Music Throwback Saturday: songs from A Hard Day’s Night

I listened to some early Wilson Pickett , but I’m not hearing the connection at all.

HardDaysNightThe Beatles, as influential as they were on other musicians, were also influenced by their predecessors and peers. I’m rereading Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.”

Fairly often, the members of the group are quoted as having been inspired by a piece for their own creations. I thought I’d put some of their songs up against the source material, with links to most.

Actually, the videos I’m having the most difficulty finding recently are those of the Beatles themselves, with several of them banned at least in the United States by some UK entity. The links I’ve used WERE working…

Anytime at All (at 16:52):

[John] later admitted [it] was a rewriting of his earlier song ‘It Won’t Be Long’, using the same chord progression from C to A minor and back, and when it came to recording, employed the same bawling vocal style.

I hear the connection. Yet the latter song is arguably better.

When I Get Home (at 23:39):

Influenced by his love of Motown and American Soul Music. Around the time it was recorded, he was asked what song he wished he had recorded…His first choice would be Marvin Gaye’s ‘Can I Get A Witness‘.

Wouldn’t we all have liked to have written that?

You Can’t Do That (at 26:00): “The musical influence, John later said, was Wilson Pickett…who had only released three singles under his own name, only one of which had been a minor hit.” I listened to some early Pickett – I Found a Love, If You Need Me, It’s Too Late – but I’m not hearing the connection at all.

Beatlesebooks confirms this:

The problem is that Wilson Pickett had not come into his own as of January of 1964 when this song was written. By that time, Wilson had only released four early singles which were 6/8 ballads far unlike anything he’s known for, such as ‘In The Midnight Hour’ and ‘Mustang Sally,’ which were much closer to what Lennon was talking about… John obviously was thinking retrospectively and originally found inspiration elsewhere, such as the R&B classics coming out of Memphis at the time. Confirmation of where the inspiration actually came from may never be known.

Memory is a peculiar thing, I’ve discovered. And John’s recollection of events in the early 1960s was taking place in 1980.

I’ll Be Back (at 28:40):

John found the chords while playing a Del Shannon song. This was probably ‘Runaway‘, which the Beatles had played in their early shows and which also starts with a minor chord and has a descending bass line.

This is so transformative that even though I was well aware of the earlier song, I never made the connection.


If I Fell – MonaLisa Twins

Music Throwback Saturday: songs from The Beatles album Please Please Me

Musically, John admitted it was his attempt at “sort of Motown, black thing.”

PleasePleaseMeMy love for the Beatles is quite substantial, as most people who know me can tell. Here’s an article about how they influenced many other artists, and there are plenty more examples.

But they too were influenced by other musicians. I was reading Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Fairly often, the members of the group are quoted as having been inspired by a piece for their own creations. So I thought I’d put some of their songs, from the Please Please Me album, and related singles, up against the source material, with links to all.

I Saw Her Standing There”:

Paul explained…the bass riff was stolen from Chuck Berry’s 1961 song ‘I’m Talking About You’. “I played exactly the same notes and it fitted our number perfectly. Even now when I tell people about it, I find few of them believe me. Therefore, I maintain that a bass riff doesn’t have to be original.”

I’m listening for it, and I barely can hear it.


The ‘la-la-la-la-la’ outro appears to allude to Pat Boone’s ‘Speedy Gonzalez’, a single that entered the British charts in July 1962 and didn’t leave until October.

Even as a kid, I HATED Speedy Gonzales as a terrible stereotype.

Please Please Me:

The song’s… chorus having been suggested by the 1932 Bing Crosby song ‘Please’, written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, which starts off by playing with the homophones ‘pleas’ and ‘please’.

Love Me Do:

During 1962, the American star Bruce Channel had enjoyed a British hit with ‘Hey Baby’ which featured a harmonica solo by Nashville session musician Delbert McClinton. When [John] met McClinton in June 1962…he asked him how he played it.

McClinton, who I was unfamiliar with until the late 1970s, tells his version of the story.

Do You Want To Know A Secret?:

[John’s] mother used to sing to him…’Wanna know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well’ (‘I’m Wishing’, words and music by Larry Morey and Frank Churchill)… from Walt Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. George later revealed that the musical inspiration… came from ‘I Really Love You’, a 1961 hit for the Stereos.

George later covered I Really Love You.

There’s a Place:

Paul claimed the title was derived from the West Side Story song There’s a Place for Us (i.e., Somewhere) from 1957. Musically, John admitted it was his attempt at “sort of Motown, black thing.”

The Beatles, of course, covered several Motown songs, such as You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, Money, and Please Mr. Postman.

Ask Me Why:

Reminiscent of Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ 1961 song What’s So Good about Goodbye.

And, of course, Motown covered many Beatles tunes.
Bonus Beatles music: In Spite Of All The Danger

Happy birthday to Beatles fan Fred Hembeck.

John Lennon would have been 75

Both the first verse of the song The Word and the first verse of John, chapter 1, begin with the words, “in the beginning…”

John-LennonMy friend Dan sent me this article How did the Beatles Get Their Name? Any Beatles fan worth his or her salt has heard the Flaming Pie story:
Many people ask what are Beatles? Why Beatles? Ugh, Beatles, how did the name arrive? So we will tell you. It came in a vision–a man appeared in a flaming pie and said unto them “From this day on you are Beatles with an A.” “Thank you, Mister Man,” they said, thanking him.

Flaming Pie, not coincidentally, is the name of a 1997 Paul McCartney album.

In the book The Gospel according to the Beatles by Steven Turner, it’s clear that John, far more than any of his cohorts, grew up with religious training. He was living with his Aunt Mimi (Stanley) Smith, who grew up Anglican, though neither she nor her sisters attended church as adults.

Still, Mimi and her sisters made sure their children were sent to Sunday school. John was a chorister and member of a Bible class. “For a time, he was attending events at the church four days a week.”

It was that respectable, impersonal, “bourgeois” version of Christianity that John eventually rejected. Still, the lessons he heard seeped into his thinking. The structure of the flaming pie story, Turner opines, is based on Acts 10:11, and/or Genesis 17. John himself called the flaming pie story “imitation Biblical stuff.”

“Mimi’s religion could be summarized by a stanza she framed on her wall:
However black the clouds may be
In time they’ll pass away
Have faith and trust and you will see
God’s light make bright your day

Compare these to the lyrics from Tell Me What You See, from the UK version of the Help! album.
The first time I heard The Word, from Rubber Soul, it reminded me of the beginning verses of the Gospel according to John. Both the first verse of the song and the first verse of chapter 1 begin with the words, “in the beginning…” John acknowledged to Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine that The Word was the first song he’d written to impart knowledge. (“This could be a Salvation Army song,” said Paul at the time.)

Girl, also from Rubber Soul, is a response to a book John read called Masochism in the Modern Man by Theodor Reil, who suggested that the command to love one’s enemies and pray for those who persecute us is masochistic. “In John’s hands, those ideas led him to question whether the ‘girl’ had been raised to believe ‘that pain would lead to pleasure…’ Did the girl believe those who told her “that a man must break his back to earn his day of leisure’?”

Turner said that The Beatles “were skeptical, even dismissive of the church, but yet many of the core beliefs… were secularized versions of Christian beliefs.” All You Need Is Love would be a prime example.

There’s a lot more in the book, both involving the Beatles’ philosophy as a group and individually, but this is enough for now.

John Lennon would have been 75 today. And his son Sean turns 40!

Tell Me What You See: Lyrics, and Song
The Word: Lyrics, and Song
Girl: Lyrics, and Song
All You Need Is Love: Lyrics, and Song

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial