“Chains” is a song composed by the husband-and-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King and originally recorded (but not released) by The Everly Brothers. In 1962 it was a hit for Little Eva’s backing singers, The Cookies (#17 U.S. Pop, #7 R&B), and later covered by English rock group The Beatles.
The single by the Cookies was a popular cover song for Liverpool bands after its release in November 1962, and was included briefly in the Beatles’ live sets. They recorded it on February 11, 1963 in four takes (the first having proven to be the best) for inclusion on their British debut, Please Please Me. Lennon played the introduction on harmonica. Music critic Ian MacDonald criticized the Beatles’ performance, writing that it was “slightly out-of-tune” and “lacked spontaneity.” George Harrison sings the lead vocal on the Beatles’ version; and, as the fourth track from the group’s first album, it represents the first time many fans heard Harrison singing lead on a commercially released song.
They played the song live on a number of BBC radio shows, including Side by Side, Here We Go and Pop Go the Beatles (though none of these performances were included on the 1994 compilation Live at the BBC, it was eventually released on the 2013 compilation On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2).
George Harrison – lead vocals, lead guitar
John Lennon – rhythm guitar, harmonica, harmony vocals
Paul McCartney – bass, harmony vocals
Ringo Starr – drums
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