John Lennon and Paul McCartney Wrote The Beatles’ ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ in a Movie Star’s Basement

The Beatles‘ “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is one of the most famous songs of the 1960s. John Lennon revealed he and Paul McCartney co-wrote the song in a movie star’s basement. In addition, John explained what his working relationship with Paul was like at the time.

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison on a roof
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison | Michael Ochs Archives / Handout

John Lennon said he and Paul McCartney wrote many of The Beatles’ songs ‘eyeball to eyeball’

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono is a 1980 interview with the couple. In the book, John was asked if he never wrote songs with Paul. “By the time I said that, we were so sick of this idea of writing and singing together, especially me, that I started this thing about, “We never wrote together, we were never in the same room,'” John said. “Which wasn’t true.

“We wrote a lot of stuff together, one-on-one, eyeball to eyeball,” he continued. “Like in ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ I remember when we got the chord that made the song.”

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How John Lennon and Paul McCartney started playing The Beatles’ “I Want to Hold Your Hand’ in a basement

John discussed where he and Paul were when they co-wrote “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” “We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time,” John said. For context, Asher was Paul’s girlfriend. She appeared in films such as The Masque of the Red Death, Alfie, and Deep End.

John elaborated on the creation of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” “And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u … got that something,'” he said. “And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, “That’s it!” I said, ‘Do that again!'”

The “Imagine” singer emphasized how close he was to Paul at the time. “In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that — both playing into each other’s nose,” John recalled. “We spent hours and hours and hours … We wrote in the back of vans together.”

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How ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” became a massive hit in the United States. For seven weeks, it topped the Billboard Hot 100. The song remained on the chart for 15 weeks in total. In the U.S., the song appeared on the album Meet the Beatles! The album reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200, stating on the chart for 74 weeks.

The Official Charts Company reports “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was popular in the United Kingdom too. In the 1960s, it reached No. 1 for five of its 22 weeks on the U.K. chart. In 1983, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was released as a single again. The song reached No. 62 and stayed on the chart for three weeks.

“I Want to Hold Your Hand” is one of the most famous Beatles songs — and it all started in a basement.

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