First recorded (as a demo) by George Harrison (1968).
Also recorded by The Beatles (1968, released 1996).
Hit album version by George Harrison (1978).
In an interview with Billboard editor Timothy White in 1999, Harrison referred to “the grief I was catching” from Lennon and McCartney post-India, and explained the message behind the song: “I said I wasn’t guilty of getting in the way of their career. I said I wasn’t guilty of leading them astray in our going to Rishikesh to see the Maharishi. I was sticking up for myself …”
From the wiki: “According to author Robert Rodriguez, ‘Not Guilty’ was ‘much-fabled’ among Beatles fans by the late 1970s, since the song was known as a White Album outtake but had never been heard publicly.
“Author Nicholas Schaffner paired it with Lennon’s ‘What’s the New Mary Jane’ as completed recordings that were known to have been left off the White Album, while authors Harry Castleman and Walter Podrazik wrote that, as far as collectors were aware, Harrison had taped ‘Not Guilty’ with Eric Clapton in summer 1968 before the Beatles attempted to record the song in March 1969.
First recorded by The Beatles (1967).
First single release by The Young Idea (UK #10 1967).
Other hit single versions by Joe Cocker (US #68/UK #1 1968), The Beatles (US #71/UK #63 1978), Wet Wet Wet (UK #1/IRE #1/FRA #3/GER #3 1988), Sam & Mark (UK #1 2004).
From the wiki: “‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ was written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, and first appeared on the Beatles’ 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Not one of that album’s promotional single releases, the song was first released as single by British singers The Young Idea in 1967.
“A subsequent recording of the track by Joe Cocker – a radical re-arrangement of the original, including an extended instrumental intro (featuring keyboardist Tommy Eyre and guitarist Jimmy Page) – became a hit single in 1968 and an anthem for the Woodstock era. In 1978, the Beatles’ recording, paired with ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, was reissued as a single.
First recorded by The Paramount Jubilee Singers (1923).
Hit versions by Louis Armstrong (US #10 1939), The Weavers (US #27 1951), Percy Faith & His Singers (US #29 1951), Bill Haley & His Comets (as “The Saints Rock ‘n Roll” US #18/UK #5 1956), Fats Domino (US #50 1959).
Also recorded by The Million Dollar Quartet (1956), Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers (1961).
From the wiki: “‘When the Saints Go Marching In’, often referred to as ‘The Saints’, is an American gospel hymn. According to jazz critic Al Rose this tune was first published as a Baptist hymn in 1916 and credited to Edward Boatner, the man behind religious-classic ‘He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands’. Though it originated as a Christian hymn, it is often played by jazz bands. This song was famously recorded on May 13, 1938 by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra.
“The first known recorded version was in 1923 by the Paramount Jubilee Singers on Paramount 12073. Although the title given on the label is ‘When All the Saints Come Marching In’, the group sings the modern lyrics beginning with “When the saints go marching in”. No author is shown on the label. The earliest versions were slow and stately, but as time passed the recordings became more rhythmic. Louis Armstrong was one of the first to make the tune into a nationally known Pop tune in the 1930s. (Armstrong wrote that his sister told him she thought the secular performance style of the traditional church tune was inappropriate and irreligious.)
First recorded by Lou Gold & His Orchestra (1926).
Hit versions by Ben Bernie & His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra (US #1 1927), Johnny Marvin (US #14 1927), Gene Austin (US #4 1927), Mr. Ford & Mr. Goon-Bones (US #14 1947), The Beatles (recording as “The Beat Brothers”, 1961 |US #19/UK #29 1964).
Also recorded by Gene Vincent (1956), Duffy Power (1959), The Beatles (1969).
From the wiki: “‘Ain’t She Sweet’ was composed by Milton Ager (music) and Jack Yellen (lyrics). Ager wrote the song for his daughter Shana Ager, who in her adult life was known as the political commentator Shana Alexander. ‘Ain’t She Sweet’ became popular in the first half of the 20th century as one of the hit songs that typified the Roaring Twenties. Like ‘Happy Days Are Here Again’ (1929), it became a Tin Pan Alley standard. Both Ager and Yellen were later elected to membership in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
First recorded (as a demo) by John Lennon (1968).
Hit B-side single version by The Beatles (1969).
From the wiki: “Written by John Lennon as an anguished love song to his wife, Yoko Ono, Paul McCartney interpreted ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ as a ‘genuine plea’, with Lennon saying to Ono, ‘I’m really stepping out of line on this one. I’m really just letting my vulnerability be seen, so you must not let me down.’ First recorded as a demo by Lennon in 1968, multiple versions of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ were recorded by the Beatles during the tumultuous Let It Be (née Get Back) recording sessions. The version recorded on 28 January 1969 was released as a B-side to the single ‘Get Back’, recorded the same day.
“The Beatles performed ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ twice during their rooftop concert of 30 January 1969, one of which was included in the Let It Be (1970) film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. When the ‘Get Back’ project was revisited, Phil Spector dropped ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ from the Let It Be (1970) album. The B-side version of the song was later included on the Beatles’ compilation albums Hey Jude, 1967-1970 and Past Masters Volume 2 and Mono Masters.”
First recorded (as a demo) by Carole King (1961).
Also recorded by Dion & the Belmonts (1961), The Beatles (1962, released 2009).
Hit versions by Bobby Vee (US #1/UK #3 1961), Bobby Vinton (US #33 1968).
From the wiki: “‘Take Good Care of My Baby’ was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin, and was first recorded by King as a demo in 1961.
“Dion & the Belmonts were the first to record the song for commercial release but their version was not published until release of the album Runaround Sue in the slipstream of Bobby Vee’s #1 hit. The song was covered by The Beatles during their failed audition at Decca Records on January 1, 1962 but was unreleased until 2009.
“In 1968, ‘Take Good Care’ became a hit again, this time for Bobby Vinton.”
First recorded by The Quarrymen (1958).
Also recorded by The “Beatals” (1960), The Beatles (1962), The Beatles (1963).
First released by Terry Manning (1968).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1969).
From the wiki: “‘One After 909’ is the oldest known Beatles song.
“It was written as early as 1957, one of the first Lennon-McCartney compositions (‘[‘One After 909′] was something I wrote when I was about seventeen,’ John Lennon explained in his 1980 Playboy magazine interview), and was first recorded c. 1958 by The Quarrymen according to Mike McCartney.
“The then-named ‘Beatals’ also recorded ‘One After 909’ sometime between January-August 1960, after Stu Sutcliffe had joined as the bass player but before the addition of Pete Best on drums. The Beatles, sans Sutcliffe but with Best on drums, also recorded the song during rehearsals in 1962 at The Cavern Club, Liverpool. The group first recorded ‘One After 909’ in a studio during the 1962 sessions for the group’s third single, ‘From Me to You’, with Ringo Starr on drums, but that recording was unreleased until Anthology I in 1995.
Written and first recorded by Larry Williams (US #69 1958).
Also recorded by Ronnie Hawkins & the Hawks (1959), The Fabulous Echoes (1965), The Plastic Ono Band (1969).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1965).
From the wiki: “‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ was composed and first recorded by Larry Williams (‘Nobody‘) in 1958, sharing some similarities with the Little Richard-composed hit ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’. Williams’ original recording peaked at #69 on the Billboard Hot 100 but failed to chart R&B.
“The song has been covered many times, including, and most notably by, the Beatles on the 1965 Help! album. (The recording was initially intended for the 1965 American album Beatles VI, along with the Larry Williams cover, ‘Bad Boy’, recorded by the group on the same day.) Paul McCartney has stated that he believes ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’ to be one of the Beatles’ best recordings.
First recorded by Hank Snow (1949).
Hit versions by Lonnie Donegan (1956), Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers (1961 |B-side US #19/UK #29 1964), Karen Young (UK #6 1969), Hank Williams Jr. (C&W #46 1969), The Traveling Wilburys (UK #44 1990).
From the wiki: “‘Nobody’s Child’ was written by Cy Coben and Mel Foree and was first recorded by Hank Snow in 1949, becoming one of his standards although it did not chart for him. The song lyrics are about an orphan whom no one wants to adopt because he is blind, and has been covered a number of times, mostly in the UK.
“It was on Lonnie Donegan’s first album in 1956 (which went to #2 as an album in the UK). It was covered by Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers (The Beatles) in 1961 in Hamburg and was used as the B-side to both the ‘Ain’t She Sweet‘ and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown‘ singles when released in 1964 as part of Beatlemania. (Beat Brother/Beatle George Harrison would later cover ‘Nobody’s Child’ as one of the Traveling Wilburys twenty-five years later.)
First recorded by The Silver Beetles (1960).
Hit album version by The Beatles (EP UK #5 1965/SWE #4 1965).
From the wiki: “‘I’ll Follow the Sun’ was written and sung by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It appears on the Beatles for Sale album in the UK and on Beatles ’65 in the US, but was written long before. A version recorded in 1960 can be found in the bootleg record You Might As Well Call Us the Quarrymen.
“When asked about the lyrics, McCartney would recall, ‘I wrote that in my front parlour in Forthlin Road. I was about 16. ‘I’ll Follow The Sun’ was one of those very early ones. I seem to remember writing it just after I’d had the flu and I had that cigarette. I remember standing in the parlour, with my guitar, looking out through the lace curtains of the window, and writing that one.’
First recorded (as a demo) by The Beatles (January 1969).
Also recorded (as a solo demo) by George Harrison (February 1969).
Hit album version by The Beatles (April 1969).
From the wiki: “‘Old Brown Shoe’ was written by George Harrison and would be released by The Beatles as the B-side to ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’. The song was recorded during the sessions for the Abbey Road album, first by the group over a three-day period while participating in a Let It Be film session at Apple Studios in January 1969. Harrison then made a multi-tracked solo demo (featuring only piano and electric guitar) at EMI Studios on 25 February 1969. There is some controversy over whether Harrison played bass on the completed album version, recorded in April 1969. In a two-part Creem interview (published in December 1987 and January 1988), Harrison appears to confirm he played bass on the recording:
‘Creem: You also told me you played bass on ‘Old Brown Shoe’.
George: It’s like a lunatic playing.
Creem: It sounds like McCartney was going nuts again.
George: That was me going nuts. I’m doing exactly what I do on the guitar.'”
Written and first recorded by Buddy Holly (1957).
Hit version by The Diamonds (US #13/R&B #12/CAN #47 1957).
Also recorded by The Beatles (1964).
From the wiki: “‘Words of Love’ was written by Buddy Holly and recorded by him on April 8, 1957. Holly sang all the harmonies, with producer Norman Petty double-tracking each part and combining them. The song was not a notable hit for Holly, although it is regarded as one of his most important recordings.
“However, the cover version by the Canadian quartet The Diamonds (‘Little Darlin”, ‘Silhouettes‘), released in May 1957, reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July, making the song Holly’s first hit, though as a composer not performer. (The Crickets’ ‘That’ll Be the Day’ wouldn’t peak on the Billboard charts until Sept. 27, 1957. The Diamonds’ ‘Words of Love’ peaked in July, 1957.)
“‘Words of Love’ was also covered by The Beatles on the album Beatles for Sale. Their association with the song dates back to the group’s earliest days playing The Cavern in 1961 and 1962. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney were big Buddy Holly fans; it would be Holly’s songs that first inspired and compelled them to become songwriters.”
First released by The Beatles (1969).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1969).
From the wiki: “‘Across the Universe’ was written by John Lennon, and credited to Lennon–McCartney.
“The song, the recording of which began in February 1968 and mastered in October 1969, first appeared on a various-artists’ charity compilation album for the World Wildlife Fund, No One’s Gonna Change Our World, released in December 1969. This version had been considered for release as a Beatles’ single but was instead donated to the WWF. In its place, ‘Lady Madonna’ became the group’s next 45.
“This original release would later be included among the tracks assembled for the 1978 Rarities compilation, and again in 1988 with the release of the Past Masters compilations. However, ‘Across the Universe’ would appear, in somewhat different form, in May 1970 on Let It Be, the Beatles’ final released album.
Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Paul McCartney (1968).
Hit version by Mary Hopkin (US #13/UK #2/CAN #14/NETH #1 1969).
From the wiki: “‘Goodbye’ is a song written by Paul McCartney (but credited to Lennon–McCartney) and performed by Mary Hopkin. The song was conceived as a follow-up to the success of Hopkin’s first single, produced by McCartney, titled ‘Those Were the Days‘, highlighted on her debut album Postcard, one of the first records issued by the newly founded Apple Records.
First released by Trash (UK #27 1969).
Hit album version by The Beatles (1969).
From “One Hit Wonders“: “If you were going to isolate an aspect of the Abbey Road album song cycle and issue it as a single, ‘Golden Slumbers/ Carry That Weight’ would be the obvious pairing. The Beatles clearly had no interest in doing so, but Trash – one of their Apple signings – were encouraged to exploit the potential of the tunes by Apple Corp’s enterprising employee Richard Dilello.
Written and first recorded (as a demo) by Paul McCartney (1969).
Hit version by Badfinger (US #7/UK #4 1969).
From the wiki: “Paul McCartney recorded a solo demo of his song on 24 July 1969, when he arrived early for an Abbey Road album session. He sang the double-tracked lead vocal and played all the instruments: he sang and played piano on the first take, sang again and played maracas on the first overdub, drums came third and bass guitar was added last. It took less than an hour to finish.
First recorded by Hayden Quartet (1901).
Hit versions by Alma Gluck & the Orpheus Quartet (US #10 1919), Vipers Skiffle Group (1955), Duane Eddy (as “Bonnie Come Back”, US #23/UK #12 1960), Tony Sheridan & the Beat Brothers (as “My Bonnie”, GER #5 1961 |UK #48 1963 |US #26 1964), Bonnie Brooks (as “Bring Back My Beatles (to Me)”, 1964).
From the wiki: “In 1881, under the duo of pseudonyms H.J. Fuller and J.T. Wood, Charles E. Pratt published sheet music for ‘Bring Back My Bonnie to Me’. The first recording of the song was done in 1901 by the Hayden Quartet. Alma Gluck charted with her 1919 recording. A Duane Eddy rock ‘n roll instrumental cover in 1960 charted in both the UK and the US.
“‘My Bonnie …’ became a part of the UK skiffle craze repertoire in the mid-1950s when recorded by Vipers Skiffle Group in 1955. In popular culture, though, the song is now best remembered as the one that caught Brian Epstein’s attention in 1962: the 1961 recording by Tony Sheridan backed by the Beatles (recording as ‘The Beat Brothers’). The Beatles were familiar with the Vipers’ recordings, having themselves evolved from the Liverpool skiffle group, the Quarrymen, and would go on to record another Vipers song in 1969 – Maggie May – that would appear on the album Abbey Road.
Inspired by “You Can’t Catch Me” by Chuck Berry (1956).
Hit version by The Beatles (US #1/UK #4 1969).
From the wiki: “In 1969, Lennon composed the song ‘Come Together’ for The Beatles’ album Abbey Road but its history began when Lennon was inspired by Timothy Leary’s campaign for governor of California against Ronald Reagan, which promptly ended when Leary was sent to prison for possession of marijuana. Lennon recalled, ‘The thing was created in the studio. It’s gobbledygook; ‘Come Together’ was an expression that Leary had come up with for his attempt at being president or whatever he wanted to be, and he asked me to write a campaign song. I tried and tried, but I couldn’t come up with one. But I came up with this, Come Together, which would’ve been no good to him – you couldn’t have a campaign song like that, right?’
First recorded (as a demo) by John Lennon (1964).
Hit version by The Beatles (US #53 1964).
From the wiki: “John Lennon got a head start on writing new material for the yet untitled first Beatles movie, in early January 1964, when he wrote and recorded the initial home demos for ‘If I Fell’ in his London flat. He later recalled ‘That’s my first attempt to write a ballad proper. That was the precursor to ‘In My Life’. It has the same chord sequence as ‘In My Life’: D and B minor and E minor, those kinds of things. And it’s semi-autobiographical, but not consciously. It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads, silly love songs, way back when.’
“Brought into the studio for the group to record, ‘If I Fell’ was recorded in 15 takes on 27 February 1964. The song’s acoustic introduction – which is not repeated elsewhere in the song, musically or lyrically – made its first appearance on take 11. However, the home demo recorded by Lennon also contained the passage.
Co-written and first recorded by Bobby Scott (1960).
First vocal version recorded by Billy Dee Williams (1961).
Also recorded by Lenny Welch (1962), The Beatles (1963).
Hit (instrumental) versions by Martin Denny (US #50 1962), Mr. Acker Bilk (UK #16 1963), Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass (US #7 1965).
From the wiki: “‘A Taste of Honey’ was written by Bobby Scott (‘He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother‘) and Ric Marlow. It was originally an instrumental track (or recurring theme) written for the 1960 Broadway version of the 1958 British play A Taste of Honey. The original recorded versions of the song first appeared on Bobby Scott’s 1960 album, also titled A Taste of Honey. His composition would go onto win Best Instrumental Theme at the Grammy Awards of 1963.
“A vocal version of the song, first recorded by Billy Dee Williams in 1961, became popular when it was covered, first, by Lenny Williams in 1962 and, then, by The Beatles in 1963 on their debut UK Parlaphone album Please Please Me, and debut US album Introducing … The Beatles on VeeJay. (The group had begun to incorporate the song into their live repertoire in Hamburg, Germany, in 1962.)
“Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass recorded the most popular instrumental version of the song with a cover on their 1965 album, Whipped Cream & Other Delights. This recording won four Grammy awards in 1966 including Record of the Year.”
First recorded by Ben Bernie & His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra (US #1 1925).
Also recorded by Ethel Waters (US #6 1925), Isham Jones & His Orchestra (US #5 1925), Red Nichols & His Orchestra (1930).
Best-known recordings by Bing Crosby (US #5 1932), Stéphane Grappelli & Django Reinhardt (1938), Brother Bones & His Shadows (US #10/R&B #9 1948), Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers (1962).
From the wiki: “”Sweet Georgia Brown” is a Jazz standard and Pop tune written in 1925 by Ben Bernie, Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey (lyrics). It is believed Ben Bernie came up with the concept for the song’s lyrics – although he is not the accredited lyricist – after meeting Dr. George Thaddeus Brown in New York City: Dr. Brown, a longtime member of the State House of Representatives for Georgia, told Bernie about Dr. Brown’s daughter Georgia Brown and how subsequent to the baby girl’s birth on August 11, 1911 the Georgia General Assembly had issued a declaration that she was to be named Georgia after the state, an anecdote which would be directly referenced by the song’s lyric: ‘Georgia claimed her – Georgia named her.’ The tune was first recorded in March 1925 by Bernie & his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra, resulting in a five-week run at #1.
First recorded by The Beatles (FRA #1/NOR #1/NZ #1 1966).
Other hit versions by The Overlanders (UK #1 1966), Billy Vaughn (US #77/MOR #17 1966), David & Jonathan (US #18/UK #11 1966), The Spokesmen (US #106 1966), Bud Shank & Chet Baker (US #65/MOR #12 1966).
Also recorded by Jan & Dean (1966), The Singers Unlimited (1971).
From the wiki: “One of Rubber Soul’s most memorable songs, ‘Michelle’ was written by Paul McCartney with a little help from the wife of an old schoolfriend. The song is one of McCartney’s oldest compositions, having been started around 1959; composed on his first-ever guitar, a Zenith. ‘Michelle’ won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1967 and has since become one of the best-known and most-often recorded of all Beatles songs … but was never released in the US or the UK by the Beatles as a single (although Beatles’ singles of ‘Michelle” did top singles charts in France and Norway).
“After The Beatles declined to release the song as a single, ‘Michelle’ became a UK hit in 1966 for The Overlanders. Of all the covers recorded of ‘Michelle’ released to date, the recording by David & Jonathan (nom de plume of songwriters Roger Cook and Roger Greenway, ‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing‘) was the only recording of ‘Michelle’ that made the US Billboard Top 40.
Written and first recorded by Chuck Berry (US #8/R&B #6 1957).
Other hit versions by The Beatles (AUS #1/NOR #1/SWE #1/FIN/GER #2 1964), Humble Pie (US #105 1975), The Beach Boys (US #5/CAN #11/UK #36 1976), Mental As Anything (AUS #5 1988).
From the wiki: “‘Rock and Roll Music’ was written and recorded by rock ‘n roll icon Chuck Berry.
“The sessions for ‘Rock and Roll Music’ took place in May 1957 in Chicago, Illinois, produced by the Chess brothers – Leonard and Phil – and backing Chuck Berry were pianist Lafayette Leake, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Fred Below. Chess records issued the song as a single in September 1957 on both the 45 rpm and 78 rpm formats. It reached #6 on Billboard magazine’s R&B Singles chart and #8 on the Hot 100 chart before the year’s end.
“Five decades later, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Berry’s version at #128 on their list of ‘The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time’. The song is also a part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s list of the ‘500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll’.
First recorded (in an uptempo arrangement) by The Beatles (1964).
Hit versions by The Beatles (US #12/CAN #15/BEL #10 1964), Esther Phillips (as “And I Love Him” US #54/R&B #11 1965), The Vibrations (US #118/R&B #47 1966).
From the wiki: “‘And I Love Her’ was written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon-McCartney) for the movie soundtrack of A Hard Day’s Night. It was composed in the music room in the basement of the house in Wimpole Street, London, which belonged to the parents of Jane Asher, Paul‘s then-current girlfriend. It is likely that Asher was the inspiration behind the song.
“The Beatles began recording the song on 25 February 1964. They recorded two takes that day, with a full electric line-up, but it was evidently not the sound they were after. The second take was later released in 1995 on Anthology 1. The group returned to it the next day, recording 16 takes and changing the song’s arrangement as they went along.
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