Rolling Stones

I Wanna Be Your Man…Beatles or Stones?

If what Lennon says is true, “I Wanna Be You Man” has a special place in rock history.

“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?” – John Lennon

Ringo during his Jean Paul Belmondo look period (image courtesy Pinterest)

Ringo sporting his Jean Paul Belmondo look (image courtesy Pinterest)

The composers of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” John Lennon and Paul McCartney, thought so little of the “Ringo song” on the British release With the Beatles (the American release came on Meet the Beatles) that they “gave” the song to the Rolling Stones who released it as their second single.

Neither John nor Paul thought much of the song, though it’s a nifty Beat music rave-up. Paul’s “I Saw Her Standing There,” from the same period, is a song of the same sort – much more familiar to (and popular with) the casual Beatles fan, but “I Wanna Be Your Man” has its own charm. As a tune it hearkens to the early days and is reminiscent of the Beatles’ Cavern shows in its rowdiness and “cellar full of noise” jocular machismo.

“I Wanna Be Your Man”

I wanna be your lover baby
I wanna be your man
I wanna be your lover baby
I wanna be your man
Love you like no other baby
Like no other can
Love you like no other baby
Like no other canI wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
I wanna be your man, I wanna be your manTell me that you love me baby
Let me understand
Tell me that you love me baby
I wanna be your man
I wanna be your lover baby
I wanna be your man
I wanna be your lover baby
I wanna be your manI wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
I wanna be your man, I wanna be your manI wanna be your lover baby
I wanna be your man
I wanna be your lover baby
I wanna be your man
Love you like no other baby
Like no other can
Love you like no other baby
Like no other canI wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man
I wanna be your man, I wanna be your man

BN-NW458_Stones_GR_20160504165415.jpg

Historically (perhaps – this may be more folklore than history), John claimed that it was watching John and Paul “finish off” the song that gave Mick and Keith the idea that they, too, could write their own tunes:

I Wanna Be Your Man was a kind of lick Paul had: ‘I want to be your lover, baby. I want to be your man.’ I think we finished it off for the Stones… yeah, we were taken down to meet the Stones at the club where they were playing in Richmond by Brian [Epstein] and some other guy. They wanted a song and we went to see them to see what kind of stuff they did. Mick and Keith had heard that we had an unfinished song – Paul just had this bit and we needed another verse or something. We sort of played it roughly to them and they said, ‘Yeah, OK, that’s our style.’ So Paul and I just went off in the corner of the room and finished the song off while they were all still there talking. We came back and that’s how Mick and Keith got inspired to write, because, ‘Jesus, look at that. They just went in the corner and wrote it and came back!’ Right in front of their eyes we did it.

If what Lennon says is true, “I Wanna Be You Man” has a special place in rock history. If not true – well, it’s a great story, isn’t it?

As I’ve noted, both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones recorded “I Wanna Be Your Man.” So, for this song at least, we’re able to directly compare their treatments of a tune.

Here’s the Fabs version:

And here’s the Rolling Stones:

And that brings us to one the great musical questions: Beatles or Stones?

For one song we can directly compare. Life is good sometimes….

2 comments on “I Wanna Be Your Man…Beatles or Stones?

  1. I think “I Wanna Be Your Man” is one of the Beatles most underrated songs. The song, to me, represents the very moment when Mod, 60s groovy was invented. Nobody had heard a song like that before. You basically had to invent a new way of dancing to it, of gyrating and moving around.

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