Help!:

“Hold On!” - Herman’s Hermits
Hold On!; March 1966
“I’ll take ‘Song Titles Starting with ‘H’ and Ending with Exclamation Point, Which Were Also The Title Track to a Sixties Beat Group’s Second Feature Film’ for 500, Alex.” And which also have a driving backbeat and group vocals that “answer” the lead vocals in the verses.

 

“Ouch!" - The Rutles
The Rutles; 1978
Say no mo-ah!
Actually, to say a little more, on the Rutles DVD alternate soundtrack Eric Idle tells about the time when George, Ringo, Neil Innes were all over at his house and George and Ringo were singing “Ouch!” Eric and Neil -- the Paul and John of the Rutles. Eric suggested they all form a group and call themselves the “Brutles.”

 

“You Had No Right” - The Redcoats
Meet The Redcoats...Finally!; Recorded 1965
The Redcoats were the story of a misfired career, aborted due to a nightmarish management agreement which left most of their recorded output unreleased until issued recently by Dionysus Records (www.dionysusrecords.com). The driving force of this band (John Spirit) was the guy who had done “Martian Hop” a couple of years earlier, which is a pretty cool credential, and the Redcoats did a great Beatles cop (as well as a great Herman’s Hermits cop, when the need presented itself); they actually sound something like the Choir at times. This song has 'Help's' trademark backbeat, descending chord structure and echoed vocals.

 

“Make Love, Not War” - The Tea Company
Come And Have Some Tea; 1968
Wow, tune in, turn on, drop out, man. These guys were obviously into "Tea" long before the Rutles.  The whole album is absolutely drenched in reverb and other effects, and their version of "You Keep Me Hanging On" is very Vanilla Fudge, when it isn't quoting "Pictures of Matchstick Men." The psychedlic production spills over into this song, too, but the resemblance to “Help!” is still apparent in the one-note melody and the descending chord progression.

 

The Night Before:

“Give Me” - The Shakers
Break It All; February 1966
The electric piano/guitar combination of The Night Before has a rather unique quality, and to my ears it’s echoed somewhat in this Shakers song. In other words, I’m still looking for the perfect match here.

 

You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away:

“Hard Hard Year” - The Hollies
Would You Believe?; June 1966
3/4 time on acoustic guitar, tambourine, Dylan-esque lyric. It has an absolutely scorching guitar solo, though, which as far as I can tell was strictly of Tony Hicks’ own invention.

 

"Why? Why? Why?" - Paul Revere & The Raiders
The Spirit of ‘67; November 1966
Jing, jinga-jinga, jing, jinga-jinga. Dylan caps and Beatle boots.

 

“I’ll Get Around To It When And If I Can” - Chad Stuart & Jeremy Clyde
Of Cabbages And Kings; Recorded Nov. 1, 1966
Theyre a quartet now, apparently.

 

I Need You:

“Where Are You” - The Bee Gees
Spicks And Specks; Recorded April 1966
This period of Bee Gees was a treasure trove of the Beatles' "mid-period" sound. As we shall see. Not sure of the source of Barry’s pronuciation of “Back” (“Back-Ah!”), though.
Maybe Jackie DeShannon.

 

"The Girl I Knew Somewhere" - The Monkees
Unissued Single; Recorded January 1967 ("Headquarters" CD bonus track)
For all the talk about how the Monkees were "Beatles Lite," surprisingly little of their music seems to have been Beatles-derived. It was more the attitude they copied. (Plus, there were all those professional New York songwriters to dilute the effect.) This Mike Nesmith song has one of the few Beatles traces, the guitar/harpsichord figure being a reworking of the "I Need You" riff. I can't believe this wasn't on the Headquarters album (it is on the expanded Rhino reissue); except forJohn London on bass, it's actually "all Monkees", and features a great harpsichord solo by Peter. It would have been a great single -- as the group wanted -- but Don Kirschner put out "A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You" instead, thereby bringing about his own demise with the group. This ultimately came out as the B-side. Speaking as one of their target market, I can categorically state that this certainly would have established them as a valid musical unit in my mind (assuming I'd known anything about the controversy when I was 10); even now I'd put it -- nearly -- up there with "Pleasant Valley Sunday." What do I know.

 

"Brass In Pocket" - The Pretenders
Pretenders; 1980
Not exactly a Beatles imitation, but this is certainly the "I Need You" riff.

 

Another Girl:

“There She Is” - The Lovin’ Spoonful
Daydream; Recorded December 1965
The Spoonful -- one of several contenders for the crown of “American Beatles.” But they had so many other influences, what with John Sebastian being such an American musicologist, that the Beatles influence often shows up more in their attitude than in their music. But there are a couple that bear a Beatles stamp, such as this one. In the liner notes to the “Daydream” CD re-release on BMG, John Sebastian mentions “trying to keep up with the Beatles” specifically in relation to this song, and if you imagine this as a little less country and a little more rock and roll you can hear the melodic similarities (like the way the opening guitar is the same line as “Another Girl’s” opening vocal) and in the rubbery, snakefinger lead guitar licks. (Yay Zally!) There’s also a similarity between the melody of the verse here and the chorus of "The Night Before,” and what with the sort of rockabilly feel of “Act Naturally,” this song is kind of like the “Help!” album in a nutshell. (No, this is “Help!” in a nutshell: “Help! I'm in a nutshell! How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell..?” Careful. Copyright, Johnny, copyright...)

 

“The Girl I Want” - Revolver
Single; 1985
Not much more I can think of to say about the band Revolver, except that maybe you’d have to get in touch with Jonathan Lea (www.jigsawseen.com) to find out about getting any of their stuff. Or Bomp. (www.bomp.com)

 

You’re Going To Lose That Girl:

“Let Go Of You Girl” - The Left Banke
The Left Banke; 1967
The Left Banke are another group whose influences were pretty durned clear, and the way Steve Martin sings “You’re gonna cry-y-y-y-y” on this is very John-like. “You’re Going To Lose That Girl” always seemed to me like the best match for this song, although I was never exactly sure why - but then I read in a recent interview in The Big Takeover with these guys where George Cameron mentioned that it was their very favorite Beatles song, and that they used to sing it all the time. (Score!)
A note on the title: On the Help! album jacket, the song is called “You’re Going To Lose That Girl” even though the lyric plainly says “gonna”; it must have been result of that proper Brian Epstein/EMI influence. It's not that way these days. I tell ya, the Empire’s gonna rack and ruin.

 

"All Day All Night" - The Oranges
Young Now!; 2001
These guys make "the ultimate Japanese Bubblegum Powerpop," according to Smile Records, their label. (www.smilerecords.homestead.com) The connection here is the"echo" line in the verses which comes directly from Paul & George's "She's gonna change her mind" lines in the original. This song also mixes in "Cruel To Be Kind" in the chorus, and the "What Is Life" guitar lick in the solo, just to help spread it around a bit.

Ticket To Ride:

“Girl Don’t Tell Me” - The Beach Boys
Summer Days (And Summer Nights!); Recorded April 30, 1965
I really like the ones by the major groups - the Beatles had kind of a “Mutual Admiration Society” thing going on with several other artists, and sometimes the references are very self-concious. This song doesn’t lift the most obvious thing about “Ticket To Ride”-- the drum pattern -- but there’s a nice little 12-String reference in between verses, and there are several lyrical parallels as well; “I’m the guy-hi-hi” and “Don’t tell me you’ll wri-hi-hite,” which are dead giveaways. This is one of the Beach Boys’ most un-Beach Boys-like sounding songs; there are no harmonies, and it generally has kind of an unfinished sound to it; if you didn’t recognize Carl Wilson’s voice, I’m not sure you would even pick it as being the Beach Boys. As I said, maybe Brian felt a little awkward about this one. Note that "Ticket To Ride" had been released on April 9 -- 3 weeks earlier. Not the first or last time we'd see such quick action from Brian.

 

"Todo La Bien" - Los Relevos
Me Daras La Razon; 1999?
Virtually the same guitar lick, drum pattern, cadence and verse structure, culminating in the same high note. Just no great harmonies to seal the deal. I’ll have to get a translation and see if the lyric matches up as well.

 

“It’s Not Bad” - The Shakers
Break It All; February 1966
Similar description as the previous, but a step further removed, asShakers songs were wont to be. But it hits that characteristic high note inthe verses, this time with the harmonies.

 

“This Year’s Girl” - Elvis Costello
This Year's Model; 1979
“Disguises” - The Jam
B-side to 'Funeral Pyre'; 1981
"Two Heads" - Jefferson Airplane
After Bathing At Baxter's; 1968
"Imitation Jewelry" - The Records

Crashes; 1981

Okay, since I've contended that the drum pattern is the most recognizable thing about “Ticket To Ride” these are songs where the drum pattern is the main, sometimes only, reference. I specify the Jam’s version of "Disguises" as opposed to the original by the Who, because the Jam bring Ringo’s (okay, it was really Paul’s) rhythm home in a way the Who didn’t. Perhaps deliberately; I wonder. The Zombies nearly made an entire career out of that beat (or something close to it), but they did it first, so perhaps "Ticket To Ride" was Paul doing the Zombies in the first place.

 

Act Naturally:

“Act Nice And Gentle” - The Kinks
B-side to "Waterloo Sunset"; Recorded late 1966
Musically, this is defnitely in the ballpark, and the title really helps, too. But here’s also a real Ringo-like quality to Ray’s vocal and the lyric here. Mick Avory’s drum fills get irritating, though; they're much more Pete Best than Ringo.

 

It’s Only Love:

“Tell Me Too!” - The SpongeTones
Beat Music; 1982
There’s a similarity in the way the chord progression goes to the relative minor, and the deliberate pace of the melody line matches up, too. My gut says "Yes."

 

You Like Me Too Much:

“Tint of Blue” - The Bee Gees
Spicks And Specks; Recorded April 1966
The rhythm really sells it; and it's accentuated by some nice tremelo rhythm guitar. Great block harmonies, too. (I also notice that the chorus of “You Like Me Too Much” is the same as the verse of “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party.” Well, George had good influences, too.)

 

"I Call Out Her Name" - Herman’s Hermits
Blaze; October 1967
The melody in the first part of the chorus here matches up to the “You’ll never leave me and you know it’s true” part, and, a little less obviously, the verse matches pretty closely with its original couterpart as well -- in "You Like Me Too Much" the verse is a series of 4 descending notes done 3 times and ending on a single note, and in "I Call Out Her Name" it's virtually the same thing. This album, Blaze, has several nice matches for our collection, and, tellingly, they were all written by the band. Four more examples to validate that theory.

 

Tell Me What You See:

“Busy Line” - Herman’s Hermits
Blaze; October 1967
Boy, this really is the album of Herman, isn’t it? This is another that kind of works on the gut level for me, but I do believe its melody is something of a boiled-down version of “Tell Me What You See,” with the one-chord motif that John was prone to use at the time. (The lyric, however, is “No Reply.”)

 

"Barrytown" - Steely Dan
Pretzel Logic; 1974
The melody ot this one isn’t a boiled down version - it’s virtually identical. Just fancier chord changes. This was always one of my favorite Steely Dan songs, but I never heard the resemblance (no, I never heard it before) until just recently. Maybe because I never actually heard Tell Me What You See until about the 1990s, but still, I you'd think I might have figured it out in 10 years... Anyway, Fagen & Becker are two of the cleverest guys this side of Godley & Creme (or Difford & Tilbrook, or Flo & Eddie) so I suspect they may well have been aware of what they were doing, but who knows. I really like this kind of example, though, because it’s a real “fish out of water”; you’d hardly mistake the song for the Beatles stylistically. Keeps the collection honest.

 

I’ve Just Seen a Face:

“Time Between” - The Byrds
Younger Than Yesterday; Recorded Nov. 11, 1966
Another act with whom the Beatles traded the occasional musical compliment. Roger McGuinn got the 12-String idea from George, and George got the “If I Needed Someone” riff from Roger’s “Bells of Rhymney” lick. As far as this song is concerned, it’s one of the first Chris Hillman songs the Byrds ever recorded (when Gene Clark left the Byrds it created a huge hole in their songwriter lineup, and Hillman stepped up with 4 songs on Younger Than Yesterday); as we’ve noticed, it’s those ‘First Songs’ that are likely to show a Beatles influence. "Time Between" doesn’t really require a lot of explanaition.

 

“The Girl Who Had No Name” - The Byrds
Younger Than Yesterday; Recorded Dec. 8, 1966
Very much the same thing. What “Time Between” didn’t cover, this does.

 

Yesterday:

The most covered Beatles song ever, but not necessarily the most copied. I have to confess that I haven’t had a lot of luck at finding songs that borrow easily identifiable melodic lines from “Yesterday,” but there does seem to be a whole school of pensive, reflective, rueful songs that followed in its wake, usually with a descending melody or chord progression, and always a mournful string section. And pret-near all of these seem to make some mention of “Yesterday,” “Today” or some other “day.”

 

"As Tears Go By" - The Rolling Stones
December’s Children; December 1965
The “evening” of the day.

 

"Without Her" - Nilsson
Single; Pandemonium Shadow Show; Recorded Feb. 17, 1967
“Another” day.

 

"Like The Seasons" - The Turtles
Happy Together; April 1967
“I know you had to go.” An early number by fellow White Whale-labelmate Warren Zevon, of whose songs the Turtles did several.

 

"Raven" - The Paper Garden
The Paper Garden Presents...; Autumn 1968
Departing from the template by using a full string section instead of just a quartet. Watch it.

 

"Simplicity" - The Buckinghams
In One Ear And Gone Tomorrow; 1968
“What will you say...today?”

 

“All The Love In The World” - Consortium
Single; January 1969
The first line of the verse is the “Now I need a place to hide away” melody.

 

“Beautiful Daughter” - The Move
Shazam; 1970
Made me younger “yesterday.” Given that this came out in 1970, it doesn't seem obvious to attribute this to “Yesterday.” But in a recent radio interview, Roy told us that he wrote this when he was 18. Roy was born in 1947, which gives a creation date for this song of...1965. And with those strings, well... But Roy was the only one here who could play ‘em himself, I’ll wager.

Now, it is also interesting to note the resemblance of the guitar intro of Paul's "The World Tonight" to the opening of "Beautiful Daughter," almost as if to return the favor. You don't suppose...

 

“Long Long Time” - Linda Ronstadt
Silk Purse; 1970
“Wait for the day you’ll go away.”

 

“The Way Love Used To Be” - The Kinks
'Percy' soundtrack; 1971
You mean, the way it used to be...yesterday? String quartet (with the “no-vibrato” sound specified by Paul) and no band. Like Roy Wood, and even the Beatles themselves, Ray Davies could try as hard as hewanted to imitate somebody else and there’s still no mistaking him.

 

“Waiting” - The Raspberries
Raspberries; 1972
“That was yesterday...another day.”

 

“A Better Word For Love” - NRBQ
Message For The Mess Age; 1994
Cool, now I get to talk about NRBQ. These guys should get some kind of medal; they’re a national treasure, and a sure cure for whatever ails you. What a crime that they aren’t better known. Guess they never wanted to make the compromises they’d have to make in order to achieve greater stardom. Oh well, those of us who know, know.

 

Dizzy Miss Lizzy:

“Nineteen Days ” - The Dave Clark 5
Single; Sept. 30, 1966
In addition to the same characteristic lead guitar parts (played rather more wildly), the vocals cover them, too. And the vocals also cover the requisite shouting, so this is one raucous song.

 

“I’m In Love” - The Pleasers
Thamesbeat; 1977
Rather faster, but a hard rocker that sounds rather like a son of Lizzy.

 

Singles:

I’m Down:
B-side to "Help!"; July 19, 1965

“Do Not Disturb” - The Shakers
Break It All; February 1966
The stops and starts in this song make this unmistakeable (even if it does borrow “Don’t Bother Me’s” lyrical theme); it’s virtually the same structure, and features electric piano, too. As we mentioned above, the great ones still sound like themselves no matter what, and the Shakers always did. But as usual, they bring something else to the party, too: The “Do-oo-not-disturb-me” coda takes it beyond “I’m Down”; Paul would approve.

 

We Can Work It Out:
Single; Dec. 3, 1965

“Saturday Night” - Emitt Rhodes
The American Dream; 1970
No accordion here, more’s the pity, but it’s still unmistakable what this is. Another terrific example of Emmitt's 'Paul' impression. Like Roy Wood, Ray Davies, etc., the great ones always put their own stamp, blah blah blah...

 

“It’s Not Time Now” - The Lovin’ Spoonful
Daydream; Recorded December 1965
With this collection what I’m trying to do is find songs that match up to Beatles songs musically, but this one gets in more for its lyric - the “let’s work out where we're going wrong” theme is a little too coincidental for a song recorded within weeks of the release of "We Can Work It Out" -- the kind of thing that nobody had really done before the Beatles. Actually, there might be a little musical relationship, too; within the Nashville-Cats groove, there's a similarity between the chords and descending melody of the “And if you think to stop it now” section and the chorus of “We Can Work It Out.” Whad'ya know.

 

Day Tripper:
Single; Dec. 3, 1965

Greatest riff in rock’n’roll? Maybe your opinion would depend on whether you’re a Beatles or a Stones -- or a Kinks -- person, for that matter. (I suppose I’m also making certain generational assumptions here.) In May of 1965, “Satisfaction” created probably the most enduring template for riff-rock, with its 3-note lick, E-to-D chord change and pounding, Motown “4 on the Floor” snare.* And “Day Tripper” would be John’s version, set to a Mersey -- as opposed to a Motown -- beat. And speaking of Motown, if you take “Satisfaction,” change the middle note so that the riff hooks around from above instead of climbing up from below, you’ve pretty much got Stevie Wonder’s “Uptight” (released Nov. 22, 1965), complete with 4/4 beat and E-to-D chord change. So these three form a trio that would be the basis for a whole school of songs.

“Day Tripper” has a much more complex riff,** but the “Satisfaction” E-to-D thing is still in there; it climbs up for the first 5 notes to an E, and then the 6th note is a D -- right at the halfway point of the riff, just as in “Satisfaction.” And the rhythm guitar in “Day Tripper” does a kind of vamp between E and E7, which gives it some of that same E-to-D feel. April Wine’s “I Like To Rock,” helpfully pointed out the similarity between the two songs for us by quoting both riffs simultaneously and showing how well they interlock.

Most of the songs listed below share the same characteristic E-to-D element, whether it’s in their chords or riffs, or both. A few are in here for other reasons, such as the big climactic vocal crescendo in the bridge.

* If that term isn’t familiar to you, do yourself a favor and watch “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” about the collective of musicians who created the Motown sound.

** As mentioned previously, there’s a school of thought that “Day Tripper,” like "I Feel Fine," was also derived from Bobby Parker’s “Watch Your Step” riff. I disagree. Obviously, it had been in John’s head, and it seems intuitive that it played a part ("Day Tripper" does share "Watch Your Step's" same last three turnaround notes), but there’s so much more going on in “Day Tripper” that I have a hard time hearing how the one would lead directly to the other. “Day Tripper” starts with a rising, sliding lick, while “Watch Your Step” is a repetition of three descending notes. The rhythm patterns of the two riffs are quite different, and the same goes for the two songs as a whole: One is a driving backbeat groove; the other is staccato and offbeat.

But there's a solution to this dilemma: The first verse of “Watch Your Step” is instrumental, and in the turnaround at the end, the whole band drops out and Bobby fills in with a guitar lick which is...the exact first half of the “Day Tripper” riff, note-for-note. And it really doesn't make sense that John would go through exertions to rework a piece of music and somehow arrive at a lick which already existed ready-made elsewhere in the same song. So maybe we can all be happy -- “Watch Your Step” was indeed the source of “Day Tripper,” but it comes just from that one lick, not the main riff of the song. Hey, ya gotta listen.

 

“Straight Shooter” - The Mamas & The Papas
If You Can Believe Your Eyes And Ears; March 1966
An amalgam of a bunch of Beatles songs from the period. The riff is a one of a group that might fall under the “Run For Your Life” school, and the bridge is borrowed from “Ticket To Ride.” But the title is a bit o f a giveaway, and also puts a more explicitly drug-related spin on John’s title.

 

“Louie, Go Home” - Paul Revere & The Raiders
Midnight Ride; May 9, 1966
Slower, pounding beat which, in keeping with its title, melds “Louie Louie” with the “Day Tripper” and “Satisfaction.”

 

"Baby Don’t Scold Me" - Buffalo Springfield
Buffalo Springfield (original release); Recorded July 1966
Not sure what I would have made of this if Stephen didn’t drop the "Day Tripper" lick into the end of the song. The song isn’t a blantant cop (as opposed to the way Neil’s “Mr. Soul” is "Satisfaction"), but it does have the same groove as "Day Tripper" - as filtered through the Springfield collective. That’s the way rewrites usually are, I guess.

 

“Your Own Love” - The Association
And Then...Along Comes The Association; Recorded June 1966
Uh oh. The riff has the rhythm of “I Feel Fine” but the E-to-D element of “Day Tripper,” bridging the gap between the two. Are they trying to make a liar out of me? But definitely a “Day Tripper” vocal build in the bridge and again at the end of the song, where they also sing some of the other key notes from the riff.

 

“Up And Down” - John Fred & His Playboy Band
Agnes English; 1967
Not again. Here’s almost the exact same riff as the Association song, with its combination of “I Feel Fine” and “Day Tripper” elements. Duly noted.

 

“Valleri” - The Monkees
The Birds, The Bees & The Monkees; Recorded Dec. 26, 1967
Amidst all that Spanish guitar, there’s the riff again, a combinaton of “Satisfaction” and “Day Tripper.”

 

“Don’t Take It So Hard” - Paul Revere & The Raiders
Something Happening; 1968
Paul & Co. take another crack at it, this time with a snappy Beatle beat. This time they cover the early climbing part of the riff instead of the E-to-D notes.

 

“Jumpin’ Jack Flash” - The Rolling Stones
Single; Recorded March 1968
“Everything we ever did they tried to copy,” isn’t that what John said? No, wait, that was National Lampoon.* Same difference. Anyway, I had always presumed that “Jumpin’ Jack Flash” was simply “Satisfaction Mark II”, but sing the “Day Tripper” riff along with it and it’s a perfect interlock. What really sells it is the way Bill and Charlie lock into Paul and Ringo’s rhythmic groove.

* "Magical Misery Tour" from Radio Dinner; 1972

 

"It’s Alright Now" - Herman’s Hermits
B-side to "Here Comes The Star"; 1969
The riff to this song actually might be just as much “Paperback Writer,” but the pounding rhythm is all “Day Tripper.” (It’s also got more than a little of the Kinks’ “It’s Alright,” for good measure.) Incidentally, this is a bonus cut on the Blaze CD on Repertoire, and beyond the fact that it’s a Peter Noone song (Bingo!), I don't have any great insights which I might have gleaned from the liner notes, because they’re in the smallest darned print I’ve ever seen. I miss LPs.

 

"Take It Home" - Utopia
Deface The Music; 1980
No explanation required.