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The history of this classic Beatles song


The original Cookies version of

The original Cookies version of "Chains"

source: ebay.com


Written by: Gerry Goffin and Carole King
Recorded: February 11, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: February 25, 1963
Length: 2:21
Takes: 1
Musicians: John Lennon: harmony vocal, rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325), harmonica (Hohner)
Paul McCartney: harmony vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead vocal, lead guitar (1957 Gretsch Duo Jet G6128T)
Ringo Starr: drums (1960 Premier kit)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
  • Please Please Me, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1202, PCS 3042, Parlophone CDP7 46435-2p, US: Capitol CLJ 46435)
  • Introducing The Beatles, (US: VeeJay VJLP 1062)
  • The Early Beatles, (US: Capitol (S)T 2309), Capitol CDP 0946 3 57498 2 3}
  • The Beatles No. 1 (EP), (UK: Parlophone GEP 8883}
  • "Chains" was originally released in 1962 (on Dimension 1002) by the Cookies, a girl group who had mutated from Ray Charles' longtime backup vocal group the Raelettes. Although only reaching #17 in the US, the song was much more popular in England; Liverpool groups made it a staple of their live shows, which explains its appearance on Please Please Me. (Indeed, the group performed the song live on the BBC a little less than a month before they cut the studio version.)
  • This was cut during the "evening session" on February 11, 1963, just after the completion of "Boys" and just before work began on "Baby It's You." Although four takes were done, the original first take was judged best.
  • As with "Anna," the key of the original is changed, here from D to Bb (flat), perhaps allowing for the group's naturally lower voices. Also as with "Anna," a change is made in the arrangement; John's Hohner harmonica takes the place of the original's saxophone.
BBC radio versions: 4 (for the BBC radio programs Here We Go, Side By Side, and Pop Goes The Beatles)
  • Although John, Paul, and George, sing most of this cover in close harmony, this is considered George's first lead vocal on a Beatles song, given his spotlight in the bridge.
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