The Beatles Songs: "I Wanna Be Your Man"

The history of this classic Beatles song

Ringo dancing at the Peppermint Lounge for the "I Wanna Be Your Man" scene in "A Hard Day's Night". Albert Mayles/Getty Images

I Wanna Be Your Man

Written by: John Lennon (30%), Paul McCartney (70%)
(credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: September 12 and 30, October 3 and 23, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: October 23 and 29, 1963
Length: 1:53
Takes: 16


John Lennon: backing vocal, rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: backing vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead guitar (1962 Gretsch 6122 "Country Gentleman")
Ringo Starr: lead vocal, drums (1963 Black Oyster Pearl Ludwig kit), maracas
George Martin: organ (Hammond RT-3)

Released on: (CDs in bold)

  • With The Beatles, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1206; PCS 3045, Parlophone CDP 7 46436 2, US: Capitol CLJ 46436)
  • Meet The Beatles, (US: Capitol (S)T 2047, Capitol CDP 7243 8 66875 2 4)


  • As the only Beatles song ever covered by the Rolling Stones, the origins of "I Wanna Be Your Man" are disputed. All parties agree that that, on September 10, 1963, John and Paul wound up at the Rolling Stones' latest rehearsal, and wrote (or, more likely, completed) a song especially for the Stones on the spot. The Stones recorded their version on October 7th, but by that time -- perhaps sensing the newer band would soon be competition -- the Beatles version was recorded. The Stones, however, did get the jump on their version's release (November 1, 1963).
  • The competing origin stories of "I Wanna Be Your Man" are as follows: Mick Jagger claims the Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham brought John and Paul to rehearsal, and that John pitched the unfinished song to them, which seems unlikely as the genesis of the song lay with Paul. John Lennon claimed that Brian Epstein brought he and Paul to a Stones' concert in Richmond, London, and that Mick asked about their "unfinished song" backstage. Paul, on the other hand, has claimed that he and John ran into Mick and Keith in a taxi, and that Mick asked him what they'd been working on.
  • There's also disagreement over just how much of the song was written in the presence of the Stones -- a fact which all agree impressed Mick and Keith greatly. Paul has suggested the song was essentially done, while John claimed he and Paul wrote the chorus on the spot.
  • In any event, the Beatles agree that this song was Paul's basic idea, written for Ringo to sing, and that John helped him finish it up. It was recorded at the third session for With The Beatles, then rerecorded on September 12th, with organ and maracas, as well as other edit parts, added later.
    Known live versions:

    June 20, 1965 (Palais Des Sports, Paris, France)
    June 22, 1965 (Palais d'Hiver, Lyon, France)
    June 24, 1965 (Velodromo, Milan, Italy)
    June 25, 1965 (Palazzo Dello Sport, Genoa, Italy)
    June 27-28, 1965 (Teatro Adriano, Rome, Italy)
    June 30, 1965 (Palais Des Fetes, Nice, France)
    July 2, 1965 (Plaza De Toros De Madrid, Madrid, Spain)
    July 3, 1965 (Plaza de Toros Monumental, Barcelona, Spain)
    August 15, 1965 (Shea Stadium, New York, NY)
    August 17, 1965 (Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada)
    August 18, 1965 (Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, GA)
    August 19, 1965 (Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX)
    August 20, 1965 (White Sox Park, Chicago, IL)
    August 21, 1965 (Metropolitan Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)
    August 22, 1965 (Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR)
    August 28, 1965 (Balboa Stadium, San Diego, CA)
    August 19-30, 1965 (Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA)
    August 31, 1965 (Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA)
    December 3, 1965 (Odeon, Glasgow, Scotland)
    December 4, 1965 (City Hall, Newcastle, England)
    December 5, 1965 (Empire, Liverpool, England)
    December 7, 1965 (Apollo, Ardwick, Manchester, England)
    December 8, 1965 (City Hall, Sheffield, England)
    December 9, 1965 (Odeon, Birmingham, England)
    December 10, 1965 (Odeon, Hammersmith, England)
    December 11, 1965 (Astoria, Finsbury Park, England)
    December 12, 1965 (Capitol, Cardiff, England)
    June 24, 1966 (Circus-Krone-Bau, Munich, Germany)
    June 25, 1966 (Grugahalle, Essen, Germany)
    June 26, 1966 ( Ernst Merck Halle, Hamburg, Germany)
    June 30 - July 2, 1966 (Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan)
    July 4, 1965 (Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, Manila, Philippines)
    August 12, 1966 (International Amphitheatre, Chicago, IL)
    August 13, 1966 (Olympia Stadium, Detroit, MI)
    August 14, 1966 (Municipal Stadium, Cleveland, OH)
    August 15, 1966 (Washington Stadium, Washington, DC)
    August 16, 1966 (Philadelphia Stadium, Philadelphia, PA)
    August 17, 1966 (Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada)
    August 18, 1966 (Suffolk Downs Racecourse, Boston, MA)
    August 19, 1966 (Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN)
    August 20, 1966 (Crosley Field, Cincinnati, OH)
    August 21, 1966 (Busch Stadium, St Louis, MO)
    August 23, 1966 (Shea Stadium, New York, NY)
    August 25, 1966 (Seattle Coliseum, Seattle, WA)
    August 28, 1966 (Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA)
    August 30, 1966 (Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA)

    BBC versions: 2 (for the BBC radio programs From Us To You and Saturday Club


    • This was an important single for the Stones in the UK; their first single, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On," stalled at #21 on the British charts, but this follow-up made it to #12. They did, however, write the b-side of that single, an instrumental called "Stoned" that was the band's first original composition. In fact, the Stones themselves have credited that historic meeting with inspiring them to write originals.
    • The Stones song is different from the original in several aspects, being in a lower key (C as opposed to ) having a different arrangement and structure, and also missing a verse from Beatles' finished version ("Love you like no other, baby / Like no other can").
    • Both bands included this song in their 1963 setlists, but only the Stones ditched it thereafter.
    • This is one of the songs danced to during the "party" sequence in A Hard Day's Night.
    Covered by: The Rolling Stones, The Smithereens, Count Basie, Audience, The Eyes, Adam Faith, The Flamin' Groovies, The Inmates, Peter Lipa, The Makers, Terry Manning, The Milkshakes, R. Stevie Moore, Sam Phillips, Suzi Quatro, The Rockin' Ramrods, Brian Setzer, The Volumes, Roger Webb