I Want to Hold Your Hand
Writer(s): John Lennon/Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)
Released: November 29, 1963
First Charted: December 5, 1963
Peak: 17 US, 18 CB, 19 HR, 15 UK, 16 CN, 17 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 4.0 US, 1.86 UK, 12.0 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 3.0 radio, 67.9 video, 233.71 streaming
Awards: (Click on award for more details).
About the Song:
Beatlemania exploded in the UK in 1963. “From Me to You” hit #1 in May, followed by “She Loves You” in September and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in December. Manager Brian Epstein couldn’t get Capitol Records (EMI’s American company) interested because, as one label executive said, “We don’t think the Beatles will do anything in this market.” BR He couldn’t have been more wrong.
“I Want to Hold Your Hand” ended up launching the group in the United States. Paul McCartney remembers the group telling Epstein, “We’re not going to America till we’ve got a #1 record.” RS500 They kept their promise. When the Beatles touched down in New York for their first U.S. visit, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was the number one song in the U.S. BB100 On February 9, 1964, the Beatles performed for an estimated 73 million people on The Ed Sullivan Show.
It went on to become the biggest hit of the year WHC and the Beatles’ first of twenty #1’s on the Billboard Hot 100, a still untouched record. BB100 It was also the opening shot for the British Invasion. AMG Previously, only two British artists had topped the U.S. charts – Acker Bilk with “Stranger on the Shore” and the Tornados with “Telstar.” LW However, during 1964 and 1965, the Brits occupied a whopping 52 weeks at the American chart pinnacle. LW
The tame sexuality of the title phrase was mocked by some critics AMG but “the lyrics are typical of the period – all euphemism and innuendo.” CR The Beatles had more on their minds than hand holding. KL Their goal was to “make maximum impact rather than last as a transcendent song,” LW However, they achieved the latter nonetheless with “one of the most important songs in rock history.” AMG
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First posted 4/15/2019; last updated 4/13/2021.