Chains (Cookies song)

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"Chains"
Single by the Cookies
B-side"Stranger in My Arms"
ReleasedNovember 1962 (1962-11)
Recorded1962
GenreR&B, pop
Length2:25
LabelDimension
Songwriter(s)Gerry Goffin, Carole King
Producer(s)Gerry Goffin
The Cookies singles chronology
"In Paradise (reissue)"
(1960)
"Chains"
(1962)
"Don't Say Nothin' Bad (About My Baby)"
(1963)

"Chains" is a rhythm and blues song written by husband-and-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was a hit for the American girl group the Cookies in 1962 and in 1963 the Beatles recorded the song for their debut album.

The Cookies rendition[edit]

The Cookies, who also worked as backing singers, recorded "Chains" and in late 1962, it became their first appearance in the record charts since "In Paradise" reached number nine in 1956.[1] The single released by Dimension Records peaked at number six on Billboard's Hot R&B singles and number 17 on the Hot 100 charts.[1]

In a song review for AllMusic, critic Richie Unterberger described it as:

Like several other girl group and indeed soul-pop songs of the era, it employed an irregular clapping beat, alternating two-claps-to-a-measure with one-clap-to-a-measure rhythms. If that sounds like a simple formula, it's nonetheless pretty catchy, stimulating both the record's groove and making the words and melody more singable and memorable. The verses of "Chains" are R&B-tinged pop-rock, frequently bolstered by upbeat smoky sax riffs following lines of the lyric. The bridges got into a more sultry and seductive mood, sung not in unison as the verses were, but with a winsome and vulnerable lead voice poking out in front of the vocal arrangement.[2]

Personnel[citation needed]

  • Earl-Jean – lead vocals
  • Margaret Ross – backing vocals
  • Dorothy Jones – backing vocals
  • Eva Boyd – backing vocals

The Beatles' version[edit]

"Chains"
Chains sheet music.jpg
Sheet music cover
Song by the Beatles
Released
RecordedFebruary 11, 1963
StudioEMI, London
GenreRock
Length2:23
LabelParlophone
Songwriter(s)Gerry Goffin, Carole King
Producer(s)George Martin

The single by the Cookies was a popular cover song for Liverpool bands after its release in November 1962,[3] and was included briefly in the Beatles' live sets.[4] They recorded it on February 11, 1963 in four takes (the first having proven to be the best); Lennon played the introduction on harmonica.

Music critic Ian MacDonald criticized the Beatles' performance, writing that it was "slightly out-of-tune" and "lacked spontaneity".[4] George Harrison sings the lead vocal on the Beatles' version; and, as the fourth track from the group's first album, it represents the first time many fans heard Harrison singing lead on a commercially released song.

They played the song live on a number of BBC radio shows, including Side by Side, Here We Go and Pop Go the Beatles (though none of these performances were included on the 1994 compilation Live at the BBC, it was eventually released on the 2013 compilation On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2).[3]

Personnel (from MacDonald)[4]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Whitburn 1988, p. 101.
  2. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Chains – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Harry 2000, p. 250.
  4. ^ a b c MacDonald 2005, p. 74.

References[edit]