John Lennon Called the Song He Wrote for The Rolling Stones a ‘Throwaway’

John Lennon and Paul Mccartney wrote a song that became the first major hit for The Rolling Stones. While the two bands were often seen as rivals, The Beatles were pivotal in helping The Stones excel to another level. However, Lennon once called the song they wrote a “throwaway” that wasn’t worthy of The Beatles. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney finished a song for The Rolling Stones

John Lennon and Mick Jagger | Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

In the early 1960s, The Beatles went to see The Rolling Stones perform in Richmond before the band became international superstars. In a 1980 interview with Playboy, John Lennon said McCartney played a bit of a song for The Rolling Stones. The Stones believed the song fit their style, and McCartney and Lennon quickly finished the song titled “I Wanna Be Your Man.”

“Paul and I finished that one off for the Stones,” Lennon explained. “We were taken down by Brian to meet them at the club where they were playing in Richmond. They wanted a song, and we went to see what kind of stuff they did. Paul had this bit of a song and we played it roughly for them, and they said, ‘Yeah, OK, that’s our style.’ But it was only really a lick, so Paul and I went off in the corner of the room and finished the song off while they were all sitting there, talking. We came back, and Mick and Keith said, ‘Jesus, look at that. They just went over there and wrote it.’ You know, right in front of their eyes. We gave it to them.”

John Lennon called ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ a ‘throwaway’ song

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While Lennon liked the song, he didn’t believe it was worthy of The Beatles. He also delivered a jab at Ringo Starr because Ringo recorded a version of it for The Beatles, and Lennon inferred that this was indicative of how apathetic he was toward this song. 

“It was a throwaway,” Lennon admitted. “Ringo sang it for us, and the Stones did their version. It shows how much importance we put on them. We weren’t going to give them anything great, right? That was the Stones’ first record.”

McCartney has a fonder view of this song and said in a 2016 interview that he wanted to write something good for his friends. 

“We were friends with them, and I just thought ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ would be good for them,” McCartney said. “I knew they did Bo Diddley stuff. And they made a good job of it.”

‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ was The Rolling Stones’ first big hit

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Whether it was a throwaway or not, “I Wanna Be Your Man” was impactful for The Rolling Stones as it was their first hit and propelled their career. The song was released in 1963 and peaked at number 12 on the U.K. top-20 chart. However, it did not receive the same success in the U.S. as it was released as  London 45-LON 9641 and was later re-released as the B-side to “Not Fade Away.”

It may not be a song many are familiar with, but it’s one of the band’s most impactful songs and shows the benefits of rival artists working together. 

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