Written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. Originally recorded by The Cookies (backing band to Little Eva). Not Much More.
The first formal EMI recording of George Harrison singing lead vocals for the Beatles. They gave him this, and "Do You Want to Know a Secret", on the b-side of the record. He had been doing some writing on his own at the time, as well as an instrumental collaboration with Paul, but the band still thought the 20 year old wasn't capable of composing songs on his own.
- The accent. Even in his later recording, Harrison never really lost the Liverpool lilt.
- Harmonica to open. Classic Beatles, and you know what they say about guys who play the harmonica... (it's dirty, what they say).
- That frequently it sounds like they're saying "chain" instead of "chains." The linguist in me (something I am indeed formally trained in) find the lack of subject-verb agreement endearing.
- Actually, I quite hated this song for a while, but that was during my purist phase of only liking songs that the Beatles themselves had written.
"Chains" is obviously another song that the Beatles had listened to and admired, and then made their own with their rolikking guitar, steady beat and sexy sexy harmonica. I felt for a long time that John and Paul had not given George a fair chance on the vocals by backing him so heavily throughout. I am staunchly pro-George, and in the distant mists of my youth, I thought that meant being anti-Lennon/McCartney and accused the Big Boys of coddling Harrison. Although that might be somewhat the case, I think we can all agree now that the strong harmonies on "Chains" are largely a positive quality.