WATCH: Paul McCartney’s 1992 bluegrass version of The Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’

Paul McCartney 04/06/2020

In 1992, Paul McCartney played a rare version of the Beatles’ ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for  the first-ever concert at the Ed Sullivan Theatre for MTV’s ‘Up Close’. With the addition of the banjo and the backup vocals, the bluegrass version creates a whole new dimension to the old classic. 

Filmed on 10th December, the footage kicks off with a small sample of a bluegrass version of ‘Jingle Bells’, but soon ascends into a full on Beatles Barndance. 

The original 1964 Beatles song ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ featured on A Hard Day’s Night,  based on the new Merseybeat rock and roll sound that was sweeping the UK at the time. 

It was the Fab Four’s sixth single and part of a string of successful tracks which established Beatlemania on both sides of the pond. Composed by McCartney on stand-up piano, George Martin wasn’t sure of the song’s potential when he first heard it.

“I thought that we really needed a tag for the song’s ending, and a tag for the beginning; a kind of intro,” said the legendary producer.

So I took the first two lines of the chorus and changed the ending, and said ‘Let’s just have these lines, and by altering the second phrase we can get back into the verse pretty quickly.' And they said, 'That’s not a bad idea, we’ll do it that way'.

The track has since become a staple of the band’s iconography and saw The Beatles beginning to experiment with what would become a mainstay of their music — the over-dub.

A perfect example is on George Harrison’s guitar solo, saying: “What happened was, we recorded first in Paris and re-recorded in England. Obviously they’d tried to overdub it, but in those days they only had two tracks, so you can hear the version we put on in London, and in the background you can hear a quieter one.”