Can’t Buy Me Love was recorded on 29 January 1964 at EMI’s Pathe Marconi Studios in Paris, France, where The Beatles were performing 18 days of concerts at the Olympia Theatre. At this time, EMI’s West Germany branch, Odeon, insisted that the Beatles would not sell records in any significant numbers in Germany unless they were actually sung in the German language and the Beatles reluctantly agreed to re-record the vocals to She Loves You and I Want to Hold Your Hand prior to them being released in Germany.
While in Paris, The Beatles stayed at the five star George V hotel and had an upright piano moved into one of their suites so that song writing could continue. It was here that McCartney wrote Can’t Buy Me Love. The song was written under the pressure of the success achieved by “I Want to Hold Your Hand” which had just reached number one in America. When producer George Martin first heard Can’t Buy Me Love he felt the song needed changing: “I thought that we really needed a tag for the song’s ending, and a tag for the beginning; a kind of intro. So I took the first two lines of the chorus and changed the ending, and said ‘Let’s just have these lines, and by altering the second phrase we can get back into the verse pretty quickly.'” And they said, “That’s not a bad idea, we’ll do it that way”.
The song’s verse is a twelve bar blues in structure, a formula that the Beatles seldom applied to their own material.
When pressed by American journalists in 1966 to reveal the song’s “true” meaning, Paul 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.” 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.
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