The German language version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was recorded by The Beatles in Paris on January 29, 1964, along with “Sie Liebt Dich”, a similar reworking of “She Loves You”.
EMI’s West German division, Electrola Gesellschaft, had been busily persuading Brian Epstein and George Martin that they would be unable to sell The Beatles’ records unless they were in German. Martin agreed but he had to convince the reluctant group to comply.
Otto Demmlar, a producer for EMI in Germany, telephoned Camillo Felgen, a singer, lyricist and television and radio presenter, to ask if he would provide German translations for the original songs. Felgen was also asked to fly to Paris to teach The Beatles phonetic pronunciations of the two songs.
The group were in France for a 19-day series of concerts at the city’s Olympia Theatre. However, getting them to the Odeon studio at the allotted hour proved somewhat complicated, but in the end they were persuaded after all.
“Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” was the first song to be recorded on the 29 January 1964 session. The original four-track tape of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, from 17 October 1963, had been mixed down to two tracks, and onto this they re-recorded their vocals in German.
The Beatles recorded eleven takes; the best were five and seven, and were later edited together with overdubbed handclaps. They then turned their attentions to “Sie Liebt Dich”. As the original instrumental of “She Loves You” was destroyed by EMI after it had been mixed for mono, the Beatles had to re-record “Sie liebt dich” from scratch. The Beatles recorded the instrumental in thirteen takes, and then they recorded their German vocals. They also recorded a new song, “Can’t Buy Me Love”.
Felgen used the alias J.Nicolas for his songwriting credit – his full name was Camillo Jean Nicolas Felgen. “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” and “Sie Liebt Dich” were credited to Lennon/McCartney/Nicolas/Hellmer – the latter presumably being a misspelling of Otto Demmlar’s surname.
The single was released on 4 February 1964 in Germany. “Sie liebt dich”, along with the original “She Loves You” B-side “I’ll Get You”, was released by Swan Records as a single in the United States on 21 May 1964. This release reached number 97 in the Billboard Hot 100. Parlophone released “Komm, gib mir deine Hand” b/w “Sie liebt dich” by “Die Beatles” (A8117) as a single in Australia during the band’s tour of that country, on 21 June 1964. It was the only Beatles single not to chart in that country. “Komm, gib mir deine Hand” was released by Capitol Records as a track on the American Beatles album “Something New” on 20 July 1964.
Een persoonlijke nota: ik wist natuurlijk al veel langer van het bestaan van deze single af, maar ik had er geen idee van dat deze in Frankrijk was opgenomen. Ik heb ook altijd gedacht dat dit een attentie was voor hun Duitse fans uit hun Hamburgse periode, maar dat blijkt dus helemaal niet zo te zijn. En wat me nu nog het meeste verwondert: dat “Can’t buy me love” dus ook in Parijs werd opgenomen!
Martin later said of the songs: “They were right, actually, it wasn’t necessary for them to record in German, but they weren’t graceless; they did a good job.” Both tracks are currently available on the Past Masters double CD compilation by the Beatles, most recently remastered in 2009 with the rest of the band’s discography.
(The Beatles’ Bible & Wikipedia)