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Music

Paul McCartney explains the eroticism behind a Beatles classic

@TomTaylorFO

With Paul McCartney set to release his new novel The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present in November, an exclusive extract obtained by The Times, has revealed what sort of morsels he has in store. 

The track ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ represents an epochal moment for the ‘Fab Four’ as it became the moment that they were catapulted to global acclaim and assailed America. However, behind the sweetness of the song and the Beatlemania it spawned is a slightly more edgy underbelly. 

As McCartney reveals regarding the 1963 anthem: “There was an eroticism behind it all. If I’d heard myself use that word when I was seventeen, there would have been a guffaw. But eroticism was very much a driving force behind everything I did.”

While on the surface it might sound like an innocent statement, McCartney had a lot more on his mind when he wrote. He adds: “You know, that was what lay behind a lot of these love songs. ‘I want to hold your hand’, open brackets, [and probably do a lot more!]”

The more erotic undertone is not all that unexpected given the chapter of his life that ‘Macca’ was entering. As he explains: “By the time this song was written, when I was about twenty-one, we had come to London. Our manager had gotten The Beatles a flat: Apartment L, 57 Green Street, Mayfair.”

The Beatles would go on to leave that Mayfair flat and conquer America. They played ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ on their first two Ed Sullivan Show appearances and sent the States into a frenzy.