Do You Want To Know A Secret - The Beatles
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"Do You Want To Know A Secret" - The Beatles (1963)
Written by McCartney-Lennon for George to sing, “Do You Want To Know A Secret” was inspired by "I'm Wishing," a tune from Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which Lennon's mother would sing to him as a child.
The first two lines of the song in Disney's movie ("Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell?") comes right after the opening lyrics ("You'll never know how much I really love you... You'll never know how much I really care...").
It's one of the only Beatles songs not sung by the person who wrote it. George commented: I didn’t like my vocal on it. I didn’t know how to sing; nobody told me how to sing.
The track leaves a lasting impression of having been enwrapped in a haze of gentle reverberation even though it was not entirely recorded that way. The “tempo rubato” vocal introduction evokes the melodramatic ballad style of the 1950s with its dramatic text.
“Do You Want To Know A Secret” is distinguished by an interesting descending guitar lines that provides a feeling of climbing down a set of stairs for a couple of minutes. The overdubbed tapping of drum sticks in the bridge is a musically small touch that is historically notable because of the trend in recording/arranging practice it signals.
“It sounds rather solemn, certainly serious: which is appropriate enough, since the “secret” is that he really loves her. When the tune arrives it’s happy, but by no means deflatory in effect. It is still happy and innocent, though less unambiguously Edenic, because more aware of the intensities, if not the agonies, of love.”
Musicologist Alan Pollack adds:
“The aesthetic of sentimental shy puppy love and gauzy soft focus is not one to which The Beatles were often drawn over the long run; Sweet and Cuddly Moptops notwithstanding, it didn't suit them as a group. Even here, they manage to rescue this one from drowning in its own cliches only by means of an abundance of interesting details and a modicum of sincerity.”
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