- Paul McCartney wanted The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” to start with a certain lyric.
- The band’s producer, George Martin, didn’t think that line was impactful.
- The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” was a hit once in the United States and twice in the United Kingdom.
George Martin said Paul McCartney‘s original version of The Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love” lacked a proper hook. He discussed how a simple musical change made the track more interesting. Subsequently, he revealed what he thought about Paul as a solo artist.
George Martin added a musical surprise to The Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’
During a 1995 interview with The Christian Science Monitor, Martin discussed the evolution of “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Paul wanted the song to begin with the lyric “Money can’t buy me anything to keep me satisfied.” Martin felt that line wasn’t impactful.
“I said to him: ‘Let’s start off with drums, then ‘Can’t buy me love,’ two times,” Martin recalled. “On the second repeat, I suggested changing chords.”
Martin felt the chord change came as a surprise. “Now, there was an introduction,” he said. “Paul liked it, so we kept it. Then we were ready to go into the verse.”
George Martin discussed how Paul McCartney felt after The Beatles’ breakup up
Martin had strong feelings about The Beatles as musicians. “Those four people together became something much stronger than those four individuals,” he opined. “That’s true of their songwriting, their recording — everything. Together they were impregnable.
“There is no question that when they broke up, Paul missed John and John missed Paul,” Martin said. “I actually think Paul would like to write material today like he used to write. But there is no one alive now that can give him that spur. Yet, don’t forget, as a twosome they wrote nearly 300 great songs. That’s more than Cole Porter or Irving Berlin or Jerome Kern ever did. That’s certainly more than enough for one lifetime.”
How ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ performed in the United States and the United Kingdom
“Can’t Buy Me Love” was a big hit in the United States. There, the tune reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks of its 10 weeks on the chart, becoming one of the band’s most popular tunes. The song appeared on the soundtrack for A Hard Day’s Night. That soundtrack peaked at No. 1 for 14 of its 56 weeks on the Billboard 200.
The Official Charts Company reports “Can’t Buy Me Love” reached No. 1 in the United Kingdom and lasted on the chart for 15 weeks. In 1984, the tune recharted at No. 53 and stayed on the chart for two weeks. On the other hand, A Hard Day’s Night was a chart-topper that lasted 39 weeks on the chart. In 1987, the record reached No. 30 and spent seven weeks on the chart.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” was a big hit even if Martin didn’t like the original version of it.