I Saw Her Standing There:

"She's The One" - The Chartbusters
Single, June 1964; Nuggets (LP) Vol. 4, 1984
Okay, we're off to the perfect start: "Ah-one, two, three, Go!" -- sounding like an odd combination of Paul McCartney and Sam the Sham -- launching the song into that archetypical 4/4 Mersey beat. And then the obligatory "Whooo's" punctuating every chorus. Despite the group's name this didn't quite bust the charts, but it did crack the Top 40, reaching #33 in August of 1964.

This song is on the Rhino "Nuggets" LP collection from 1984 (although not the current CD box set); they aptly described it as the best exercise in Merseybeat practiced in America until the Knickerbockers' "Lies" showed up. What those Rhino liner notes also describe is the original version of this song, done by a group called "The Manchesters" on a Beatles-rip album called Beatlerama Volume 2. I don't know if the Manchesters were or were not one and the same as the Chartbusters, but their version sounds suspiciously similar. (It's the Manchesters' version of the song that I'm including here. It lacks the false ending of the Chartbusters' verssion, with its "one more time" reprise, but it's superior in the scratchiness department, at least.) More can be learned about the Chartbusters (and their mp3s downloaded) at www.garageband.com.

She's The One.mp3

 

"Little Lover" - The Hollies
Stay With The Hollies; January 1964
Getting to the Hollies right away gives us the opportunity to discuss the difference between the English bands of 1964 and the American, who were completely blind-sided by the Beatles’ arrival (Bobby Vee’s protestations notwithstanding, as we'll see below). Naturally, it was a bit different for the Beatles’ peers like the Hollies and the other English and Hamburg groups who were part of the same scene and under the same influences at the same time. But even among those bands the Beatles became the leaders once they got their sound developed, and they set the pace for all others, foreign and domestic. Still, tracing Beatles’ influences in bands like the Hollies can be a bit of a dicier proposition.

Having said that, check out the rhythmic foundation of "Little Lover"; it's a ringer for the 4/4 Merseybeat groove (and circular "Sweet Little Sixteen" bassline) of "I Saw Her Standing There." Tellingly, it’s also one of the few songs by ‘Ransford’ (i.e Clarke-Hicks-Nash) on the Hollies’ first album, which is otherwise almost entirely R&B covers. They hadn’t gotten their own patented harmonies developed at the time of this album -- quite a bit of shouting going on here. The second album took even longer.

 

"Can't You See That She's Mine" - The Dave Clark Five
The Dave Clark 5 Return!; May 22, 1964
I'ts the "Tottenham Sound!" "The Band That Beat The Beatles!" Well, they did have a lot of great singles, anyway. If I recall correctly, the DC5 were the first British band to hit in America after the Beatles; not bad for a bunch of football hooligans. And one of the few bands in the sixties to feature the saxophone in their arrangements; the "roaring" sound that harks back to Little Richard, as opposed to Chuck Berry -- thus delineating the two political parties of rock.

Dave Clark was also one of the few rock and rollers who was a good businessman; and smart enough to know whose songwriting to emulate, too. Not that there's anything wrong with that. The musical similarities to "I Saw Her Standing There" are pretty apparent in the verse, and Mike Smith even sounds something like Paul when he did those shouters.

 

"Neutron Dance" - The Del Rubio Triplets
Three Gals, Three Guitars; 1988; (The Pointer Sisters - Break Out; 1983)
The bridge here really wants to be “Well my heart went boom.” I cite the Del Rubio Triplets’ version because it walks all over the Pointer Sisters.’ May the best sisters win.

 

Misery:

"She Has a Way" - The Byrds
Demo Recording, 1964; Preflyte, 1969
The similarity here is perhaps more general -- pace and feel -- but the Byrds were one of the archetypical American bands from 1964 trying to sound like the Beatles, and when you listen to it, 'Misery' seems a likely model -- subconscious or otherwise -- for McGuinn and Clark to have used in writing their song. Same loping tempo, driven by similar sounding guitar parts, and capped by those "Aow yeah's" in the choruses. (I'm tempted to make comparisons to Frankie Avalon's 'Potato Bug' from Bikini Beach.)

 

Anna:

"Go to Him" - Die Rattles
Single; 1966

No, of course, "Die" doesn't mean "die"; it's German for "the" (as Sideshow Bob could tell you). "Die" Rattles were Germany's answer to the Beatles; and one of the recent reissues on Bear Family has a terrific booklet, which contains lots of stills from their (1966?) film "Hurra! Die Rattles Kommen!" -- apparently their "Hard Day's Night." Showcasing the famous wacky German sense of humor.

Anyway, all that aside, this song does not come from that Bear Family collection; It's from a "Star-Club Records" LP of their greatest hits. Among the (really hot, by the way) Merseybeat rockers, there was this gem, which reworks the "If he loves you more"-themed lyric from "Anna" and sets it to a similar piece of low-key music...and adds that heavy, European "Tee Set" kind of sound for good measure. Anyway, just looking at the title shows you the similarity of the choruses of the two songs.

This is also the first example of another interesting phenomenon that we'll see quite a bit of as we go along: Copies of covers. "Anna" was an Arthur Alexander song, not Lennon-McCartney, but everything they did was considered such gold that it all became worthy of imitation. Of course, whether a group is copying the Beatles' version of a song they didn't even write would seem to be an even harder case to make, but you might be surprised...

 

Chains:

"Swingin' Thames" (We Got Something Goin') - The Buggs
The Beetle Beat; 1964
We Love You Buggs! Stamp Out The Buggs! Like the Manchesters mentioned earlier, the Liverpoools mentioned later and a bunch of others perhaps better not mentioned at all, the Buggs were one of the many shameless Beatles-exploitation bands which sprang up in America in 1964, trying to cash in on Beatlemania. Or maybe more accurately, record labels who were trying to cash in on Beatlemania. The bands themselves consisted of real nobodies -- not even session musicians, I shouldn't think; heck, that would mean paying someone, maybe even getting a quality product! Not on Wyncote
Records, my friend. (Even if the music was "Recorded in England," as the Buggs album purported to be.) My guess is they'd find some hopeless bar band, get them to do a couple of Beatles songs, and then fill up the rest of the record with...something, anything. And the rest of the album may or may not bear any resemblance to the Beatles. Some of those 'originals' weren't half bad, (like the Liverpools' or Buggs' stuff) but in other cases it was just unlistenable dreck. Create an album package with a half-silhouette photo of the band, and hope that the kids (or Grannies buying something for the grandkids) would pick it up, mistaking it for the real thing. I guess that hasn't changed over the years; go to any street vendor in New York.

Anyway, I don't know how many satisfied customers there could have been for these albums at the time, but nowadays they sound pretty great! It's also interesting to listen to these bands and try to discern what kind of music they were doing before they got their "big break."

The Buggs pulled the shtick off pretty well; their orginals may have had titles like "Big Ben Hop," "Mersey Mercy," and "Liverpool Drag" but buried under those instrumental-sounding names are some decent Beatles derivatives, like this one. And this is what I was talking about in the previous song; pretty obviously a copy of a Beatles version of a cover. Well, it is the Buggs, after all -- but that's partly the point; knowing who's doing the song. That swingin' beat could only be "Chains," although they manage to mix in a "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" hook, and the bridge threatens to wander off into "I Want To Hold Your Hand..."

Swingin' Thames.mp3

 

Boys:

"Anytime" - Meteors
B-side to Make Me Happy; 1965
The Meteors, from Copenhagen, and erstwhile backing band for Scotsman Jimmy Scott. This frantic Merseybeat rocker uses a “Bop-shoobop-shoobop-shoobop” backing vocal to put it right in “Boys”-town.

"Can't Get Your Lovin'" - The Count Five
Psychotic Reaction; 1966
Were these guys copying "Boys?" More specifically, the Beatles' version of Boys? Obviously, with the Count Five the Yardbirds would come more to mind, but this song sticks out from the rest of the Psychotic Reaction album as being pretty Beatle-esque, especially in the chorus, with its "Yeah yeah boys"-style group vocals.

 

"Hanky Panky" - Tommy James and the Shondells
Hanky Panky; 1966
Hmmm, have to re-assess. This seemed like it might be a deceptively good fit, both of these being 12-bar blues based songs with the same 3-note melody. And this being the hit that started Tommy James' career in 1966, it seemed reasonable to infer a Beatles effect. But he recorded the song in 1964...which might still be okay, only this is a Barry-Greenwich song, which they recorded with their group the Raindrops in 1963. Well... maybe they heard the Please Please Me album before the Beatles hit in America...but this is starting to get pretty hard to rationalize, especially since "Boys" wasn't even a Lennon-McCartney tune. (Not "McCartney-Lennon," either, Paul.) This would just seem to be from the same school as the original "Boys" by the Shirelles. Guess we'd have to wait a while longer for the Beatles to start showing up in Tommy James' work. Next.

 

Ask Me Why:

"Never Mind" - The Liverpools
Beatlemania! In The U.S.A.; 1964
Here we have another 'ripoff' band -- for my money, the best of the genre; their album Beatlemania! In the U.S.A. has several good orginals, although one of them, "Hey, Quiet Down There!" seems to owe as much to teen movies like The Monkey's Uncle as to the Beatles.

Given the Liverpools' M.O., "Ask Me Why" seems the mostly likely model for "Mann-Straigis" (the Lennon-McCartney of the group, presumably). I'd still rate the Lennon-McCartney song a little more highly, though.

Never Mind.mp3

 

Please Please Me:

"She Goes Out With Everybody" - The SpongeTones (www.spongetones.com)
Beat Music, 1982; Beat & Torn CD
Hooray for the SpongeTones! Here we get to a band of more recent vintage; South Carolina's SpongeTones have been around since about 198...1? Anyway, they pulled off one of the best Beatles simulations ever. These days they're not so much of a "Beatlemania" band, but work in their influences in a more Raspberries-like way -- do check 'em out at their website listed above. Discovering the SpongeTones was one of the events that put the whole idea for this thing into my head in the first place.

"She Goes Out With Everybody" utilizes the same descending melody as "Please Please Me," and has that machine-gun drum riff, too. Production-wise, this sounds a lot tougher than the original, but it's probably the way the Beatles would have sounded if they'd recorded theirs in 1982 instead of 1963.

 

"Any Other Girl" - Bobby Vee
Bobby Vee Sings The New Sound From England!; 1964
"...New Sound From England" comes off as a rather odd album. It seems to be an overt bid by a once major artist whose time is passing to keep from being left behind by the new wave. (Kind of like those stories about silent picture stars who couldn’t make the transistion to talkies.) And the liner notes totally rationalize the approach, making the case that it wasn’t just new artists who dug the new sound, but that Bobby had been developing his own version of the style, so he was already doing it anyway. Mm hmm. Don’t get me wrong, though, I like a lot of Bobby Vee’s stuff. But this album really makes you want to know more about the backstory -- how much of this was Bobby’s idea (the liner notes are unattributed) and how much was Snuff Garrett’s, or the record company’s. The front cover just has your standard Bobby Vee headshot next to a picture of the Thames, while the back has a picture of Bobby in silhouette, wearing a black turtleneck and -- possibly -- with his hair brushed down across the brow, in a pseudo-Beatle cut..?

The music sounds to me like well played Buggs or Liverpools -- the recording and performances sound great, but the songs have a real “Mann-Straigis” feel to them. All the Beatle motifs are there, with the heavy guitars, harmonies and lots of silly sounding, “Whoooo’s” and melodically speaking are just shameless rips of Beatle tunes. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that as far as I’m concerned!) However, a few of the songs sound like they predate any Beatles influence, and were just spruced up with a few “Whooo’s” to make them fit the new style. For example, “Take A Walk, Johnny” sounds like it was turned into a “Beatl-y” song simply by plugging in a bit of “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” when it gets to the end of the verse and repeats the “Cause you’re mad, cause you’re mad, cause you’re maaaaaaad........” Overall, very interesting, and very entertaining.

Anyway, “Any Other Girl” takes the opening motif from “Please Please Me” and uses it as the basis for the bulk of the song. No “Whooo’s” on this one, though.

 

"Please Please Girl" - The Flamin' Groovies
Shake Some Action; 1976
Another take, from another time (1968) and another place (San Francisco). Even by 1968 this was a "retro" sound -- which actually was the basis for the Groovies' entire approach. So many great '60s rewrites from those guys, like their "Jumpin' in the Night" album, or Teenage Head (their Beggar's Banquet.)

"Please Please Girl" combines the "Please Please Me" lyric -- and title, obviously -- with the wild bongo sound of "A Hard Day's Night."

 

"You Came Walking" - The Golliwogs
Single, Recorded January 1965
The Golliwogs (pre-Creedence Clearwater Revival) were just another hard workin' American band trying to do what everybody else was trying to do. Before they latched onto their "Bayou" style, John Fogerty was working from a palette of R&B, soul, pop...and Beatles. They did several Beatles cops; this one makes a chorus out of the verse melody of Please Please Me. Plus, the guitar breaks in the verses give a nod to the 'Yeah Yeah Yeahs' of "She Loves You." You can find this song along with all the Golliwogs stuff on the Creedence Box Set. Or on the Golliwogs' LP, if you want to dig around for it.

 

Love Me Do:

"My Sharona" - The Knack
Get The Knack, 1979

All right, I'll bite the bullet here; this actually works, darn it. So that's where that addictive bonehead beat comes from. "Love Me Do" had such a boom-chick rhythm (straight out of Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat"), almost an "Oom-pah-pah," and "My Sharona" dumbs it down still further, dispensing with the swing element, eliminating the chord changes and basing the song on a one-note riff, alternating between octaves. This being 1979, though, they get quite more elaborate in the bridge than the Beatles did.

 

"Please Don't Fight It" - The Knickerbockers
Lies; Feb. 1966
Takes the main chorus hook of "Love Me Do" and turns it into the "Please-please-please-don't fight it" of the verse. The Knickerbockers, famed of course for "Lies," one of the most famous Beatles imitations of all time, did pastiches of a bunch of other people, too -- the Byrds, the Righteous Brothers, even a little Rolling Stones. But in 1966, nobody (except the Dave Clark Five) was using saxophones. That's like, dead, man.

 

P.S. I Love You:

"Please Let Me Love You" - The Beefeaters (aka The Byrds)
Single; 1964
Another from their "Preflyte" days. Similar to "P.S. I Love You" in the rhythmic feel - that sidestick thing - and it's got more of those "Aow Yeahs," too - which give it that Beatles stamp. (Then there's Gene Clark's "Please lut me..." and "when I kess you" pronunciation. You wouldn't have thought he was a Kiwi, would ya?)

"P.S. I Love You" was, according to Paul, the Beatles' attempt to do "Soldier Boy," so there ya go -- everybody does "rewrites." And George Harrison , in defense of "My Sweet Lord," said that every Beatles song was a rewrite of something else. ("So how come John and Paul aren't getting sued?" was his subtext, I presume.)

Side note: At the time, there were many people (Bob Dylan, for one) who thought that the line from "I Want To Hold Your Hand" went "It's such a feeling that, my love, I get high, I get high." Interesting to note that "Please Let Me Love You" makes a reference to feeling "high" -- as did Stephen Stills' "Sit Down I Think I Love You" -- which I suspect wouldn't have happened if the Beatles hadn't "validated" it...which they hadn't, actually.

 

"She Got Body, She Got Soul" - Split Enz
Frenzy; 1979
Check the melody of the bridge, in the otherwise Kinks-ish, music-hall piano rocker.

 

Baby, It's You:

"What'cha Gonna Do About It" - The Hollies
The Hollies (EP); January 1964
Well, bah. If this had actually been written by the Hollies, I'd have said it was a likely matchup, since there's a strong resemblance between the two songs. But it was written by Doris Troy (Payne) and Gregory Carroll, who also wrote "Just One Look" at around the same time, in 1963. It certainly works as a soundalike for "Baby It's You," and who knows, maybe it was influenced by that song, but it's harder to infer a connection to the Beatles or their version of it. Theirs came out in January of 1963; "Whatcha Gonna Do 'Bout It" was recorded by Doris as a demo, along with "Just One Look" in 1963; don't know the exact recording date at the moment, but "Just One Look" was a hit in July of that year, and it would seem that both it and "Whatcha Gonna Do" were probably recorded after the Please Please Me album came out. But of course, that was in England, not America. And it just doesn't seem all that likely that Doris Troy would have been influenced by a band who, though they may have been huge in England in 1963, didn't mean bupkis to anybody in the U.S. at the time. So, difficult to infer a Beatles connection. That's one of the problems with finding matches for these pesky R&B covers the Beatles did.

Doris Troy, by the way, would go on to find notable success in England, as a featured backup singer on many '60s and '70s rock records (like "You Can't Always Get What You Want" and "Dark Side of the Moon"), and was even signed to Apple Records, under George Harrison's tutelage for awhile. But that wouldn't come until much later than this.

 

"My Sin Is My Pride" - The Astronauts
Go...Go...Go.!!!
; March 1965
This is more like it. An original song by an American group; a Colorado surf band who had been around since before the British invasion, now caught up in the popular changeover from surf to Beatles music, and reacting to it. Hey, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em...

 

Do You Want To Know a Secret:

"All I Want Is You" - The Swinging Blue Jeans
Blue Jeans a Swinging; October 1964

Okay, it's hard to put my finger on exactly what the musical similarities are here -- but something about this really feels right. The one specific thing I can point to is the little descending chord sequence ("Say you love me too") which recalls "Secret's" "Doo-dah-doo" pattern. But more generally, the midtempo rhythm and George-like vocals are what really bring this home for me. Haven't been able to determine very much about the writing of the song - it's credited to "Chilton-Ireland," about whom I know nowt. Not members of the band, and not Alex Chilton either, I'm thinking.

The Blue Jeans were true peers of the Beatles; formed as a skiffle band in Liverpool in 1959, hardened in the crucible of Hamburg in the early '60s, they were up at the top of the Liverpool heap until the Beatles left everybody behind in 1963. Not sure what their early look was (they say the jeans actually came later), but at the time of this album at least, they had the Brian Epstein-approved suits, and heel-tapping poses that accentuated the John-and-George good looks of Ray Ennis and Ralph Ellis, their two guitarists. Not a bad thing to flaunt if you've got it.

 

A Taste of Honey:

"Say That You're Mine" - The Easybeats
Easy; 1965
Okay, no doubts as to what the Easybeats were about, either. Take "A Taste of Honey," speed it up, add a bunch of punk attitude, and this is what you get. Although nominally Australian, most of the Easybeats were actually from England, where they'd gotten exposure to the real stuff, so knew whereof they spoke.

 

There's A Place:

"Whenever I'm Feelin' Low" - The Liverpools
Beatlemania! In The U.S.A.; 1964
Right, back to the Liverpools. You know, they did some quite decent stuff, considering -- and what is cool is that they did copies of the album cuts, not just the big hits. This song fits in lots of ways, including the lyric, although it's not quite as introspective as John's. (Actually, maybe it is. I mean, they were trying...)

Whenever I'm Feelin' Low.mp3

 

Twist And Shout:

"No Time To Lose" - The Dave Clark Five
Glad All Over; 1964
This is really a perfect match; too perfect, to tell the truth. I prefer the ones where they put some effort into the rewriting -- the music here is an exact lift, and even the vocals have the same call-and-response motif, "feel so fine" lyrics, and the same "Ahh-ahh-ahh-ahh" buildup.

 

"Oh What A Night" - Billy Joe Royal
Down In The Boondocks; 1965
And then there are songs whose key feature is the big vocal climax of ‘Twist and Shout.’ That’s in the Isley Brothers’ original of course, but, also of course, after 1964 that’s more of an iconic Beatles moment, and it’s not coincidental that this this is post-Beatles.

Joe South and Billy Joe were good buds; Joe was also Billy Joe’s producer. And there are several Joe South songs and productions which will crop up on this list. This song was actually an old Dells number from 1956, but redone here in a Merseybeat style. Handclaps, 4/4 beat and the vocal crescendo make it a combination of old doo-wop, "Twist and Shout" and "I Want To Hold Your Hand." Smarty Alecks.

"I’m A Lucky Guy" - Bobby Fuller Four
KRLA King of the Wheels; 1965
This was one of the few covers on Bobby Fuller’s first album and was written by Russell Brown, Raymond Bloodworth and Neval Nader, whose collective credits would later include “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” and “Knock Three Times.” So it gives creedence to the story that Bobby hated having to do this song.

 

"Number One" - The Rutles
The Rutles; 1978
God Bless the Rutles! (And God Save Neil Innes!) This whole project might well not exist if not for the Rutles. And how many "Let's Be The Rutles" bands might there be out there? (Now, there's an idea...) I had the great pleasure of meeting Neil himself recently, if briefly, and we agreed that "Rutlization" should be a word in the dictionary. (Well, Neil said it. I agreed.)

Anyway, this song, like the group itself, requires no explanation. That's my "rutionale."

 

Singles:

From Me To You:

"That's The Way It Goes" - The Shadows
Dance With The Shadows; April 1964
Like the Astronauts, here's a guitar band (the guitar band, if you were English -- for Americans, it was the Ventures) reacting to the Beatles onslaught. The chords and melody are a take on Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy," but with very Beatl-esque group vocals, including a reworking of the "Da-da-dum-da-da-dum-dum-dum" intro. Also includes the obligatory falsetto in the bridge.

 

"I’ll Make You Mine" - Bobby Vee
Bobby Vee Sings The New Sound From England!; 1964
Another variation on the “Da-da-dum..." vocal intro. Mix in some archetypical Bobby Vee self-harmonies, add “Whooo’s” to taste.

 

Thank You Girl:

"Thinking" - Los Shakers
Los Shakers; June 1965
Long Live the Shakers! If you don't have it already, drop whatever you're doing and buy "Por Favor!" this very minute. (It's on Big Beat/Ace Records.) Now, Uruguay is not the first place you'd think to look for Beatles soundalikes, but in many cases, the further you get geograhically from the source, the richer the rewards. The Shakers were another band who sprang up in 1964 or '65 and closely mirrored the Beatles' stuff almost as soon as it came out. And they recycled the Beatles more effectively and accurately than anybody else. Period. (They even had some "rivals" in Los Mockers, who played Rolling Stones to the Shakers' Beatles.)

Discovering the Shakers really is like finding "lost" Beatles songs from the 1964-66 period. And they looked like the Beatles, too -- only they all look like Ringo. And their heavy accents and fractured English ("No left hope for you and me") only enhance the effect, somehow. As with the Rutles and SpongeTones, this collection may well not have come about without the Shakers.

"Thinking" likes somewhere in between "Thank You Girl" (the rhythmic flow) and "Not a Second Time" (the heavy George Martin-piano solo.) Come to think of it, the lyric splits it right down the middle, too: No longer at the stage of wanting to thank the girl ("I thought that your love was true"), but not at the point of dumping her, either ("I don't want to think [on that] again" - something like that, anyway. It can be a little hard to tell with the Shakers.)

 

She Loves You:

"Yeah Yeah Yeah" - The Minders (www.theminders.com)
Hooray For Tuesday; 1998
Now we go to a very different part of the spectrum -- the Minders are a present day group of course, so what with being 35 years away from "She Loves You," you're going to wind up with a very different animal than something created in 1964. Which is the whole style of the Minders and bands like them, naturally; obviously there are other musical and sonic influences in there besides the Beatles -- but just wait 'til it it gets to the chorus! The "Yeah Yeah Yeah" chorus of "She Loves You" completely defined rock and roll music (and youth culture) back in those days, and that descending 3-note line got a lot of mileage, too; it's lifted here with great flair. "Yeah Yeah Yeah" also has one of those upfront, chunky George Harrison guitar solos, too.

 

"All of My Life" - The Bee Gees
B-side to Monday's Rain; May 1966
This is really a mix of several Beatles songs from this era -- but it's got that same distincitve guitar hook from "She Loves You" in its chorus, too, plus it ends on the same extended vocal chord (vocal chord?) I mean, the chord the voices make here ("All of My Liiiiiiiife") is basically the same thing musically as the "Yeah Yeah Yeah, Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah" at the end of "She Loves You." Be sure to pick up the complete collection of the Bee Gees' early stuff, Brilliant From Birth on (Australia's) Festival Records label.

 

"It's Too Bad" - The Jam
All Mod Cons; 1978
Similar to the Minders in the sense that it came way after the fact -- 20 years as opposed to 35 -- and so is informed by a lot of other influences, but Paul Weller had a whole different set of axes to grind (mostly from Pete Townshend's closet) and the Beatles reference is somewhat out of character from the rest of their catalog...obviously, they'd be a prime candidate for a "Let's Be The Who" collection. Anyway, just listen to the chorus, where you've got your "Yeah Yeah Yeah" hook as a guitar lick. (Did I mention the mileage that people have gotten out of those 3 notes?)

 

"Big Ben Hop" (Sassy Sue) - The Buggs
The Beetle Beat; 1964
"Sassy Sue, yeah yeah yeah, I Love You, yeah yeah yeah, Sassy Sue, yeah yeah yeah -- I know you really love me too-OOOH!"

Big Ben Hop.mp3

 

I'll Get You:

"Back To You" - Bartock & Lansky
Demo Recording; 1982

This was a real find; taped from Rodney Bingenheimer's KROQ show back in about 1986, at the height of the Paisley revolution. For years all I knew about these guys was that they were from San Diego -- or so said Rodney, but he also identified them as "Bartok Lanski," which just seemed baffling. But recently it was pointed out to me the likely correct name for the band, and that led me to the name Craig Bartock, who nowadays produces and plays lead guitar with the latest incarnation of Heart. Apparently he's also recording a solo album (see www.craigbartock.com) so it seems there may be some more Beatle-ish music for us to check out before long.

In addition to having the same Mashed Potato rhythm (Mashed Potato rhythm, it's driving me mad...) and handclaps of "I'll Get You," "Back To You" also gives something of a nod to it just with its title. And for enhanced Beatle effect, there's a Lennon-esque harmonica solo, a "Twist and Shout" drum-fill ending and a "Hard Day's Night" opening chord.

It was such blind luck that I would have heard it (it was their demo tape that Rodney played just one time, as far as I know) and it can't help but make me rue all those other little lost gems out there that I'll never even know about. This is why it's extremely important for me to hear every record ever recorded...

 

I Want To Hold Your Hand:

"Ride The Wild Surf" - Jan & Dean
Ride The Wild Surf; Recorded Feb. 16, 1964
“Hold Your Hand’s” piledriver ending and the bridge, too, linked with the “Twist and Shout” vocal climax. This Jan Berry-Roger Christian-Brian Wilson number was written and recorded before the Beatles had even left the country on their first U.S. visit.

 

"Why Don't You Set Me Free" - The Liverpool Kids
Beattle Mash; 1964
Okay, this is pretty much just a straight rip. Different lyrics, but musically everything is virtually identical. Still, it's a larf, although the Liverpool Kids were just godawful. (Only The Beats were worse.) Incidentally, the album cover says "Liverpool Kids," while the disc says "The Schoolboys." Maybe all these bands really were just the same bunch of guys.

Why Don't You Set Me Free.mp3

 

"Kiss Me Now" - The Rajahs
Single; March 1964
Australian band, whose lead singer Nosmo King was supposedly named after a sign in a railway car. Not hard to find the chorus melody of "Hold Your Hand" here.

 

"I Just Want To Touch You" - Utopia
Deface The Music; 1979
Back in Rutl-esque territory here, in terms of approach. In fact, this album came out only a couple of years after the Rutles, but it suffered from some bad timing in that shortly its release, John Lennon was shot...not the best time to market a Beatles-parody album. But that's baseball. Anyway, there's a great video they did for this song -- they turn the Beatles phenomenon on its head by portraying themselves as a band on an English pop music show where they're introduced by the host (it looks like...Andy Gibb?) as, "The band who started the American Invasion." That Todd Rundgren is a card.

This Boy:

"I Miss You" - The Dave Clark Five
B-side to At The Scene; January 7, 1966
This is another one that might escape notice and seem like just one more typical ballad from the era, just like everybody else did -- waltz beat, diminshed chords, "lost love" lyric; but wait! That guitar hook! It's straight from "This Boy." Busted.