Do You Want to Know a Secret

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"Do You Want to Know a Secret?"
Do You Want to Know a Secret sheet music.jpg
1964 sheet music cover, Metric Music, New York
Song by the Beatles from the album Please Please Me
Released 22 March 1963
Recorded 11 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Merseybeat
Length 1:56
Label Parlophone
Writer McCartney–Lennon
Producer George Martin
Please Please Me track listing
Music sample
"Do You Want to Know a Secret?"
Sleeve of Vee-Jay 7" single, released a year after the album in March 1964
Single by The Beatles
B-side "Thank You Girl"
Released 23 March 1964
Recorded 11 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Merseybeat
Length 1:56
Label Vee-Jay, VJ 587
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
"Do You Want to Know a Secret?"
Single by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas
from the album Little Children (album)
B-side "I'll Be on My Way" (Lennon–McCartney)
Released 26 April 1963
Genre Pop, beat
Length 2:01
Label Parlophone (UK)
Imperial (US)
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas singles chronology
"Do You Want to Know a Secret?"
(1963)
"Bad to Me"
(1963)

"Do You Want to Know a Secret?" is a song by English rock group the Beatles from the 1963 album Please Please Me, sung by George Harrison. In the United States, it was the first top ten song to feature Harrison as a lead singer, reaching No. 2 on the Billboard chart in 1964 as a single released by Vee-Jay, VJ 587. The song reached the No. 1 position on Billboard in 1981 and No. 2 in the United Kingdom in a cover version by Stars on 45 as part of a medley.

Composition[edit]

"Do You Want to Know a Secret?", written in autumn 1962, was primarily composed by John Lennon but credited to McCartney–Lennon.[1]The song was inspired by "I'm Wishing",[2] a tune from Walt Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs which Lennon's mother, Julia Lennon, 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?") come right after the opening lyrics ("You'll never know how much I really love you... You'll never know how much I really care...").[3][4] McCartney has said it was a "50–50 collaboration written to order", i.e., for Harrison to sing,[5] but Lennon, who always claimed the song as his own, explained in a 1980 interview that he had realized as soon as he had finished writing the song that it best suited Harrison.[6]

Recording[edit]

In 1980, Lennon said that he gave "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" to Harrison to sing because "it only had three notes and he wasn't the best singer in the world", but added "he has improved a lot since then."[4] Harrison sang two songs on Please Please Me, this song by Lennon–McCartney and "Chains" by Goffin/King. "Don't Bother Me" from With The Beatles, was the first Beatles song composed solely by Harrison.[7]

The song was recorded during a ten-hour session on 11 February 1963 along with nine other songs for Please Please Me.[8]

Single release[edit]

"Do You Want to Know a Secret?" was released a year later as a single by Vee-Jay in the United States on 23 March 1964, reaching the number two spot behind another Beatles song, "Can't Buy Me Love" in Billboard, reaching number three on the Cash Box chart, but reaching number one for two weeks in the chart published by the Teletheatre Research Institute.

Personnel[edit]

Engineered by Norman Smith[9]

The Billy J. Kramer version[edit]

The Beatles' version was never released as a single in the UK, where a cover version by Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas (released b/w "I'll Be on My Way", Parlophone R5023, 26 April 1963)[10] reached number two in the Record Retailer chart, and hit number one in the NME chart (used by Radio Luxembourg) and the BBC's Pick of the Pops chart, which were more widely recognised at the time. It appeared on his album, Little Children. It reached number eight in the Irish Singles Chart.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1963) Peak
position
United Kingdom (Record Retailer) 2[11]
United Kingdom (NME) 1[12]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Lewisohn, Mark. The Beatles: All These Years, Volume One – Tune In. Crown Archetype, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4000-8305-3, pp. 733-734
  2. ^ Distant Melody 2007.
  3. ^ Harry, p. 209.
  4. ^ a b Sheff 2000, p. 165.
  5. ^ Miles 1997, p. 95.
  6. ^ Lewisohn, Mark. The Beatles: All These Years, Volume One – Tune In. Crown Archetype, 2013, ISBN 978-1-4000-8305-3, p. 873
  7. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 53.
  8. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 24.
  9. ^ Do You Want to Know a Secret? | The Beatles Bible
  10. ^ Calkin 2009.
  11. ^ "Artist Chart History Details: Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas". The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  12. ^ Rees, Lazell & Osborne 1995, p. 127.

References[edit]

External links[edit]