When was it recorded? Jul. 18, 1963
When was it first released, and on which album? Nov. 22 November 1963 on “With the Beatles”
Who wrote it? Smokey Robinson
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
So… this is kind of it, isn’t it? The last official Beatles song for me to talk about (even if it is a cover). I’ll make a better post about it tomorrow, but the more I wrap my brain around this scenario the more disconcerting it is, and I needed to at acknowledge it before I could get on with writing this post.
So Smokey Robinson (who I’ve talked about many-a-time before) wrote “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” in 1962 while in New York on business for Motown. According to Robinson he was inspired by Sam Cooke’s current single, “Bring It On Home to Me.”
Robinson and the Miracles recorded the song on Oct. 16, 1962 and released it as the B-side to their “Happy Landing” single on Nov. 9, 1962.
According to Wikipedia, “‘Happy Landing’ charted regionally; however, the nation’s DJs flipped the record over, because they liked ‘Hold On Me’ better.” As an unofficial A-side, “You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me” peaked #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #1 on the Billboard Hot R&B chart. The tune became the Miracles’ second single to sell over one million copies and later received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
Quoth the Beatles Bible, “Although ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’ wasn’t yet a big hit in the UK, The Beatles were aware of it through imported copied arriving in Liverpool from America, where The Miracles enjoyed continued success with it throughout the winter of 1962.” The Fab Four first covered the song on May 24, 1963’s “Pop Go the Beatles” (aired Jun. 4). They recorded it three more times that year for BBC Radio, on Jul. 16, Jul. 30, and Sept. 3. The Jul. 30 version aired on Aug. 24’s “Saturday Club” and appeared on 1994’s “Live at the BBC.”
Earlier in July, the Beatles began recording a studio version of “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” retitled “You Really Got a Hold on Me” (same difference). It was the first song they recorded for the second album. The Fab Four attempted seven takes, completing four. According to the Beatles Bible, “They then recorded four edit pieces, numbered takes 8-11, which including overdubs of the word ‘baby’ and the instrumental coda which closes the song.” Takes 7, 10 and 11 were combined for the final edit on Aug. 21.
Quoth the Beatles Bible, “A live version, recorded at the Karlaplansstudion in Stockholm, Sweden on 24 October 1963, was included on ‘Anthology 1’ in 1995.”
“You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” was one of the many classic covers the Beatles attempted during their ill-fated Get Back sessions in 1969. One final version of the song appeared in the 1970 documentary “Let It Be.”
A lovely way to end… well, a bit more than my day. It’s a great song with a nice message, and I like that you get to hear the Beatles cover it near the beginning of their career as well as near the end. Bookends! Symmetry! And I’m off to have a drink like nothing’s happened. Goodbye.