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Billboard No. 1: “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles

Apr. 4, 1964 - Hitting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart today is the Beatles’ “Can’t Buy Me Love.” The Beatles now occupy all five top positions on the Hot 100 chart, an unprecedented achievement. The singles following “Can’t Buy Me Love” on the list are “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “Please Please Me.”

Although credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership, “Can’t Buy Me Love” was written by Paul McCartney. While in Paris in January, the Beatles stayed at the five-star George V hotel and had an upright piano moved into one of their suites so that songwriting 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.”

“Can’t Buy Me Love” was recorded on January 29 at EMI Studios in Paris, where the Beatles were performing 18 days of concerts at the Olympia Theatre. At this time, EMI’s West Germany branch insisted that the Beatles would not sell records in any significant numbers in Germany unless they were actually sung in the German language. 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. This was accomplished well within the allotted studio time, allowing the Beatles an opportunity to record the backing track, with a guide vocal, to the recently composed “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

At this stage the song included background vocal harmonies, but after listening to the first take, the band concluded that the song did not need them. Therefore, “Can’t Buy Me Love” is the first single the Beatles released without their characteristic background harmonies.

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