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You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

The history of this classic Beatles song

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The original UK sheet music for

The original UK sheet music for "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away"

source: rarebeatles.com

You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

Written by: John Lennon (100%)
(credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: February 18, 1965 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: February 20 and 23, 1965
Length: 2:06
Takes: 9
Musicians:
John Lennon: lead vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar (1964 Framus 12-string "Hootenanny")
Paul McCartney: acoustic rhythm guitar (1964 Epiphone Texan)
George Harrison: acoustic lead guitar (1950 Jose Ramirez classical)
Ringo Starr: tambourine, shaker, maracas
Johnnie Scott: alto and tenor flutes
Available on: (CDs in bold)
Help!, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1255; PCS 3071; Parlophone CDP 7 46439 2)
Help!, (US: Capitol (S)MAS 2386)

The Beatles 1962-1966, (UK: Apple PCSP 717, US: Apple SKBO 3403; Apple CDP 0777 7 97036 2 3)
History:

  • Written by John in late 1964, this song is said to be a veiled reference to manager Brian Epstein's homosexuality. It's known that Lennon was sensitive to Epstein's troubles as a gay man forced to stay in the closet due to the mores of the time; it's also agreed that Epstein was quite fond of Lennon. The two went away to Barcelona, Spain, on vacation in April 1963; although rumors swirled about an affair when they returned, both denied any interaction. However, John reportedly told author Hunter Davies that an unnamed sexual encounter did take place. In the Anthology video, this song plays during the discussion of Brian's sexuality, further lending credence to the claim that it is about him. Yet others have speculated that the love which must "hide away" in this song was a heterosexual affair John was carrying on behind his wife, Cynthia's, back.
  • Lennon himself only acknowledged that the song's lyrics were more personal here, part of a trend that had been going on since his introduction, in 1964, to the music of Bob Dylan. Indeed, Dylan's song "I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)," released in August of that year, is often cited as the direct lyrical inspiration, as the Dylan song begins with the lines "I can't understand / She let go of my hand / And left me here facing the wall," while John's begin, "Here I stand / Head in hand / Turn my face to the wall."
  • This song was recorded at the fourth session for Help!, developed and arranged in just under two hours before work began on the unused "If You've Got Trouble" (available on Anthology), and "Tell Me What You See." For the first time, all Beatles play acoustic instruments only, with George creating a barely perceptible melody line in the chorus, a harmonic counterpoint to John's vocal.
  • Lennon mistakenly sings "two foot small" at the end of the first verse, when the written lyrics were actually "two foot tall." John decided to leave the mistake in, saying that "all the pseuds will love it." ("Pseud" was then British slang for "pseudo-intellectual.")
  • John's childhood friend Pete Shotton, present in the studio, is credited with coming up with the idea of adding the "Hey!" to the front of each chorus.
Trivia:
  • This was the first Beatles song since "Love Me Do" to bring in an outside musician -- in this case, flautist Johnnie Scott, who double-tracked his brief solo at the end by playing a tenor flute along with the band and then later doubling that melody with an alto line.
  • The stereo version of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" is mixed slightly different than the mono version, which contains less reverb.
  • The only other completed take of this song was take 5, which is included on Anthology, spliced together with intro chatter from takes 1 and 2.
Covered by: Silkie, The Beach Boys, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Beau Brummels, Joe Cocker, Elvis Costello, Dino, Desi and Billy, Percy Faith, Tim Rose, Jan and Dean
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