Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded in October 1963, it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment.
With advance orders exceeding one million copies in the United Kingdom, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” would have gone straight to the top of the British record charts on its day of release (29 November 1963) had it not been blocked by the group’s first million seller “She Loves You”, their previous UK single, which was having a resurgence of popularity following intense media coverage of the group.
John Lennon, 1980
We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in I Want To Hold Your Hand, I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u… got that something…’ And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that – both playing into each other’s nose.
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
“‘Eyeball to eyeball’ is a very good description of it. That’s exactly how it was. ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ was very co-written. It was our big number one; the one that would eventually break us in America.”
Paul McCartney to Barry Miles, 1994
Taking two weeks to dislodge its predecessor, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” stayed at number 1 for five weeks and remained in the UK top 50 for 21 weeks in total.
John Lennon: vocals, guitar
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
George Harrison: lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums
It was also the group’s first American number 1 hit, entering the Billboard Hot 100 chart on 18 January 1964 at number 45 and starting the British invasion of the American music industry.