The Beatles

Can't Buy Me Love

Song Review by

"Can't Buy Me Love" was the first single to be released by the Beatles after the group had established themselves as Transatlantic superstars. Although it quickly topped the charts in both the U.S. and U.K., it's been somewhat underestimated by history, coming in the wake of the "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" monsters, and just prior to "A Hard Day's Night." That aside, it's another great early Lennon-McCartney tune, and one of their raunchiest rockers, sung and principally written by Paul McCartney. It kicks off with yet another arresting opening, in which the Beatles launch directly into the chorus rather than the verse, as they did with "She Loves You," again on the suggestion of George Martin. The verses are rock in the Little Richard-Chuck Berry tradition, set off by the non-bluesy minor chords of the chorus, a Beatlesque trait that was beyond the reach of 1950s rock. Although the words were basic romantic phrases, the Beatles were beginning, if only slightly, to reach out beyond their simpler pronoun-heavy hits of 1963. Not caring too much for money, 'cause it can't buy you love -- that's a timeless sentiment, emblematic of the devil-may-care immediacy of youth, perhaps. But it's also a value that many can agree, even in the 21st century, the world could use a lot more of. The track is further distinguished by a bluesy, engagingly raw guitar solo in the instrumental break, and brought to a close by an almost orgiastic world-less song-sigh at the very end. It was this cut that was chosen, most appropriately, to play on the soundtrack of A Hard Day's Night in which the Beatles romp around a huge empty field, brilliantly reflecting the group's carefree appetite for living in the moment.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Meet the Beatles! 1964 Capitol 0:00
A Hard Day's Night 1964 Capitol / EMI Records 2:14
A Hard Day's Night [Film] 1964 MPI Home Video
No Image 1964 Odeon
The Beatles' Million Sellers [EP] 1965 Parlophone
No Image 1966 Parlophone 2:08
Hey Jude 1970 Capitol / Universal 2:13
1962-1966 1973 Capitol / Parlophone 2:13
No Image 1982 Capitol 2:15
No Image 1982 Odeon 2:14
Ultra Rare Trax, Vol. 2 1988 Swingin' Pig 2:14
No Image 1990
Various Artists
No Image 1991
Various Artists
No Image 1992 Toshiba EMI 0:00
Compact Disc EP Collection 1992 Apple Records
No Image 1993 Big Music 3:03
CD Singles Collection 1993 Capitol 2:14
Anthology 1 1995 Apple / Capitol 2:10
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol 2:14
EP Boxset 1999 Parlophone 2:15
Forever Gold 1999 Diamond Recordings 2:32
1 2000
Capitol 2:11
Beatles Story 2001 CTA
No Image 2001 Odeon Bootleg
Around the World 2003 Import
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 Capitol 2:11
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol / EMI 2:11
1962-1970 2010 EMI / Parlophone 2:13
Anthology Highlights 2011 EMI 2:08
The U.S. Albums 2014 Capitol / Universal 2:15
Thirty Weeks in 1963 2014 Doxy Records
Can't Buy Me Love [Stargrove] 2015 Stargrove 2:11
No Image
The Beatles: 16 Superhits, Vol. 4 Dorado Records 2:13
No Image Encore Recordings