You've Really Got A Hold On Me

Album: The Fabulous Miracles (1962)
Charted: 8
Play Video


  • Miracles leader Smokey Robinson wrote this song while thinking about Sam Cooke's "Bring It On Home To Me." Cooke would sometimes perform at Robinson's church with his group the Soul Stirrers, and Smokey was a big fan. Cooke's song finds the singer apologizing to his girl after casting her off, promising to treat her right if she comes back. "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" is the same sentiment but with the roles reversed: the girl mistreats the guy, but he loves her unconditionally.
  • Smokey Robinson wrote this song when he was in New York City negotiating a publishing deal, and not pleased with the way the talks were going. He says that he wrote the song in his hotel room with the intention of writing something controversial, which he accomplished with the first line: "I don't like you, but I love you." Such a conflicted and unhealthy sentiment was rarely heard in songs of this era.
  • When Motown was growing into a dominant label in 1962, they set up a tour where many of their acts performed together around the United States. For many people, this was their first look at Motown acts like The Supremes, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. This was the biggest Motown hit at the time, so The Miracles closed the shows with it.
  • The Beatles recorded this in 1963 and performed it in their last movie, Let It Be. The Beatles were the first big British band to come to America and admit they were influenced by black music. Robinson admired this admission, and felt they helped black artists by covering their songs.

    It wasn't the only Motown song The Beatles covered: they also recorded "Money (That's What I Want)" and "Please Mr. Postman" along with "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" on their U.K. release The Beatles' Second Album. Berry Gordy of Motown gave The Beatles a reduced rate for the rights to cover the songs, as it was a huge deal for him to have the most popular band in England recording songs from his roster.
  • Charting cover versions of this song in America were released by Gayle McCormick (#98, 1972) and Eddie Money (#72, 1979). Bob Seger included the song in his live shows when he was starting out in the early '60s.
  • Smokey Robinson sang this song on the children's show Sesame Street in a sketch where a giant puppet "U" grabs onto him as he sings it and ultimately carries him away. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alden - College Park, MD
  • Steven Tyler belted out a verse of this song when he was on stage with Smokey Robinson to present the Grammy Award for Record Of The Year in 2014. "Thanks Steven," that was beautiful, Robinson replied.
  • This was used on Friends in the season 6 episode "The One With Mac And C.H.E.E.S.E" during a montage of Joey and Chandler hugging.

    It was also used in the TV shows Gossip Girl ("Last Tango, Then Paris" – 2010) and Cold Case ("Boy Crazy" – 2007), and in the movies Flipped (2010), Striptease (1996), I Love Trouble (1994), and Mermaids (1990).

Comments: 13

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyExactly thirty-five years ago today in 1984 {March 25th} Mickey Gilley's covered version of "You Really Got a Hold On Me" reached #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Let's Stop Talkin' About It" by Janie Fricke...
    Between 1968 and 1989 the Mississippi native had forty six records on the Hot Country Singles chart, thirty four* made the Top 10 with seventeen reaching #1 {in a period of nineteen months from July of 1980 to February 1982 he had six consecutive #1 records}...
    Five of his charted records were duets; three with Charly McClain and one each with Ray Charles and Playboy's Barbi Benton...
    Mickey Leroy Gilley celebrated his 83rd birthday earlier this month on March 9th, 2019...
    * He just missed having at 35th Top 10 record when his "Bouquet of Roses" peaked at #11 in 1975...
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaFirst heard the Beatles version of this song. and Smokey is right, you can like someone or something with out loving it or them(maybe that changes later on, or maybe not).
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 11, 1972, Gayle McCormick performed "You Really Got A Hold On Me" on the Dick Clark ABC-TV Saturday-afternoon program, 'American Bandstand'...
    Two months earlier on January 16th the song entered Billboard's Top 100 chart for a one week stay at position #98...
    Exactly nine years earlier on March 11th, 1963 the Miracles had "You've" in their original version of "You've Really Got A Hold On Me", and at the time it was at #20 on the Top 100, five weeks earlier it had peaked at #8 {for 2 weeks} and it stayed on the chart for sixteen weeks...
    Two other covered versions have made the Billboard charts, in 1979 Eddie Money took his version to #72 on the Top 100 chart, and five years later in 1984 Mickey Gilley covered it, his version reached #2 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, the week it was at #2, the #1 record for that week was "Let's Stop Talkin' About It" by Janie Fricke.
  • Jennifur Sun from RamonaThe Beatles version was the one I first heard. Still like their version of Money better than the original. And I can so identify with the lyrics about not liking something about someone even if you love them. this song sort of says it all about what music does to me.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 4th 1964, the Miracles performed "You've Really Got a Hold on Me" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Two years earlier on December 2nd, 1962 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; and 9 weeks later on February 3rd, 1963 it peaked at #8 {for 2 weeks} and spent 16 weeks on the Top 100...
    And week after it peaked at #8 on the Top 100 chart it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    In 1984 Mickey Gilley covered the song; and on April 8th of that year it reached #1 {for 1 week} on the Canadian RPM Country Singles chart ...
    Between 1960 and 1976 the Miracles had forty-six hits make the R&B Singles chart; twenty-six made the Top 10 with four reaching #1, their other three #1 records were "Shop Around" in 1960, "I Second That Emotion" in 1967, and "The Tears of a Clown" in 1970...
    They just missed having five #1s when "The Tracks of My Tears" and "Going to A Go-Go", both in 1965, peaked at #2...
    Eighteen of the forty-six hits were under the name 'Smokey Robinson and the Miracles'...
    R.I.P. Jimmy O'Neill {Shindig's host} 1940 - 2013.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn December 28th 1962, Mary Wells performed "Two Lovers" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
    One month earlier on November 25th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on January 13th, 1963 it peaked at #7 (for 2 weeks) and spent 13 weeks on the Top 100 (with 4 of the weeks in the Top 10)...
    And the week it peaked at #7 on the Top 100 it reached #1 (for 4 weeks) on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
    It was composed by Smokey Robinson; and the song that knocked it out of the #1 spot on the R&B chart was also composed by him ("You've Really Got A Hold On Me" by The Miracles)...
    Plus it was her 3rd straight Top 10 record; and those two were also composed by Mr. Robinson; "The One Who Really Loves You (#8) and "You Beat Me To The Punch" (#9)...
    R.I.P. Ms. Wells (1943 - 1992) and Mr. Robinson, born William Robinson, Jr., will celebrate his 74th birthday in two months on February 19th.
  • Ivy from Springfield, NeMy A Capella class is doing this. I think we're better.
  • Joshua from Twin Cities, MnAn unusual rendition of this song, downbeat with an almost spooky quality to it, was done by Mike & the Mechanics on their 1995 album Beggar On A Beach Of Gold. Paul Carrack and the late Paul Young (not to be confused with the Paul Young who sang "Everytime You Go Away") sing co-lead simultaneously, which was unusual for this group (Carrack and Young usually took turns as the sole lead singer).
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScHey the original and the Beatles cover are both great.
  • Dani from Boston, MaOh I love this song soooo much! I've actually never heard it by the Miracles, only by either the Beatles, Eddie Money, or the Zombies.
  • Musicfan from New York, NyThe BEATLES version? The ZOMBIES?? Hey, I like those groups too, but have a little reverence, please.

    Children today. Sheesh. :-)
  • J-raff from Boston, MaThe Zombies have also recorded a pretty good cover of this song. The Beatles probably did it best though.
  • Katie from Gasoline Alley, AustraliaI adore The Beatles cover of this song
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Millie Jackson

Millie JacksonSongwriter Interviews

Outrageously gifted and just plain outrageous, Millie is an R&B and Rap innovator.

Steven Tyler of Aerosmith

Steven Tyler of AerosmithSongwriter Interviews

Tyler talks about his true love: songwriting. How he identifies the beauty in a melody and turns sorrow into art.

Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" Album

Arrested For Your Art - The Story Of 2 Live Crew's "Obscene" AlbumSong Writing

In the summer of 1990, you could get arrested for selling a 2 Live Crew album or performing their songs in Southern Florida. And that's exactly what happened.

Real or Spinal Tap

Real or Spinal TapMusic Quiz

They sang about pink torpedoes and rocking you tonight tonight, but some real lyrics are just as ridiculous. See if you can tell which lyrics are real and which are Spinal Tap in this lyrics quiz.

Krishna Das

Krishna DasSongwriter Interviews

The top chant artist in the Western world, Krishna Das talks about how these Hindu mantras compare to Christian worship songs.

Rick Astley

Rick AstleySongwriter Interviews

Rick Astley on "Never Gonna Give You Up," "Cry For Help," and his remarkable resurgence that gave him another #1 UK album.