Released: November 29th, 1963
Appears on: Past Masters, Vol. 1
Lead vocal: John & Paul
I think you could make a pretty good case that "I Want To Hold Your Hand" might be one of the most important singles ever. First off, in Britain the single sold a million copies before it was even released. Then, when Capitol in the US issued it (backed by "I Saw Her Standing There") it shot straight to number one and Beatlemania suddenly became a world-wide phenomenon....and the rest is history.
"I Want To Hold Your Hand" isn't too different from the other early Beatles singles, though. John & Paul share lead vocals. There is the theme (again) of singing directly to the listener.
However, it is the first single to not feature John's harmonica playing. There's just guitars, bass and drums on this song. There's also this really cool tempo change that follows the bridge that adds to the song's uniqueness ("And when I touch you/I feel happy/Inside/It's such a feeling, that my love/I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't HIDE!!!!"). Then, it goes right back without missing a beat! There's just that energy that you get from the song. It's just so much fun. Whenever you listen to it, it forces you to stop whatever you're doing and listen.
Again, the song is short - it lasts under two-and-a-half minutes, but that's all the Beatles needed to change the world.