Chains

Album: Dimension Dolls, Volume 1 (1962)
Charted: 50 17
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This was written by the husband-and-wife songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King. The previous year, two songs the duo wrote when to #1 in America: "Take Good Care Of My Baby" by Bobby Vee, and "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" by The Shirelles.
  • This was the Cookies' first pop hit. One year after it made the charts, 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 gained popularity quite quickly because of the band's frequent performances on numerous BBC radio shows. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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)." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    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' 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.
  • 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."
  • When Dan Wilson of Semisonic wrote a song with Carole King, he asked her about having such a wildly influential group cover her song. King replied, "Actually, The Beatles considered me an influence on them." She was right.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 14

  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaReally like the Beatles version - it was the first one I heard.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn 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.
  • Don Hertel from Dover, NjJohn 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 from NewmarketI believe the Cookies later became the Raelettes, Ray Charles' backing singers.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI've heard this version, but I'm more familiar with The Beatles' cover.
  • Phil from Borrego Springs, CaChains is a great cover. I also like their cover of Please Mr. Postman, by The Marvelletes
  • Lee from Clearwater, FlBarry, you are really reaching on that one.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScThe harmonies on this one are great.
  • Ernie from KranjJohn and Paul truly admired the songwriting team of Goffin and King. I believe this is the only song they ever covered by them.
  • Fred from Glens Falls, NyExcellent choice for a cover.
  • Barry from New York, NcThis 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!!
  • Fazla from Newport, WalesI 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!!
  • SaraIf 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.
  • Alan from New Baltimore, MiOne of many "doo-wop" era songs that the Fabs recorded.
see more comments

Goodbye, Hello: Ten Farewell Tour Fake-OutsSong Writing

The 10 biggest "retirement tours" that didn't take.

Michael Glabicki of Rusted RootSongwriter Interviews

Michael tells the story of "Send Me On My Way," and explains why some of the words in the song don't have a literal meaning.

Harold Brown of WarSongwriter Interviews

A founding member of the band War, Harold gives a first-person account of one of the most important periods in music history.

Eric BurdonSongwriter Interviews

The renown rock singer talks about "The House of the Rising Sun" and "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood."

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Mike Rutherford (Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics)Songwriter Interviews

Mike talks about the "Silent Running" storyline and "Land Of Confusion" in the age of Trump.