“Chains” is a Beatles’ song from their 1963 album, “Please Please Me” but they have another version on the 2013 album “On Air – Live At The BBC Vol 2”.
Recorded: 11th February, 1963
Genre: Rock and roll
Track Duration: 2:23
Record Label: Parlophone
Songwriters: Gerry Goffin/Carole King
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
Written by Goffin and King, “Chains” became a top 20 single in America for Little Eva’s backing singers, “The Cookies”. However, it became part of The Beatles live act too in both the Cavern Club and Hamburg. Sung by George Harrison, it also appears on The Beatles’ first studio album. His backing singers are Paul McCartney and John Lennon and that is some harmony without a doubt!
Liverpool was a hotbed for bands, thus we got the Merseybeat sound. This is the name for beat music from bands around the River Mersey and The Beatles were part of that scene, of course. Many bands in Liverpool would sing this song but The Beatles managed to make a commercial success of it.
The Beatles recorded “Chains” on the 11th of February, 1963, in Studio Two at the EMI Studios in London, during a marathon recording session (10am-10:45pm). In fact, on this day they almost recorded all tracks for their debut album, “Please Please Me”. Despite their rush job, their professionalism shone through. Indeed, their first album was a remarkable success story and Beatlemania was about to take off.
John Lennon played the harmonica which he would often use in many other songs. The Fab Four recorded four takes with the first one becoming the master track for inclusion on the album. There it sits on side one after track 3, “Anna (Go To Him)” and before “Boys“. This represents the first time that people would hear George Harrison on a commercial release.
The Beatles also recorded this song for many BBC Radio programmes. For example, they sang it for the, “Here We Go” and “Side By Side”. However, their version for “Pop Go the Beatles” airing on the 25th June, 1963, is now commercially available. Their 2013 release of “On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2” has it sitting as track 15 on side one, just before another version of “Ask Me Why“.