“You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” by The Beatles
Those of us who have some type of in depth knowledge of The Beatles know that this act proved prominent enough to have even attracted their own conspiracy theories. Indeed, even individuals who worked with the Fab Four behind the scenes have been subject of more studies than is usually granted to a band’s manager for instance.
So for instance, it’s as if the late Brian Epstein, who did serve such a role for The Beatles during their formative years, is sort of a celebrity in and of himself. But Epstein is also known as being one of the first major music industry figures to have been gay, though during his brief lifetime that was a fact that only those who worked closely with him, like John Lennon, would be privy to.
Lyrics of “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
There is a conspiracy theory, if you will, behind this track, that Lennon is actually singing from the perspective of Epstein. In other words, here we are met with a vocalist who is advising the listener to “hide your love away” which, based on the verses, is seemingly a lifestyle he is currently practicing.
That is to say that Brian was compelled to keep his homosexuality a secret, with his gayness finally becoming public knowledge a significant time after his passing. Or put otherwise, in the 1960s a homosexual, especially one in the public spotlight like Brian, would have been very much compelled to ‘hide their love away’, i.e. conceal their preference for a same-sex romance.
Lennon himself has seemingly suggested that such is not the case, i.e. this track being about Epstein. But one of the reasons that theory has held credence is probably due to the fact that outside of the titular statement, the lyrics have been deemed ambiguous, as in it being kinda hard to make out what the vocalist is getting at.
So it’s sorta like John hit the nail on the head in terms of imitating the legendary Bob Dylan, as Bob is also known for dropping lyrics that leave much up to the listener’s own interpretation.
But what is discernible is that the vocalist is going through some type of hardship, being depressed and an object of ridicule apparently due to the way he loves or what have.
The Female in the Song
There is also a female identified in the first and second verses, who may be the same person. And with that noted, the beginning of this song does in fact read heterosexual, i.e. the vocalist trying to figure out how he can “go on” in the absence of said female. He also appears to be ashamed and devastated that their relationship has dissolved, if such is the case.
So with that idea serving as a premise, what may actually be going down here is John taking on the role of a guy who, as we would put it these days, is in his feelings post-breakup. Or viewed from a different angle, his disposition is such that his actual self-esteem has been lowered as a result. So when he observes people ‘laughing at him’ for instance, that may all be in his mind, in a manner of speaking.
And as displayed in the second verse, his attitude is also such that he has lost faith in love, which is a common reaction even amongst musicians of today when it comes to such songs.
So maybe what John means by ‘hiding his love away’ is now being more defensive romantically. And his holistic melancholy is such that he is advising others to adopt a similar mind-frame, thus minimizing the chances of ending up with a broken heart as he seems to be suffering from.
Facts about “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
This track was officially released as a non-single on 6 August 1965. It is from The Beatles’ album “Help!”, which came out through EMI.
The writing of this song is individually credited to Paul McCartney and the late John Lennon. However, the credit doesn’t go under their composite name, Lennon-McCartney.
George Martin (1926-2016), one of their most-regular behind-the-scenes’ collaborators, produced the track.
This song appears in the “Help!” movie that The Beatles also put out in 1965, in association with the album.
Lennon (1940-1980) went on to explain that with this piece, he was making an attempt to emulate the style of Bob Dylan. In the very least, he was inspired by Bob, to a major degree, to pen songs more substantive than what The Beatles had put out beforehand.
All four Beatles participated on this track, i.e.:
- Lennon on vocals
- Macca on bass
- George Harrison (1943-2001) on acoustic guitar
- Ringo Starr holding down the snare drum, maracas and tambourine
John Scoot, a composer from England, also participated by playing the flute. It has been pointed out that this was the first time the quartet employed an outside musician for one of their recordings.
Pete Shotton (1941-2017), a Lennon-McCartney homey from their Quarrymen days, also contributed to the composition, with it being him who suggested they add the “hey” found at the beginning of the lines of the chorus.
This tune has been covered by the likes of the following
- The Beach Boys (1965)
- Eddie Vedder (2001)
- Oasis (2014)
- The cast of Glee (2013)
Also The Silkie, a group affiliated with Brian Epstein, came out with their own version not too long after The Beatles themselves. And in fact their rendition was produced by Lennon, with Macca and Harrison contributing to it instrumentally.