30 Day Song Challenge, Day 11 – “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles

The subject for Day 11 of my 30 Day Song Challenge is “A song from the first album you ever owned“. This will reveal how ancient I am, but the first album I ever owned was Meet the Beatles!, which I bought in 1964 when I was nine years old. My copy, pictured above, is still in mint condition. The song I’ve chosen from the album is “I Want to Hold Your Hand“, which was my introduction to the Beatles, and their first Top 40 hit in the U.S. (The version of the album released in the UK was titled With the Beatles, and featured a different list of tracks, none of which was “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.)

The Beatles recorded “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at EMI Studios in London on October 17, 1963, along with “This Boy”, which became the B-side of the 45 single released in the UK. The two songs were recorded on the same day, and required seventeen takes to complete. The single was released on November 29, 1963 in the UK, and December 26, 1963 in the U.S., although the version released in the U.S. featured “I Saw Her Standing There” as the B-side.

The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart at #45 on January 18, 1964, which music historians mark as the beginning of the ‘British Invasion’ of the American music industry. It reached #1 on February 1st, and stayed there for seven weeks before being replaced by “She Loves You”, which had actually been released in September 1963, but shockingly, failed to catch on in the U.S. at the time. Despite receiving a positive review in Billboard, “She Loves You” garnered very little radio airplay, sold only about 1,000 copies, and completely failed to chart on Billboard (I previously featured “She Loves You” for another song challenge in 2020, which you can read here).

After the poor reception for “She Loves You” in the U.S., Capitol Records (the Beatles’ label for the distribution of their music in the U.S.) resisted releasing any more of their music, despite protestations by Beatles’ producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein. Capitol finally released “I Want to Hold Your Hand” the day after Christmas 1963. 

Though the song was quickly embraced by raving fans on both sides of the Atlantic, it was dismissed by some stodgy critics as nothing more than another fad song that would not hold up to the test of time. Proving them wrong, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” went on to become the Beatles’ best-selling single worldwide, selling more than 12 million copies, and in 2018, Billboard named it the 48th biggest hit of all time on its Hot 100. In the UK, it was the second highest selling single of the 1960s, behind “She Loves You”.

Here’s their famous performance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.

17 thoughts on “30 Day Song Challenge, Day 11 – “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles

  1. How could I possibly argue with you here, Jeff, when in my completely unbiased opinion, all truly great rock and pop music starts with The Beatles!😀

    That’s certainly a nice first album to own. I got the UK version “With The Beatles” as part of a vinyl box set. If I recall it correctly, I received it as a Christmas present from my dear parents – must have been sometime in the late ‘70s/early ‘80s.

    My first Beatles record on vinyl was a compilation titled “20 Golden Hits”. I just looked it up on Wikipedia, and it apparently came out in 1979. I probably got it around that time.

    Shamefully, I cannot remember the first vinyl record I owned. The aforementioned Beatles sampler definitely was among the early ones. Another early one was a greatest hits by Elvis, a double LP with pink disks – very Elvis!😀

    I’m pretty sure I still have these copies. Currently, my vinyl is in boxes and not well accessible. Still the remnants from a previous home project – sigh!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I got “Meet the Beatles!”, my sister got “The Beatles’ Second Album”, then a few months later, my father bought the “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack. But I never bought another Beatles album after that, though I did buy a few of their singles like “Hello Goodbye” and “Hey Jude”.

      I don’t really know why, other than that I just wasn’t interested in buying any more albums until I reached my teens. If I remember correctly, I bought the Mamas & Papas Greatest Hits in 1968 or 69, the Supremes Greatest Hits double album in 1969, and Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” in early 1970.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My vinyl collection has always been pretty moderate. I think even today it’s probably no more than about 120 LPs. I definitely have more CDs.

        I used to tape on MC like a maniac during my teens and early 20s, from the radio, vinyl and CD. Most of these tapes are still floating around. I could never throw them out, even though by now it’s safe to assume many aren’t in great shape any longer.

        Nowadays, pretty much all of my listening is via streaming or car radio. It’s kind of sad to admit…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I made lots of mixtapes back in the 70s & 80s too, and would listen to them mostly in the car while commuting. I haven’t bought any vinyl since 1988, and now buy maybe one physical CD a year, and 3-4 digital albums on Bandcamp.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Badfinger (Max)

    What an uplifting innocent song this is. I use this single as an example of vinyl. I have had the CD and it sounds fine but when you drop a needle on this song…it jumps out at you. My first Beatle album was the greatest hits of Hey Jude Again….my first exposure to the Beatles when I was 8 in 1975 was Meet The Beatles. Ater borrowing that album…I couldn’t believe the long haired guys on the greatest hits were the same band.
    Wonderful Post Jeff!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. H.G.O

    I love this song as well. Great choice! Without The Beatles, we wouldn’t have the great music that we love today.
    it’s amazing how well you preserved that record. In comparison, the first album I ever got was actually a CD, Michael Jackson’s Dangerous, when I was probably 9 or 10, and I’m not even sure if that CD still exists.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I think most believe they did their best work after Rubber Soul. But I’ve been revisiting a lot of stuff from the early 60s lately. The simplicity of that era’s music just sounds refreshing nowadays

        Liked by 1 person

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