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I Wanna Be Your Man

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7 October 1963

7" single


1 November 1963 (1963-11-01)

Rock and roll rhythm and blues

"I Wanna Be Your Man" is a Lennon–McCartney-penned song recorded and released as a single by the Rolling Stones, and then recorded by the Beatles. The song was primarily written by Paul McCartney, and finished by Lennon and McCartney in the corner of a room while Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were talking.


The Rolling Stones version

Released as their second single on 1 November 1963, the Stones' version was an early hit, peaking at No. 12 on the British chart. Their rendition features Brian Jones' distinctive slide guitar and Bill Wyman's driving bass playing. It is one of the few Rolling Stones songs to feature only Brian Jones on backing vocals. In the US, the song was initially released as London 45-LON 9641 (with "Stoned" on the B side) without any success and was soon after re-released on 6 March 1964 as the B-side to "Not Fade Away".

According to various accounts, either the Rolling Stones' manager/producer Andrew Loog Oldham or the Rolling Stones themselves ran into Lennon and McCartney on the street as the two were returning from an awards luncheon. Hearing that the band were in need of material for a single, Lennon and McCartney went to their session at De Lane Lea Studio and finished off the song – whose verse they had already been working on – in the corner of the room while the impressed Rolling Stones watched.

Mick Jagger recalled the song in 1968:

We knew [the Beatles] by then and we were rehearsing and Andrew brought Paul and John down to the rehearsal. They said they had this tune, they were really hustlers then. I mean the way they used to hustle tunes was great: 'Hey Mick, we've got this great song.' So they played it and we thought it sounded pretty commercial, which is what we were looking for, so we did it like Elmore James or something. I haven't heard it for ages but it must be pretty freaky 'cause nobody really produced it. It was completely crackers, but it was a hit and sounded great onstage.

McCartney stated in 2016:

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.

Bill Wyman noted how the Rolling Stones adapted the song to their style:

We kind of learned it pretty quickly 'cause there wasn't that much to learn. Then Brian got his slide out, his steel (guitar) out and dadaw... dadaw... and we said, Yeah, that's better, dirty it up a bit and bash it out, and we kind of completely turned the song around and made it much more tough, Stones- and Elmore James-like.

Released only as a single, the Rolling Stones' rendition did not appear on a studio album. The song was released in the UK on the 1972 Decca compilation album Milestones and on the UK compilation album Rolled Gold: The Very Best of the Rolling Stones in 1975. In 1989, it was issued on the US compilation album Singles Collection: The London Years. It is included on the four CD version of the 2012 GRRR! compilation.

The B-side of the second single was "Stoned", a "Green Onions" influenced instrumental composed by Nanker/Phelge, the early collective pseudonym for the group. Additionally, it included the 'Sixth Stone' pianist Ian Stewart, making it the first released self-penned composition, with added spoken asides by Mick Jagger. Some original 1963 copies were issued with the misprinted title as "Stones", making it doubly collectable as a rarity.

A promotional video featuring the song was the first song ever performed on the Top of the Pops TV program in the UK. A performance of the song on the The Arthur Haynes Show recorded on 7 February 1964 appears as part of the bonus material on the 2012 documentary film Crossfire Hurricane.


  • Mick Jagger – lead vocals
  • Brian Jones – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Keith Richards – rhythm guitar
  • Bill Wyman – bass
  • Charlie Watts – drums
  • The Beatles' version

    The Beatles' version was sung by Ringo Starr and appeared on the group's second UK album, With the Beatles, released 22 November 1963. It was driven by a heavily tremoloed, open E-chord on a guitar played through a Vox AC30 amplifier. John Lennon was dismissive of the song in 1980, saying:

    It was a throwaway. The only two versions of the song were Ringo and the Rolling Stones. That shows how much importance we put on it: We weren't going to give them anything great, right?

    The Beatles also recorded two versions of the song for the BBC. One version was for the Saturday Club, recorded on 7 January 1964 and first broadcast on 15 February. The second version was released on the Live at the BBC collection from the From Us to You show. It was recorded on 28 February and broadcast on 30 March. The Beatles also recorded a version for the Around The Beatles TV show, recorded on 19 April 1964. This version was released on the Anthology 1 collection in 1995.

    Bob Dylan recorded a song for Blonde on Blonde (1966) called "I Wanna Be Your Lover" as a "tip of the hat" to the Lennon/McCartney song. It was left off the final album, but was eventually released on the compilation boxed set Biograph (1985).

    The song features a heavy Bo Diddley beat. Bo Diddley himself acknowledged this in the song "London Stomp" (album "Hey Good Lookin'"). He sings "Hey, Liverpool, we got the London Stomp" over a "I Wanna Be Your Man" background.


  • Ringo Starr – double-tracked lead vocals, drums, maracas, tambourine, handclaps
  • John Lennon – backing vocal, tremolo electric rhythm guitar, screaming, handclaps
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass, screaming, handclaps
  • George Harrison – electric lead guitar, handclaps
  • George Martin – Hammond organ
  • Personnel per Ian MacDonald

    Ringo Starr and the All-Starr Band version

    Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band have performed the song as a concert staple during their 1989 through 2012–2013 All-Starr Band concerts. The song was on the setlist for the first line-up in 1989. The 1992 line-up did not perform the song. Every All-Starr Band line-up from 1995 to 2012–2013 has included the song on their setlist. The song has appeared on the following compilation albums: Ringo Starr and His Third All-Starr Band-Volume 1, King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Ringo & His New All-Starr Band, The Anthology... So Far, Ringo Starr and Friends, Ringo Starr: Live at Soundstage, Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band Live 2006, and Live at the Greek Theatre 2008.

    X-Pensive Winos version

    Keith Richards performed the song live with his group the X-Pensive Winos during their 1988 Talk is Cheap tour of the US. They performed the song at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, the Brendan Byrne Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and at the Hollywood Palladium.

    The Rolling Stones 2012 Live version

    The Rolling Stones performed the song live during their 2012 50th anniversary concerts, the 50 & Counting Tour. The song opened their 25 November 2012 concert at the O2 Arena in London. The song was also featured in their 29 November 2012 performance at the O2 Arena. They also performed the song live during their concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York on 8 December 2012.

    Other recordings

    The song was also recorded by Adam Faith in 1965, Count Basie and his Orchestra in 1966, the Day Brothers, Terry Manning in 1970, Suzi Quatro in 1973, The Rezillos, Roger Webb and his Trio, The Sparrows, The Merseyboys, Bob Leaper, The Flamin' Groovies in 1993, Sam Phillips in 2003, Les Baronets in French as "Oh! Je Veux Être À Toi", The Rockin' Ramrods, The Smithereens in 2007, and The Stooges on their 2007 album The Weirdness featuring Iggy Pop.


    I Wanna Be Your Man Wikipedia

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