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Undercover Wednesday: ‘You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me’ by the Beatles

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

You wouldn’t think that “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me” would be a good choice for a rock song. But to me, a great song can transcend any genre of music.

Smokey Robinson was sitting in a hotel room in 1962 when he penned this two time hit. it was recorded shortly after by Smokey and his buddies The Miracles and it became a top 10 hit.

Now onto the cover. The Beatles had gotten an import copy of the song (they liked Motown and Blues music) fell in love with it and started using it in live shows.

They decided John Lennon’s lead vocals would be perfect with George Harrison’s close harmony and they were right. In July of 1963, in the midst of a hectic touring schedule, they recorded  (the now renamed) “You Really Got a Hold On Me”.

After their studio got upgraded equipment, John Lennon talked the Beatles into recutting the song. He thought it would sound better. It turned out the older equipment made the sound cooler, so the remake never saw the light of day.

It became a favorite song of both the Beatles and their fans. You can find the track on 1971 documentary Let It Be.

Side note: Berry Gordy, head of Motown Records, respected the Beatles stating often that they were influenced by the Blues and Motown, and in turn charged them a reduced rate for the use of this song and other Motown songs.

And now you know.




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