I Don't Want to Spoil the Party

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"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"
I dont want to spoil the party single.PNG
US picture sleeve (reverse)
Single by the Beatles
A-side"Eight Days a Week"
  • 4 December 1964 (1964-12-04) (UK Beatles for Sale album)
  • 15 February 1965 (US single)
Recorded29 September 1964
StudioEMI, London
GenreCountry rock,[1] pop rock[2]
Producer(s)George Martin
The Beatles US singles chronology
"I Feel Fine"
"Eight Days a Week" / "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"
"Ticket to Ride"

"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.[3] It was released on the album Beatles for Sale in the United Kingdom in December 1964. "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" was also released on the Beatles for Sale (No. 2) EP.[4]

In the United States, Capitol released the song as the B-side of the single "Eight Days a Week", and later on the Beatles VI album, both in 1965. The song charted as a B-side, reaching number 39 on the Billboard Hot 100.[5]


The lyrics anticipate themes that were to become familiar in Lennon's songwriting – alienation and inner pain. In this song, the narrator is at a party, waiting for his girl to show up. When it becomes clear that she has stood him up, he decides to leave, rather than spoil the party for everyone else. Both the lyrics and melody share a melancholy sound and theme with songs that precede it on Beatles for Sale, such as "No Reply" and "I'm a Loser".[4] Author Ian MacDonald views the song as a return to the subject matter introduced by Lennon on "I'll Cry Instead", from the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night album, and a "preview" of "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away", from Help![6]


The Beatles recorded "I Don't Want to Spoil the Party" on 29 September 1964 in 19 takes, the last of which was released.[7] George Harrison's guitar solo, played on his new Gretsch Tennessean in the style of Carl Perkins,[6] was enhanced by midrange resonance boost, giving it an especially bright sound.[8] According to The Encyclopedia of Country Music, the song is an early example of country rock, anticipating the Byrds' work in that style.[1] MacDonald describes it as the "most overt" country track on Beatles for Sale, an album that is "dominated by the idiom".[6]

Among the band's biographers, opinions differ on which Beatle sings the low harmony part during the verses, below Lennon's lead vocal. MacDonald lists Harrison as the second vocalist on the track,[6] while John Winn credits McCartney, saying that he sounds "deceptively like a second Lennon".[9] According to musicologist Walter Everett, the harmony part is Lennon "self-duetting".[8]


Cash Box described it as "a funky, country-bluesish teen-angled tear-jerker."[10]


According to Walter Everett:[8]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1964) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 39

Rosanne Cash version[edit]

"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"
Single by Rosanne Cash
from the album Hits 1979-1989
Producer(s)Rodney Crowell, Rosanne Cash
Rosanne Cash singles chronology
"Runaway Train"
"I Don't Want to Spoil the Party"
"Black and White"

Rosanne Cash covered the song for her Hits 1979-1989 compilation. Her version went to number one on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in 1989. It was also Cash's last number one hit to date, and is the only Lennon-McCartney song to top the country chart.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[12] 1
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[13] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1989) Position
Canada Country Tracks (RPM)[14] 23
US Country Songs (Billboard)[15] 16


  1. ^ a b Kingsbury, McCall & Rumble 2012, p. 106.
  2. ^ Terence J. O'Grady (1 May 1983). The Beatles, a musical evolution. Twayne. p. 58. ISBN 978-0-8057-9453-3.
  3. ^ Miles 1997, p. 175.
  4. ^ a b Ruhlmann 2009.
  5. ^ Wallgren 1982, p. 40.
  6. ^ a b c d MacDonald 2005, p. 129.
  7. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 49.
  8. ^ a b c Everett 2001, p. 258.
  9. ^ Winn 2008, p. 273.
  10. ^ "CashBox Record Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 13 February 1965. p. 12. Retrieved 12 January 2022.
  11. ^ "The Beatles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "Top RPM Country Tracks: Issue 6373." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. 26 June 1989. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  13. ^ "Rosanne Cash Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  14. ^ "RPM Top 100 Country Tracks of 1989". RPM. 23 December 1989. Retrieved 28 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Best of 1989: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 1989. Retrieved 28 August 2013.


External links[edit]