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Can't Buy Me Love

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Title: Can't Buy Me Love  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: The Paul McCartney World Tour, Driving World Tour, The New World Tour, List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones, Things We Said Today
Collection: 1964 Singles, 1964 Songs, Billboard Hot 100 Number-One Singles, Capitol Records Singles, Chet Atkins Songs, Ella Fitzgerald Songs, Irish Singles Chart Number-One Singles, Million-Selling Singles in the United Kingdom, Parlophone Singles, Rpm Top Singles Number-One Singles, Singles Certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, Song Recordings Produced by George Martin, Songs Published by Northern Songs, Songs Written by Lennon–mccartney, The Beatles Songs, Uk Singles Chart Number-One Singles
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Can't Buy Me Love

"Can't Buy Me Love"
US picture sleeve
Single by the Beatles
from the album A Hard Day's Night
B-side "You Can't Do That"
Released 16 March 1964 (US)
20 March 1964 (UK)
Format 7"
Recorded 29 January 1964,
Pathé Marconi Studios, Paris;
25 February and 10 March 1964,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Pop rock[1]
Length 2:11
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Certification Gold (RIAA)[2]
The Beatles UK singles chronology
"I Want to Hold Your Hand"
"Can't Buy Me Love"
"A Hard Day's Night"
The Beatles US singles chronology
"Twist and Shout"
"Can't Buy Me Love"
"Do You Want to Know a Secret"
A Hard Day's Night track listing
Alternative cover
1982 reissue
Music sample

"Can't Buy Me Love" is a song composed by Paul McCartney[3] (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and released by the Beatles on the A-side of their sixth British single, "Can't Buy Me Love"/"You Can't Do That".

In September 2015, McCartney donated the use of the song to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. [4]


  • Interpretation 1
  • Composition 2
  • Recording 3
  • Personnel 4
  • Music charts 5
    • US music charts 5.1
    • UK music charts 5.2
    • Other chart positions 5.3
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


When pressed by American journalists in 1966 to reveal the song's "true" meaning, McCartney stated that "I think you can put any interpretation you want on anything, but when someone suggests that 'Can't Buy Me Love' is about a prostitute, I draw the line." He went on to say: "The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won't buy me what I really want."[5] However, he was to comment later: "It should have been 'Can Buy Me Love' " when reflecting on the perks that money and fame had brought him.[6]


While in Paris, [8]

The song's verse is a twelve bar blues in structure, a formula that the Beatles seldom applied to their own material.[9]


"Can't Buy Me Love" was recorded on 29 January 1964 at [12] Helen Shapiro, a friend of the Beatles and present at this overdub session, says that Ringo Starr also added extra cymbals "over the top" and that "apparently this was something he did quite often on their records"[13] (Geoff Emerick, tape operator and later the Beatles' recording engineer, credits Norman Smith, the Beatles' then-current engineer, with this overdub).[14] "Can't Buy Me Love" is also the only English-language Beatles track that the Beatles themselves recorded in a studio outside the UK, although the instrumental portion of the Beatles' B-side "The Inner Light" was recorded in India by Indian session musicians.


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[15]
as per Geoff Emerick's credit

Music charts

US music charts

The Beatles established four records on the Billboard Hot 100 with "Can't Buy Me Love" at number one:

  1. Until Billboard began using SoundScan for their charts in 1991, it had the biggest jump to number one: (number twenty-seven to number one; no other single had ever done this).
  2. It gave the Beatles three consecutive number-one songs ("I Want to Hold Your Hand" was replaced at number one by "She Loves You" which was in turn replaced by "Can't Buy Me Love"). The three songs spent a combined total of 14 consecutive weeks at No. 1. This is the only time an artist had three number ones in a row. The best prior was Elvis, who had two consecutive number ones with Don't Be Cruel and Love Me Tender.[16]
  3. When "Can't Buy Me Love" went to number one (4 April 1964), the entire top five of the Hot 100 was by the Beatles, the next positions being filled by "Twist and Shout", "She Loves You", "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "Please Please Me," respectively. No other act has held the top five spots simultaneously.
  4. During its second week at number one (11 April 1964), the Beatles had fourteen songs on the Hot 100 at the same time.

The song was the third of seven songs by the Beatles to hit #1 in a one-year period; an all-time record. In order, these were "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "Can't Buy Me Love", "Love Me Do", "A Hard Day's Night", "I Feel Fine", and "Eight Days a Week". It was also the third of seven songs written by Lennon-McCartney to hit #1 in 1964; that's an all-time record for writing the most songs to hit #1 in the same calendar year. (see List of Billboard Hot 100 chart achievements and milestones)

Rolling Stone ranked "Can't Buy Me Love" at No. 289 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song spent five consecutive weeks at No. 1. The only Beatles songs to exceed that mark were "I Want To Hold Your Hand" at seven weeks and "Hey Jude" at nine weeks.

UK music charts

Can't Buy Me Love became the Beatles' fourth UK number-one single and their third single to sell over a million copies in the UK. It has sold 1.53 million copies as of November 2012.[17]

The song was also released in the following albums: A Hard Day's Night (both the American United Artists and British Parlophone versions); Big Hits From England and the USA, a various artists compilation album from Capitol issued in 1964; the British-only LP release A Collection of Beatles Oldies; the 1970 compilation Hey Jude (also known as The Beatles Again); the 1973 double disc collection 1962–1966 (the Red Album); the 1982 release Reel Music, which features songs from Beatles films; the 1982 compilation 20 Greatest Hits (both in England and America); and 1, released in November 2000.

Other chart positions

Chart Peak
Belgian (Flanders) Singles[18] 5
Belgian (Flanders) Back Catalogue Singles[18] 28
Belgian (Wallonia) Back Catalogue Singles[19] 5
Dutch Mega Single Top 100[20] 1
German Singles[21] 24
Norwegian Singles[22] 3


  1. ^ Andrew Blake 1999, p. 22.
  2. ^ "RIAA Gold & Platinum Searchable Database – The Beatles Gold Singles". Retrieved 20 July 2009. 
  3. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 105.
  4. ^ Kretzer, Michelle (29 September 2015). "Beatles Donate Use of ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ to PETA for Adoption Campaign". PETA. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  5. ^ Badman 2000, p. 97.
  6. ^ a b Miles 1997, p. 162.
  7. ^ Miles 1997, p. 161.
  8. ^ The Beatles 2000, p. 114.
  9. ^ Martin & Pearson 1994, p. 40.
  10. ^ a b c Lewisohn 1988, p. 138.
  11. ^ a b The Beatles 2000, p. 112.
  12. ^ The Beatles 2000, pp. 112–114.
  13. ^ Southall 1982, p. 96.
  14. ^ The Beatles Bible.
  15. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 104.
  16. ^ Bronson, F. (2003) The Billboard book of number one hits Billboard Books p. 145
  17. ^ Sedghi, Ami (4 November 2012). "UK's million-selling singles: the full list". Guardian. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  18. ^ a b The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  19. ^ The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (in French). Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  20. ^ The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  21. ^ Single - The Beatles, Can't Buy Me Love (in German). Retrieved 21 December 2013.
  22. ^ The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 December 2013.


  • Blake, Andrew (1999). Living through pop. 
  • Badman, Keith (2000). The Beatles Off The Record. 
  • "American single certifications – Beatles, The – Can_t Buy Me Love". SEARCH , then click Single, then select Format, then click AdvancedIf necessary, click  
  • Southall, Brian (1982). Abbey Road. The Story of the World's Most Famous Recording Studios. London: Patrick Stephens.  
  • "Can't Buy Me Love – The Beatles Bible". Retrieved 11 April 2012. 

External links

Preceded by
"Little Children" by Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas
UK Singles Chart number-one single
2 April 1964 – 23 April 1964
Succeeded by
"A World Without Love" by Peter and Gordon
Preceded by
"She Loves You" by The Beatles
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
4 April 1964 – 2 May 1964
Succeeded by
"Hello, Dolly!" by Louis Armstrong
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