Chains (Cookies song)

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

"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 for the English rock band the Beatles, who recorded the song for their debut album in 1963. King recorded a solo version of "Chains" for her 1980 album Pearls: Songs of Goffin and King.

The Cookies’ version was used as opening sequence of Skipped Parts.

The Cookies rendition[edit]

The song was originally offered to The Everly Brothers who recorded their version in July 1962, but opted not to release it. 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, number 17 on the Hot 100 charts,[1] and number 4 in Canada.[2]

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.[3]

Personnel[citation needed]

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

The Beatles' version[edit]

Chains sheet music.jpg
Sheet music cover
Song by the Beatles
from the album Please Please Me
RecordedFebruary 11, 1963
StudioEMI, London
GenreRock and roll, R&B
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,[4] and was included briefly in the Beatles' live sets.[5] They recorded it on February 11, 1963 in four takes, the first proving to be the best. Lennon played the introduction on harmonica.

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 those 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.[4]

Personnel (from MacDonald)[5]


  1. ^ a b Whitburn 1988, p. 101.
  2. ^ "CHUM Hit Parade - December 31, 1962".
  3. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Chains – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  4. ^ a b Harry 2000, p. 250.
  5. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, p. 74.