(Credits: Far Out / Alamy)
The Beatles, an iconic band that transcended eras, genres, and cultures, left a profound and lasting impact on music history with a repertoire that continues to captivate listeners worldwide. Among their treasure trove of hits, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ stands as a shining gem, encapsulating the band’s infectious energy, lyrical prowess, and catchy melodies.
Released in 1964 as a single and later featured on their album A Hard Day’s Night, the track immediately soared to the top of the charts, attaining the coveted number one spot on both sides of the Atlantic. Its instant success solidified The Beatles’ position as unrivalled musical luminaries, dominating the airwaves and winning the hearts of millions.
The release also marked The Fab Four’s historic third consecutive number one hit, following the success of ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’. With this flawless achievement, there remained no question that The Beatles were the band poised to respond to Britain’s desires, leading everyone emphatically into a new era.
Paul McCartney’s contribution to the track is a stroke of brilliance, a sentiment echoed by John Lennon in 1980 during his conversation with David Sheff, acknowledging the effort: “That’s Paul’s completely. Maybe I had something to do with the chorus, but I don’t know. I always considered it his song.”
McCartney later delved into more detail about his writing process for the track, revealing: “‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ is my attempt to write a bluesy mode. The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well, but they won’t buy me what I really want. It was a very hooky song. Ella Fitzgerald later did a version of it which I was very honoured by.”
Fitzgerald – a known Beatles fan – delivered a version rich in jazz sensibilities, complete with her unmatched vocal range that never ceases to endear. Although her version seems to arrive in stark contrast with the foursome’s original hit, Fitzgerald transformed the upbeat pop-rock track into an exciting swinging number. Her interpretation also showcased her remarkable improvisational skills, giving the tune a new dimension through her scat singing and playful phrasing.
Released in 1964 on her album Hello, Dolly, the rendition exemplified Fitzgerald’s ability to reinterpret contemporary hits with her distinct sensibilities. Her adaptation of ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ captivated audiences, offering a fresh perspective on the iconic Beatles track. Her distinctive take on the song also added a layer of sophistication and elegance while retaining the song’s infectious energy.
Check out her version below.