#183: Boys

This track often shows up on “worst Beatles songs” lists, and it’s admittedly a very curious choice for the band to cover. Originally performed by girl group The Shirelles, this ode to the less fair sex was a regular part of the group’s early setlists, allowing them to nail it in the studio in a single take. The decision to only alter certain lyrics results in Continue reading “#183: Boys”

#183: Boys

#190: Don’t Bother Me

Listen to the hooks of each song on the first half of the Beatles’ second album and one sticks out like a sore thumb. Sandwiched between sunny choruses promising, “It won’t be long, yeah (yeah!), ’til I belong to you,” “All my loving, I will send to you,” and “There was love all around, but I never heard it singing…till there was you,” you’ll find the decidedly more rain-soaked, “Go away, leave me alone, don’t bother me.” Do I even need to tell you that it was written by George Harrison?

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What’s less obvious is that George also wrote The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

 

Considering it was the first song he ever composed, Continue reading “#190: Don’t Bother Me”

#190: Don’t Bother Me

#202: Please Mister Postman

In an alternate universe where the Marvelettes’ definitive original recording of “Please Mister Postman” didn’t exist, the Beatles’ version would serve as a totally adequate substitute. John Lennon delivers a solid vocal and the musicianship is more than competent…but the lads brought nothing new to the table here, aside from swapping the gender in the lyrics.

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Well, for the narrator at least. A female mail carrier would have been a little too progressive for 1963.

That said, while I’m fantasizing about alternate universes, I wouldn’t mind living in a world in which Continue reading “#202: Please Mister Postman”

#202: Please Mister Postman

#205: Chains

The slaughter of Please Please Me covers continues. In order to properly describe “Chains,” the only thing I could really think to do was head to thesaurus.com and decide on my favorite synonym for “pleasant.” I am settling on “congenial.” Also, did you know that “bland” is synonymous with “pleasant”? I mean, I get it but I’ve never really thought of those words as amiable.

So…”Chains.” It’s hard to really get excited about this song. It’s not all that different from the Cookies’ original. It’s just another in the line of Continue reading “#205: Chains”

#205: Chains

#206: Baby It’s You

“Sha-la-la-la-la-la-la” may not be the most profound lyric of all time, but it can make for a heck of a hook. It’s safe to say that “Baby It’s You” does not suffer for lack of being catchy by any stretch, which is hardly a surprise considering it was composed by Burt Bacharach. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to come across a version Continue reading “#206: Baby It’s You”

#206: Baby It’s You

#207: Anna (Go to Him)

It’s gone down as one of the most laughable blunders ever made by a record label: on January 1, 1962, the Beatles auditioned for Decca Records and were turned down, purportedly because “guitar groups are on the way out.” But the truth is, if you listen to those recordings, it’s not the Beatles you know and love. For one thing, Ringo had yet to join, with drum duties handled by inaccurately-last-named Pete Best.

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Pete Passable-For-The-Time-Being didn’t fit on a marquee.

The 15 songs they recorded that day were selected by manager Brian Epstein and did little to showcase the group members’ personalities, which were just as critical a component of their early success–if not more so–than their musical ability. And that doesn’t even account for Continue reading “#207: Anna (Go to Him)”

#207: Anna (Go to Him)

#209: I Wanna Be Your Man

In 1960, Dr. Seuss made a bet with his editor, challenged to come up with a children’s book using 50 or fewer different words. The result was the kindergarten classic Green Eggs and Ham. Three years later, John Lennon and Paul McCartney used just 18 unique words to create “I Wanna Be Your Man,” and if their challenge was to get the worst original Beatles composition out of the way early in their career, mission accomplished. (“Revolution 9” is not a song. To quote Ron Burgundy, if you disagree, I will fight you.)

Of course, if you want to get really pedantic Continue reading “#209: I Wanna Be Your Man”

#209: I Wanna Be Your Man