Unknown Beatle Gems
Even though Lennon and Harrison have passed away years ago, and even though the Beatles last LP was in 1969, their songs continue to live on in various forms. The most recent is CNN's ad for their TV show, This is Life, where the Beatle song, Come Together, blasts out. A few years back, Target stores used the Beatles, Ob-La Di, Ob La Da, 1968 song for their ads. Other companies have used their 1967, Love Is All You Need. But while you may be familiar with these and many others, Lennon and McCartney created some very catchy tunes you have never heard unless you are a Beatle fanatic\collector.
The two songwriters wrote many songs for others that they themselves never tried to do. Peter & Gordon's first major hits were Beatle songs: A World Without Love, Nobody I know, Woman, and I Don't Want To see You Again. While credits were given to Lennon-McCartney, in reality, McCartney had penned all of them. Peter Asher would later become Apple Records A&R man.
Paul was not the only one. John wrote several songs the Beatles never recorded, but were given to other bands and subsequently their first hits. These songs include the striking I'm In Love. John's personal favorite from his 1963 period, which he demoed on a piano in the mid-1970's. Why the Beatles never did this remains a mystery as it is quite good. It was done by the B-52's in the 1980's. The chord progression builds and builds into a final vocal crescendo declaring the song's title.Quite effective! It was recorded by The Fourmost and became a hit.
Another song from the same period, Bad to Me, about the same theme but this time, pleas of insecurity about getting hurt. John recorded a demo with just his guitar in 1963. The tune is very catchy and the words are a bit cheesy. Another Lennon song, I'll Keep You Satisfied and From A Window, both penned in the same period were recorded and became big hits for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas in 1964. The band also had a hit with McCartney's, One and One Is Two. Paul had created a demo while touring in France in 1964, in hopes the Beatles would record it. They rejected it.
Occasionally, the Beatles would record a song several times and planned to have it on their latest LP. The prime example is their Leave My Kitten Alone, with a stellar rock number and John's nasal voice. The 1964-5 song is a cover song but they executed it with perfection. The chorus highlights John's voice in the same manner that their 1968 Hey Bulldog does. Leave My Kitten Alone was recorded in one of their marathon recording sessions and subsequently forgotten about until rediscovered in 1995!
The Beatles also recorded their one and only infectioness Christmas song called Christmas Time Is Here Again. Originally, for only fan club members in 1967, the catchy tune is simple and the vocals simply repeat the same song title over and over, yet, the listener never tires of it. Pure genius. It was never put on any Beatle LP or single until 1995 in their Anthology series.
McCartney claims that his first song ever was In Spite of All the Danger, written in 1958 and recorded on a portable tape recorder with the prelude to the Beatles, the Quarry Men. The song is literally a knock off from Paul's teen idol, Elvis, who released, Trying To Get To You, in 1956. Once recorded, it was forgotten until a former member discovered it in 1981 in his closet. When Paul found out, he offered to buy it for a hefty sum and that the song could not be performed until 1996.
The first ever Lennon-McCartney song, according to Paul is You'll Be Mine, recorded at Paul's home in 1960. The song has no drums, only four guitars and teens laughing as they sing. Perhaps dreaming of hitting it big time! John actually delivers the spoken words in a dramatic manner.
John's first ever song is Hello Little Girl from 1958 and One After 909. The theme is about fearing rejection in love. He was always very insecure and the song was recorded by the Beatles for Decca, as a demo, in 1962, along with Paul's, Like Dreamers Do, another Elvis type song. Listening to either today, one can see a glimmer of stardom sparking but more time is still needed as the guitar lead is simply horrible and neither song sparks any interest. John's One After 909 was penned in 1957 and remains one of his best early rockers. The Beatles attempted this in 1963 to impress George Martin but the song veered off tempo after several takes and was rejected. However, during the 1968 Get Back sessions (later called Let It Be) the band actually did a slower version than the fast 1963 one and was released on the LP. Both John and Paul felt like the words never made logical sense but fitted the music.Oddly, a year or two later, both Hello Little Girl and Like Dreamers Do were done by other bands, both were hits to some degree!
Sometimes, the Beatles would attempt a song over 30 times in various takes and finally just say it, phuck it. This is what happened with That Means A Lot. It was late March, 1965, and the song was still unfinished since mid-February. After the last take, both Paul and John realized that this song was not for them, even though they had penned it. John would later say that execution was a mess and Paul was having a problem singing it. Maybe because it sounds like an Elvis song and Paul no longer needed to imitate him. He had outgrown that. The song was simply uninspired. So, they gave the song to P.J. Proby. He did had a mild hit, it reached number 30 on the Top 100.