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The Beatles‘ John Lennon and Paul McCartney co-wrote The Rolling Stones’ “I Wanna Be Your Man.” Paul explained why he was willing to let The Rolling Stones cover the song. John had a completely different reason for giving the song away. Eventually, The Beatles released their own version of “I Wanna Be Your Man.”

What Paul McCartney thought of The Rolling Stones’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’

During a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Paul was asked why The Beatles gave “I Wanna Be Your Man” to The Rolling Stones. “You looked at all of the other bands on the scene,” he added. “We knew who was no good. We knew who was competition. It paid to know what was going on.

“We’d hear about the Stones,” he added. “They played at the Station Hotel [in London]. We went down to see them one night, just stood in the audience. I remember Mick onstage in a gray jacket doing his hand-clappy thing.

“The guy who turned The Beatles down at Decca Records happened to ask George if he knew anyone worth signing,” he added. “We were friends with them, and I just thought ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ would be good for them. I knew they did Bo Diddley stuff. And they made a good job of it. And I like to show off, say we gave them their first hit. And we did.”

John Lennon said he gave The Rolling Stones that song because he didn’t like it much

In a 1980 interview from the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono, John discussed “I Wanna Be Your Man” at length. He said he was willing to let The Rolling Stones cover the song because it wasn’t very good. In his recollection, none of his bandmates liked the song either.

Ringo Starr sang “I Wanna Be Your Man” for the album With the Beatles. John had Ringo record “I Wanna Be Your Man” because the track was not important to him. John falsely believed “I Wanna Be Your Man” was The Rolling Stones’ first record. Their actual first record was a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Come On.”


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1 version of ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ works so much better than the other

John called “I Wanna Be Your Man” “throwaway.” He was correct. Few would rank the song as one of The Beatles’ best or one of The Rolling Stones’ best. Regardless, The Rolling Stones’ version is a superior. The tune works better with the wild, sleazy energy of The Rolling Stones’ early years.

In The Beatles’ hands, “I Wanna Be Your Man” is slick but dull. Their version of the tune sounds a little too innocent and sweet. Perhaps the track would have worked better if they covered it in the bluesy “Get Back” era rather than the poppy “I Want to Hold Your Hand” era.

“I Wanna Be Your Man” is no masterpiece, but it’ll always be an interesting footnote in music history.