“Hold Me Tight” offers everything you could want in early Beatles album filler: it’s a catchy call-and-response Lennon/McCartney original with lyrics guaranteed to make the girls scream. It doesn’t have anything substantial to say, but that’s not its purpose. Its job is to fill a couple centimeters of vinyl with reproduced sound that’s good enough to get stuck in your head but not so great that it overshadows the stuff that the band really wants you to remember. And it gets that job done splendidly.
That’s the thing about the Beatles: even when they attempted and failed at writing a single, the results are still pretty great for the most part. “Hold Me Tight” on With the Beatles is a perfect example, because it’s a good song that was actually recorded and rejected for their first album, Please Please Me. Despite that, they chose to dust it off and feature it on their second. Well, “feature” may be the wrong word; perhaps “bury” is better. But the market needed new Beatles product, and “Hold Me Tight” was just inoffensive and inconspicuous enough to fit the bill.
It’s the reason why no police lineup has ever included the phrase, “Could you please sing the first few bars of ‘Hold Me Tight’?”
I don’t often highlight covers here, but the Evan Rachel Wood version from the movie Across the Universe is a really fun take on the song. In some ways she actually seems to put more effort into it than the Beatles did, and had her version come out in the 60s, it could have been a hit for sure.