Saturday, March 12, 2011

"I Should Have Known Better"

"I Should Have Known Better" is a song composed by John Lennon (credited to Lennon/McCartney), and originally released by The Beatles on the UK version of A Hard Day's Night, their soundtrack for the film of the same name.

The song is performed in the train compartment scene of A Hard Day's Night. It was in fact filmed in a van, with crew members rocking the vehicle to fake the action of a train in motion.

An orchestrated version of the song conducted by George Martin appears on the B-side of the U.S. version of the album.


In January 1964, during a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, The Beatles first became aware of American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan and, when having acquired a copy of his album Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, began playing it continuously. American journalist Al Aronowitz introduced them to Dylan when The Beatles visited New York in February 1964, and Dylan subsequently became a big influence on the group, especially Lennon, who even started wearing a copycat Huckleberry Finn cap. One consequence of this “infatuation” (as Ian MacDonald later described it) was the song "I Should Have Known Better". Paul McCartney said Dylan's songs were "great lyrically," and Lennon credited Dylan with inspiring him to write more meaningful lyrics.


The first recording session for the song was on 25 February 1964 at Abbey Road Studios when three takes were attempted, but only one was complete. Take 2 was aborted when Lennon broke into hysterics over his harmonica playing. The song was re-recorded the next day after making some changes to the arrangement.

Lennon's harmonica playing opens the track, the last occasion The Beatles were to feature this instrument on an intro ("I'm a Loser", recorded 14 August 1964 has a harmonica solo) and thus draws a line under a significant period of their early music. The song's middle sixteen section features George Harrison's brand new Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar.

The mono and stereo versions have slightly different harmonica introductions. In the stereo version, the harmonica drops out briefly. Also, a noticeably clumsy and audible tape edit is heard during the second middle eight between "You're gonna say you love me, too" and "And when I ask you to be mine."


United Kingdom

In the UK, "I Should Have Known Better" appeared on A Hard Day's Night and was released on 10 July 1964. It was not released as a single at that time. In 1976, it was released as a B-side to "Yesterday."

United States

In the U.S., "I Should Have Known Better" was released on 13 July 1964 as the B-side to "A Hard Day's Night." As part of the movie contract, United Artists acquired album rights for the American market. They released a soundtrack album on 26 June 1964 with eight Beatles songs and four instrumentals. "I Should Have Known Better" was performed in the film, and it appears on the soundtrack. Capitol Records released Something New a month later with songs from the UK version of A Hard Day's Night that were not used in the film and other material. "I Should Have Known Better" did not appear on a Capitol album until five years later on the Hey Jude compilation album.

Continental Europe

"I Should Have Known Better" was released as a single in a number of continental European countries, including West Germany, where it reached Number 6, and Norway, where it reached Number 1.


* John Lennon — vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, harmonica
* Paul McCartney — bass guitar
* George Harrison — 12-string lead guitar
* Ringo Starr — drums

Cover versions

* The song was played live on the Late Show with David Letterman in 1996 when Ringo Starr was a guest on the show.
* The Beach Boys covered it in 1965.
* The Skatalites recorded an instrumental version under the name "Independence Anniversary Ska".
* She & Him covered the song on their 2008 debut album, Volume One, as a duet with both M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel singing.
* The Punkles did a punk cover of this song on their first album.
* Phil Ochs covered the song with Eric Andersen during a Greenwich Village concert in 1964; the live version can be heard on The Broadside Tapes 1.
* American Idol Season 7 contestant Ramiele Malubay performed this song during the top 11 week when the theme was The Beatles.

A-side: "Yesterday"
Released: 8 March 1976
Format: vinyl record (7", 12")
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 25–26 February 1964
Genre: Pop
Length: 02:44
Label: Capitol Records (US), Parlophone/EMI (UK)
Writer(s): Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin

Song by The Beach Boys
Album: Beach Boys' Party!
Released: 8 November 1965
Genre: Pop
Length: 1:40
Label: Capitol
Composer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: Brian Wilson


Friday, March 11, 2011

"I Saw Her Standing There"

"I Saw Her Standing There" is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and is the opening track on the The Beatles' debut album Please Please Me, released in the United Kingdom by Parlophone on 22 March 1963.

In December 1963, Capitol Records released the song in the United States as the B-side on the label's first single by The Beatles, "I Want to Hold Your Hand". The single topped the U.S. charts for seven weeks starting 18 January 1964. "I Saw Her Standing There" entered the Billboard Hot 100 on 8 February 1964, remaining there for 11 weeks, peaking at number 14. In 2004, the song was ranked #139 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.


The song was a Lennon and McCartney collaboration based on McCartney's original idea. Initially titled "Seventeen", the song was apparently conceived by McCartney whilst driving home from a Beatles concert in Southport, Merseyside and later completed at his Forthlin Road home in September 1962 with Lennon, while the two were playing truant from school. It was typical of how Lennon and McCartney would work in partnership, as McCartney later commented: "I had 'She was just seventeen,' and then 'Beauty queen'. When I showed it to John, he screamed with laughter, and said 'You're joking about that line, aren't you?'" "It was one of the first times he ever went 'What? Must change that...'" The lyrics were written on a Liverpool Institute exercise book. Remember, a book by McCartney's brother Mike McCartney, includes a photograph of Lennon and McCartney writing the song while strumming guitars and reading the exercise book. McCartney admits to lifting his bass line directly from a Chuck Berry song called "I'm Talking About You" (1961).

The songwriting credit on the Please Please Me liner notes is "McCartney/Lennon" which differs from the more familiar "Lennon/McCartney" that appears on subsequent releases.


The song was recorded at Abbey Road Studios on 11 February 1963, as part of the marathon recording session that produced 10 of the 14 songs on Please Please Me. The Beatles were not present for the mixing session on 25 February 1963, which was not unusual at that time.

On the album, the song starts with a rousing "one, two, three, FOUR!" count-in by McCartney (pronounced "one, two, three, FAH!"). Usually, these count-ins are edited off the final audio mix. However, this was left on by record producer George Martin, as it was considered especially spirited, and began the album in an upbeat vein. Music journalist, Richard Williams, suggested that this dramatic introduction to their debut album was just as stirring as Elvis Presley's "Well, it's one for the money, two for the show…" on his opening track, Blue Suede Shoes, for his debut album seven years earlier. In addition it also made the point that The Beatles were a performing band as, at that time, they opened their live set with this song (however, by listening to outtakes of the song one can hear that the count-in is actually from take 9, while the master take is take 1; the former was not preceded by a loud count-in). Martin had initially contemplated recording the Please Please Me LP live at the Cavern in front of their own audience and visited the Liverpool club to experience The Beatles phenomenon for himself. But when time constraints intervened it was decided to book them into the Abbey Road studios instead.


* British LP: Please Please Me
* British EP: The Beatles (No. 1)
* American LP: Introducing... The Beatles
* American LP: Meet The Beatles!


* Paul McCartney – vocal, bass, handclaps
* John Lennon – backing vocal, rhythm guitar, handclaps
* George Harrison – lead guitar, handclaps
* Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps

Critical acclaim

Carr and Tyler, in The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, claimed it was only the third all-British rock classic up to that time, the previous two being Cliff Richard's "Move It" and Johnny Kidd's "Shakin' All Over."

Cover versions

A 1974 live version was released as a duet by Lennon and Elton John as the B-side to the latter's "Philadelphia Freedom" single. The song is available on the Lennon Box Set, and on Elton John's To Be Continued... box set as well as the expanded CD edition of his 1976 live album Here and There. Lennon's introduction:
“ I'd like to thank Elton and the boys for having me on tonight. We tried to think of a number to finish off with so I can get out of here and be sick, and we thought we'd do a number of an old, estranged fiancé of mine, called Paul. This is one I never sang, it's an old Beatle number, and we just about know it. ”

McCartney included "I Saw Her Standing There" on his live albums Tripping the Live Fantastic (1990), Back in the U.S. (2002) and Back in the World (2003). In 1987, he recorded a new version for his album CHOBA B CCCP, but left it to outtakes. The song has become a mainstay of McCartney's live sets, and a special version was played when McCartney and his band returned to Liverpool in June 2008. It featured special guest drummer Dave Grohl, the lead singer of the Foo Fighters.

Other versions include:

* The Supremes recorded a version of the song under the title "I Saw Him Standing There." It was recorded during the sessions for their A Bit of Liverpool album, but remained unreleased until 2008.
* The Who filmed and recorded a version of the song for their film The Kids Are Alright; Keith Moon sang the lead vocal. However, this was not released on the film or soundtrack album, and has only been available on bootleg recordings. The Who also performed the song on their 1982 Farewell Tour, with John Entwistle on lead vocal, including a performance at Shea Stadium.
* Daniel Johnston covered "I Saw Her Standing There" on his album Continued Story/Hi How Are You?
* In 1988, Tiffany released "I Saw Him Standing There" as a single and as a track on her self-titled debut album.
* Santo & Johnny did a version (which features steel guitar) on an LP of Beatle songs.
* In 1977, The Tubes covered "I Saw Her Standing There" on their live CD What Do You Want From Live.
* Carmaig de Forest recorded an acoustic version of "I Saw Her Standing There" in his own kitchen in 1991. Halfway through the song, it turns into his own composition "Julie Among the Redwoods", but reverts back to "I Saw Her Standing There" in the end.
* Peter Grant recorded a Jazz version on his debut album New Vintage released in 2006.
* The Punkles did a Punk cover on their first Album "Beat The Punkles".
* Allister released a cover version on the Japanese-only EP, Guilty Pleasures.
* In 1991, Mexican singer Mimí recorded a Spanish version of this song called "Te Ví Parado Ahí" and included it on her self-titled debut album.
* Serbian doo wop band Vampiri recorded a version with lyrics in Serbian language entitled "Poziv na ples" ("Dance Invitation"), on their 1993 album Bebe.
* N.E.R.D's Pharrell Williams appeared at the 2004 Grammy Awards, performing the song on drums with Sting, Dave Matthews and Vince Gill.
* Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis on Jerry Lee Lewis's 2006 CD Last Man Standing.
* Jerry Garcia recorded the song on his Run For The Roses album, 1982.

In popular culture

In the 1988 Motion Picture Rain Man, the song is sung by the titular character (portrayed by Dustin Hoffman) to his younger brother Charlie.

The CBS sitcom Petticoat Junction featured it as a performance on March 24, 1964 by an all-girl group "The Ladybugs." Two nights earlier the cast members, in Ladybugs character, also performed the song on 'The Ed Sullivan Show.'

Album: Please Please Me
Released: 22 March 1963
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 11 February 1963
Genre: Beat
Length: 2:55
Label: Parlophone
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin

B-side to "I Want to Hold Your Hand"
Released: 26 December 1963 (U.S.)
Length: 2:55
Label: Capitol 5112 (U.S.)


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Plastic Ono Band

The Plastic Ono Band was a conceptual supergroup formed by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969 before the dissolution of The Beatles. Amongst the various members of the band were Eric Clapton, two former Beatles (George Harrison and Ringo Starr), old friend Klaus Voorman, future Yes drummer Alan White, members of Delaney and Bonnie, The Who's drummer Keith Moon, New York band Elephant's Memory, Billy Preston, Nicky Hopkins, Phil Spector, and drummer Jim Keltner.

In 1968, John Lennon began his personal and artistic relationship with Yoko Ono by collaborating on the experimental album Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins. After a second volume, Unfinished Music No.2: Life With The Lions appeared in the spring of 1969, Lennon and Ono decided that all of their future endeavours would be credited to the Plastic Ono Band. Its credo, "YOU are the Plastic Ono Band", implied that everyone was part of the group. In fact, the Plastic Ono Band was an identity to describe works by Lennon and Ono and whoever happened to be performing with them. Lennon and Ono would both use the nomenclature for years on their future solo albums. The single release of "Give Peace a Chance" in July 1969, recorded in a hotel room in Montreal, Quebec with many participants, was the first release to bear the credit of Plastic Ono Band.

The only album solely credited to the Plastic Ono Band, Live Peace in Toronto 1969, was recorded during the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival Festival in September that year and featured Eric Clapton on lead guitar, Klaus Voorman on bass (an old friend of Lennon's from Germany, who was famous for the cover art of the Beatles' Revolver album), and Alan White (later of Yes on drums. Fronting the group, naturally, were Lennon and Ono.

Just after its recording, "Cold Turkey", Lennon's tale of breaking his brief heroin addiction, was released as a single under the banner of the Plastic Ono Band, again featuring the Live Peace In Toronto 1969 line-up. By early 1970, Lennon and Ono had begun adding their names to their releases ("Instant Karma!" coming out as "John Lennon with the Plastic Ono Band", and their two proper solo debut albums: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band). By 1971 the name was being used as a secondary credit, with Lennon's and Ono's names the most prominent on their solo ventures, and with occasional variances (e.g., "the Plastic Ono Nuclear Band", "the Plastic U.F.Ono Band," or, when they performed with Frank Zappa, "the Plastic Ono Mothers").

Before 2009, the last use of the Plastic Ono Band was credited on Lennon's 1975 retrospective release Shaved Fish. However, recently, Yoko Ono made an appearance on Sean Lennon's new label's album Chimera music release no.0 with the Plastic Ono Band attached to her name for the first time since her 1973 album Feeling the space. She also performed at The Liquid Room in Tokyo, Japan on January 21st with the 2009 line-up of other Chimera Music Artists. She performed as the Plastic Ono Band.


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

"I Need You"

"I Need You" is a Beatles song on the album Help! It is the second George Harrison song the band recorded (on 15 and 16 February 1965) and released, after a two album–long hiatus. The song was performed in their second movie Help!


The song is a simple, melancholy number, with a lead guitar sound achieved by Harrison's first recorded use of a volume pedal. The confessional lyrics are commonly thought to be about Harrison's relationship with Pattie Boyd, whom he had met in March 1964 while filming A Hard Day's Night. (They married in January 1966.)


* John Lennon – harmony vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar
* Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass
* George Harrison – double-tracked lead vocal, lead guitar
* Ringo Starr – drums, cowbell

Other versions

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers played the song in tribute to Harrison at 2002's Concert for George.

Les Fradkin has an instrumental version on his 2005 release, While My Guitar Only Plays.

Album: Help!
Released: 6 August 1965
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 15–16 February 1965
Genre: Rock
Length: 2:28
Label: Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
Writer: George Harrison
Producer: George Martin


Monday, March 07, 2011

John Lennon on "Golden Slumbers"

"That's Paul's, apparently from a poem that he found in a book, some eighteenth-century book where he just changed words here and there . . . He laid the strings on after we had finished most of the basic tracks. I personally can't be bothered with strings and things. I like to do it with the group, or electronics, you know. I can't be bothered with the hassles of the musicians and all that bit, you know. It's such a drag trying to get them together, but Paul digs that. So, that's his scene, and it was up to him where he went with the violins, really, and what he did with them. I think he just wanted a straight kind of backing, you know, nothing freaky . . . White Trash has just done a cover of 'Golden Slumbers.' They made quite a good version of that. It's pretty similar to the track we did, except they've done some nice things with a big organ, a church organ playing a solo. They've done it quite gutsy."

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Orchids - Gonna Make Him Mine

From a Beatles episode of Ready Steady Go!

The Beatles later criticized an Orchids track ("Love Hit Me") on Juke Box Jury as being too derivative of Motown girl groups.

John: Just a big con - a pinch from The Crystals and Ronettes.

Paul: It's good for a British record.

Ringo: It'll sell a few, but not many.

George: I'd rather have British groups pinch from The Crystals than the other stuff.

Unbeknownst to them at the time, the Orchids were in the audience and were pointed out by the TV host.