Chains (Cookies song)

"Chains" is a song composed by the husband-and-wife songwriting team Gerry Goffin and Carole King and originally recorded (but not released) by the Everly Brothers. In 1962 it was a hit for Little Eva’s backing singers, the Cookies (#17 U.S. Pop, #7 R&B),[1] and later covered by English rock group the Beatles.

Single by The Cookies
from the album Chains
ReleasedNovember 1962
Format7" single
Songwriter(s)Gerry Goffin/Carole King

The Beatles' version

Cover of the song's sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album Please Please Me
ReleasedMarch 22, 1963
RecordedFebruary 11, 1963
GenreRock and roll
Songwriter(s)Gerry Goffin/Carole King
Producer(s)George Martin

The single by the Cookies was a popular cover song for Liverpool bands after its release in November 1962,[2] and was included briefly in the Beatles' live sets.[3] They recorded it on February 11, 1963 in four takes (the first having proven to be the best)[4] for inclusion on their British debut, Please Please Me.[5] Lennon played the introduction on harmonica.[4] Music critic Ian MacDonald criticized the Beatles' performance, writing that it was "slightly out-of-tune" and "lacked spontaneity."[3] George Harrison sings the lead vocal on the Beatles' version; and, as the fourth track from the group's first album, it represents the first time many fans heard Harrison singing lead on a commercially released song.

They played the song live on a number of BBC radio shows, including Side by Side, Here We Go and Pop Go the Beatles (though none of these performances were included on the 1994 compilation Live at the BBC, it was eventually released on the 2013 compilation On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2).[2]

Sylvie Vartan version (in French)

"Chance / Il revient / Reponds-moi / Tous les gens"
Single by Sylvie Vartan
Released1963 (1963))
Format7" EP
LabelRCA Victor
Songwriter(s)French adaptation:
Georges Aber
Sylvie Vartan singles chronology
"Tous mes copains"
"Chance" / "Il revient" / "Reponds-moi" / "Il revient" / "Reponds-moi" / "Tous les gens"
"En écoutant la pluie"

The song was reworked into French under the title "Chance". The French version was recorded and released in 1963 by Sylvie Vartan.

Track listing

EP Sylvie ("Chance" / "Il revient" / "Reponds-moi" / "Tous les gens") RCA Victor 76.617 (1963, France)

A1. "Chance" ("Chains")
A2. "Il revient" ("Say Mama")
B1. "Reponds-moi"
B2. "Tous les gens" ("Baby You’re So Fine")[6]


Cookies' version

  • Earl-Jean lead vocals
  • Margaret Ross backing vocals
  • Dorothy Jones backing vocals
  • Eva Boyd backing vocals

Beatles' version

Engineered by Norman Smith

Personnel per MacDonald[3][4]


Neil Peart, the drummer with Rush, was ten years old when Chains was released. And 32 years later, he wrote of it: " I still remember the first song that galvanized me: Chains, a simple pop tune by one of those girl groups, with close harmonies syncopated over a driving shuffle. No great classic or anything, but as I listened to that song on my transistor, suddenly I understood. This changed everything."[7]


  1. Eder, Bruce. "The Cookies >> Biography". allmusic. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  2. Harry (2000), p. 250.
  3. MacDonald (2005), p. 74.
  4. "Chains".
  5. Lewisohn (1988), p. 26.
  6. "Sylvie Vartan - Chance at Discogs". Retrieved November 16, 2017.


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