep You Satisfied" {#4 in 1963}, and "From A Window" {#10 in 1964}...
    Plus their only record that didn't make the Top 10 was "Trains and Boats and Planes", it peaked at #12 in June of 1965...
    Leader Billy J. Kramer, born William Howard Ashton, will celebrate his 77th birthday in three months on August 19th, 2020...
    * And from the 'For What It's Worth' department, the remainder of the U.K. Singles' Top 10 on May 30th, 1963:
    At #3. "Scarlett O'Hara-" by Jet Harris & Tony Meehan
    #4. "Lucky Lips" by Cliff Richard & The Shadows
    #5. "Can't Get Used To Losing You" by Andy Williams
    #6. "Two Kinds Of Teardrops" by Del Shannon
    #7. "When Will You Say I Love You" by Billy Fury
    #8. "In Dreams" by Roy Orbison
    #9. "Young Lovers" by Paul and Paula
    #10. "Deck Of Cards" by Wink Martindale
  • Brian from La Mesa, CaThe reason that George sang a Lennon-composed song was because the Beatles were beginning a tradition where each of the members would get at least one song per album. On Please Please Me, Ringo got "Boys" and George "...Secret." Both were probably chosen to fit their limited singing ranges.
  • Trebor from TexasJeez JOHAN- it's such a shame that The Beatles were such a flop under the guidance of George Martin. Perhaps if you were their producer they would have been successful and we'd know who the hell they were. You are an embarrassment to real Beatles fans.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 4th 1963, the first episode of the radio program 'Pops Goes the Beatles' aired on the B.B.C. in the United Kingdom...
    The program lasted for sixteen total episodes…
    At the time the Beatles' "From Me, To You" was at #1 on the United Kingdom Singles chart, but they didn't perform the song on the program...
    They did perform "Do You Want to Know a Secret", and at the time it was Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas’ covered version that was at #2 on the U.K. chart.
  • Steve from UsaI am positive That JOHN sings the Line "I'm in love with you" in this song. It just jumps out as John's voice.
  • Johan from Stockholm, SwedenLennon's Do You Want to Know a Secret was a number one hit in US 1981. Billy J Kramer made it a number one hit in UK 1963.
    Lennon's I Should Have Known Better was number one in Norway 1964,
    Lennon's This Boy was number one in Canada,
    Lennon's If I Fell was number one in Norway 1964,
    Lennon's Nowhere Man was number one in Australia and Canada 1966.
    These songs are n e v e r mentioned when listing the Beatles number one hits, but always all McCartney's. George Martin and McCartney never did PR for these songs.
  • Martin from Fresno, CaVery romantic song.
  • Ralph from Lyndhurst, NjDuring the bridge George sings "I've known a secret for the week or two." instead of "I've known the secret for a week or two." There's also a bad edit after the last "Do you promise not to tell?" where George begins to sing "a-do . . ." which is abruptly cut off by "Whoa-woe-oh." Cute song.
  • Johan from Stockholm, SwedenCraig Brooklyn New York, You are exact correct about "Do you want to know a secret?" behind "Yesterday" !!
  • Craig from Brooklyn, NyPlay the main part of the song, starting with "Listen," very, very slowly in your mind, and it sounds like "Yesterday." McCartney said he didn't know where the melody to "Yesterday" came from--he dreamt it--but I think it came from this.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlGreat song! Love that George sang it<3
  • Stephanie from Honolulu, HiMusic lives forever, and is a very important part of international affairs in the world.
  • Amanda from Evansville, Inim 25 and i have been listening to the beatles since i was 12 years olds when my stepdad introduced me to the beatles this was my very favorite song

    amanda evansville indiana
  • Chloe from St. Louis, MoI remember seeing a clip on Youtube of them being interviewed, 1964 or so, and the guy asked John "What does your wife think of your career?" To which he answered in fake surprise "My WHAT?", and the other three jokingly chimed in, as a discreet sort of nudge to the interviewer to change the subject.
  • Claire from Miller's, MdI'm 14 and i'm in love with The Beatles:)Go Beatles!!!!!
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxI wouldn't trust Wiki for anything too credible; although, Lennon was never comfortable with his voice in a high register. But Harrison sang this because Lennon's marriage was supposed to be a secret and since Epstein had been billing them as 4 single boys from Liverpool, he was worried people would get suspicious if John sang it.
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiSupposedly the lyrics were partially based off the wishing well song from Snow White.
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiWikipedia has the reason George sings this song: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." So, there you have it.
  • Robert from Alcool song. the sleeve of the single kinda creeps me out though. i guess (hope) its their wax figurine faces. go check it out on wiki.
  • Lateeka from Kelowna, CanadaNappa it was the early sixties!! It was all about the doo waps
  • Hannah from Newcastle, Englandluv johnxx looks like George has a secret
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI don't think it should have been on the least favorite Beatles songs list either Silvia. I think it's a good song. I think it would have been more significant if John had sung it, now that I know the circumstances under which it was written.
  • Sylvia from London, England Aw, #5 on the least favorite Beatles song list? I like the song...just cuz' George sings it, and I love the guitar...
  • Lee from Clearwater, FlYa just know what album this belongs on. It was a great album. All the songs were so clean.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI'm surprised that george sang lead on this if it was written by John. Given the circumstances of the story, it would have been more significant for John to sing the song.
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI'm wurprised that geotge sand lead on this if it was written by John. Given the circumstances of he story, it would have been more signiicant for John to sing the song.
  • Mike from Emmaus, PaMcCartney said this was 50/50 Lennon/McCartney...just a work song.
  • Barry from New York, NcBack in the Seventies, the NYC newspaper Village Voice held a poll of the fans' five least favorite Beatles songs. Believe it or not
    DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET came in at #5!!!!
  • Nessie from Sapporo, JapanGreat, except for the "oooh wa oooh" backing vocals. What were they thinking?
  • Kristen from Aurora, IlI love this song. I never knew that story and I think it gives another depth to the song. It surprises me though, that a song more personal to John was sang by George, but I like it alot.
  • Matt from Cleveland, OhSteve-here is more useless trivia: Billy J. was wondering aloud what the J should stand for. John suggested Julian after his son. Billy J said,"Thats a right poof's name".
  • Jon from Encinitas, CaI love the chord changes in this song, it never gets old.
  • Steve from Willmar, Mnuseless trivia-The J in Billy J Kramer stood for John.He actually never had a middle name
  • Matthew from New York, NyLennon did not want to get narried at all. Cynthia (his wife) was pregnant with Julian, and Epstein felt that they should marry, rather than let the word get out that a Beatle fathered a child out of wedlock. However, he also did not want Lennon to announce to the world he was married. While John did not hide his nuptuals, he was very discreit and avoided the topic as much as possible.
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