Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles

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"Can't Buy Me Love" - The Beatles (1964)

Recorded in March 1964, McCartney claimed "Can't Buy Me Love" was an attempt to write a bluesy mode. He said it was definitely NOT about a prostitute- as has often been suggested.

Commenting on the perks that money and fame had brought him, he added: ”It should have been 'Can Buy Me Love'”

The track had the biggest jump to number one than any other song- going from number twenty-seven to number one; no other single had ever done this. It spent a combined total of 14 consecutive weeks at number one. During its second week in April 1964, The Beatles had fourteen songs on the Billboard 100 at the same time.

The recording begins with its chorus which immediately catches the attention of the listener. It represents the Beatles’ ability to be two contradictory things at once- comfortably safe and exhilaratingly strange.

When producer George Martin first heard the song he felt something was wrong and he thought that it really needed a tag for the song’s ending, and a tag for the beginning; a kind of intro. So I took the first two lines of the chorus and changed the ending, and said:

"Let's just have these lines, and by altering the second phrase we can get back into the verse pretty quickly."

The verse is a twelve bar blues in structure, a formula that the Beatles seldom applied to their own material.

Writes Beatle scholar Alan Pollack:

"It contains in its music a fusion of loosely related styles, and in its lyrics, the transmutation from platitude to poetry of a certain commonplace re: love and money; both of which innovations subtly prophecy particularly fertile trends of Beatles' experimentalism to come years hence."

George’s double-tracked guitar solo talks to itself across the left and right channels. His double-tracked guitar solo makes an uncanny first impression of genuinely smooth improvisation as it allows him to echo his own playing. The use of sizzling cymbals everywhere in the song except the intro and outro is a typical Beatles' example of texture used for purposes of formal articulation.

The narrator is telling woman that money and materialism is not what love is truly about. It makes a simple yet profound statement on what matters most in life. He is trying to buy some love, even unconsciously. He doesn't really get it. He is trying to be politically correct, but he misses the point with all the presents he's offering to his lover.

Even for someone who says he doesn't care about money, that he would give it all away, it's better if he doesn't even need to. In the end, he gets it, after some confusion.

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