It Won't Be Long:

"She’s Sorry" - Bobby Vee
Bobby Bee Sings The New Sound From England!; 1964

We spoke at length about Bobby Vee on the Please Please Me page, so not a lot more needs to be said here. “She’s Sorry” uses the call and response, “Yeah”; “Yeah"; “Yeah”; “Yeah" of “It Won’t Be Long,” and the “third person” lyrical approach that was so novel in "She Loves You"; the singer speaking on someone else’s behalf. And don’t forget to “Whooooo!”

 

"I'm In Love" - The Fourmost
Single, Nov. 15, 1963
Okay, this is a total ringer -- this is a Lennon-McCartney tune. Just worth noting the similarity between these two -- and it's not as if John and Paul never repeated themselves. In fact, maybe that's why they gave this away. The Fourmost were a Brian Epstein act, along with Cilla Black and Billy J. Kramer, et al, so that's no doubt how they wound up with a Lennon-McCartney song -- a couple, actually -- and George Martin as their producer, too. Well, sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't. But even though they won't make the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame, (which some might consider to be a plus, actually) these guys did have a fairly successful career throughout the 60's.

Still a pretty cool song, though; "The Songs Lennon and McCartney Gave Away" would make a great collection -- and, in fact, it does; it was an actual album, on EMI -- Lennon/McCartney songs you've never heard, that John and Paul wrote but gave to other people instead of recording themselves. Almost like finding a 'lost' Beatles album. (Almost -- it ain't the Beatles.)

 

"I Can't Stand It" - The Lolas
Silver Dollar Sunday; 2001

The Lolas are a present-day band, on the Jam label (www.jamrecordings.com) and they do really hot powerpop. The "It Won't Be Long" connection is its descending guitar riff. (Interestingly, another part of the melody resembles "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.") There are also many other Beatles touches in the Lolas' style, although they're considerably more amped up - as latter day Power Pop is wont to be.

 

All I've Got To Do:

"Did You Ever Get My Letter" - The Liverpools
Beatlemania! In The U.S.A.; 1964
A pretty impressive piece of work from the Liverpools. This has the same hesitation rhythm, the same C-to-A-minor chord progression, and a reworking of the melody, but still stands on its own. Perfect.

Did You Ever Get My Letter.mp3

"Yes It's True" - The Flamin' Groovies
Shake Some Action; 1976
Same musical similarities, only with considerably more gusto than either the Liverpools or the Beatles.

 

All My Loving:

"A Little Loving" - The Fourmost
Single; April 17, 1964
The title is just a little bit of a giveaway in this, the Fourmost's big hit. They distill the rhythm down to a more straightforward and conventional two-step. "All My Loving" was quite unique in its rhythmic arrangement -- even "Eight Days a Week" doesn't use those triplets; or as John put it, his "pretty mean rhythm guitar." Nobody would really get back to that motif until "Good Vibrations."

 

"Don't You Know" - The Hollies
In The Hollies Style; November 1964
Like the Fourmost song, this also has that simplified two-step rhythm, but it also has hints of the "All My Loving" melody in a couple of places.

 

"Hold My Hand" - The Rutles
The Rutles; 1978
Because of the comedic purposes for which this song was intended, it's a bit of a musical potpourri: The spoken bit from "Taxman," the inverted "Eight Days A Week" guitar intro, the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" lyric. But the rhythm and guitar solo are strictly "All My Loving."

Don't Bother Me:

"We're Through" - The Hollies
Single; September 1964
Okay: Minor key - check. Low conga-type drum - check. "Secret Agent Man" style melody - check. "Get lost" title and lyric - check. I'm satisfied.

 

"Don't Ask Me Love" - Los Shakers
Los Shakers; June 1965
The Beatles didn't do a lot of minor key songs, so any Beatle-y sounding song in a minor key has a lot fewer reference points to choose from. The offbeat latin rhythm of "Don't Bother Me" would be right up the Shakers' alley, their being ex-jazz musicians from Uruguay.

 

Little Child:

"You Movin'" - The Byrds
Demo Recording, 1964; Preflyte, 1969
Preflyte gives a good illustration of an artists' influences being revealed in their early works, as opposed to the more developed sound on their later, "real" albums. And with that hindsight, this song becomes clearer: The similarity of its chorus, as well as the fact that this is another song about watching the girls dance.

 

Till There Was You:

"I Would Be Happy" - The Beau Brummels
Introducing; April 1965
This hardly requires any explanation; it's a dead ringer -- verse and bridge. Ron Elliott just had a head full of Meet The Beatles and out this came. Someone's going to have to explaint to me what a love that's "more than real" could be, though.

 

Please Mr. Postman:

"Soldier of Love" - Marshall Crenshaw
Marshall Crenshaw; 1982
Okay, fudging a little bit again with this one. Both this and "Postman" are just R&B songs from the same era - one covered by Marshall Crenshaw, the other by the Beatles (well, both of them, actually). But this was a nice way for him to pay homage to his "Beatlemania!" roots.

 

Roll Over Beethoven:

"You Got Nothin' On Me" - The Golliwogs
Single; Recorded April 1965
Clearly a rewrite of “Roll Over Beethoven,” which makes it another cover of a cover, but given what we already know about what the Golliwogs were doing, it's pretty safe to say that we can thank the Beatles for this. As they did with many other American groups, the Beatles helped inspire Fogerty, et al, to look in their own back yard and rediscover their Chuck Berry roots. (The Beatles, then, would also be responsible for the Byrds doing the same thing and getting in way over their heads with their own attempt at "Roll Over Beethoven.")

 

"Blue Suede Schubert" - The Rutles
The Rutles (CD bonus track); 1990
Maybe there's another great match for the Beatles' version of Roll Over Beethoven (and I don't mean ELO's!), but if there is it couldn't be this funny. (Then there's Roy Wood's "Bend Over Beethoven, but that's another matter. Altogether.)

 

Hold Me Tight:

"Here I Go Again" - The Hollies
Single; May 1964
"Little Child" was John's "dancing" song; "Hold Me Tight" would be Paul's. "Here I Go Again" doesn't have that theme, but it shares the same kind of harmonies and rhythmic feel as "Hold Me Tight," with the archetypical 4/4 "Mersey" beat and insistent snaredrum subbing for the handclaps. Written for the Hollies by Mort Shuman, (as in songwriting team Pomus/Shuman i.e. Elvis Presley), and nicely in the 6-month-to-1-year gestation period after the Beatles song in question that so many of the songs in our collection seem to have.

 

"I Only Met You Just An Hour Ago " - The Golliwogs
Unissued; Recorded April 1965 (Fantasy Box Set)
Reiterates the "Tonight - tonight - tonight" er, reiteration. They wouldn't use the term so many times until "Hey Tonight." The same rhythm, although with surf beat leanings, and a lyric that seems to be about meeting someone at a dance. What are the chances.

 

You Really Got A Hold On Me:

"Troublemaker" - The Pleasers
Thamesbeat; 1977
Okay -- what we've said about the Hollies and other English bands who were the Beatles' contemporaries and peers? Not applicable to these guys. Phony as they come. Part of the "phony Beatlemania" the Clash were on about, presumably. Bands like this were an odd and delightful phenomenon: Fake-fake-Beatles bands who, unlike most present day Beatles tribute bands, did all original material, and based their careers on that. More challenging, if less lucrative. See also the Jet Set and the Direct Hits.

Anyway, this song takes the lead guitar, chord progression and lyrical theme from "You Really Got A Hold On Me," changes the rhythm around a bit and there you are. Midnight Records in New York has been known to sell the Pleasers' "Thamesbeat" CD at their website. (www.midnightrecords.com)

 

I Wanna Be Your Man:

"Women (Make You Feel Alright)" - The Easybeats
Single; January 13, 1966
One of the defining features of "I Wanna Be Your Man" is that goofy "wumba-wumba-wumba" rhythm sound from John's organ (pardon?) that I never heard anywhere else. (No, I never heard it at all.) "Women" dispenses with that and is more straightforward rhythmically, but the chorus is virtually identical to "Be Your Man"; you can sing the two right over the top of each other. Sometimes I wonder if the Easybeats did this kind of thing unconsciously, but having seen Harry Vanda speak in interviews occasionally, I get the impression that he for one was way too clever for that.

 

Devil In Her Heart:

"You Got That Way" - The Fourmost
Single; July 24, 1964
Back to the Fourmost again; this time it's a song written by one of the bandmembers, and as we've mentioned earlier, those always merit closer attention. It's got the same feel as "Devil," and even has the same kind of vocal arrangement -- group vocals in the chorus alternating with a kind of plain ("George" sounding, as it were) lead vocal -- but it's that "bdump-bdump-bdump" tom fill that really sells it.

 

Not a Second Time:

"I Am Thinking" - The Shakers
Los Shakers; June 1965
We already discussed this, under "Thank You Girl." But it also has that archetypical George Martin piano which is so prominent in "Not a Second Time," as well as a similar chord structure; it's easy to imagine either song segueing into the other -- especially right after the little drum fill each song has after its chorus. It's also worth noting that in discussing "Not a Second Time," John said, "I don't know what I was trying to do - I must have been trying to do something." I'd say the Shakers did it better here.

 

"All Of My Life" - The Bee Gees
B-side to Monday's Rain; May 1966
Okay, we already discussed this one too, because it sounds so much like "She Loves You," but it too lifts from "Not a Second Time." The rhythm is actually more on par here, and the melody seems closer, too. And in addition to generally sounding a lot like John Lennon in the first place, Barry Gibb also does the exact same little vocal lick in the coda with the the phrase "All of my li-i-i-i-i-i-ife" that John does with "Not a second ti-i-i-i-i-i-ime." (Are those the famous Aeolian cadences, perhaps?)

 

"Don't Tell Me No Lies" - The Golliwogs
Single; Recorded Mid-1964
Alright, whereas the Bee Gees' song used the end vamp of "Not a Second Time" as its own end vamp, John Fogerty uses it as the basis of the entire song, in the melody of the verses.

 

Money:

"Double Whammy" - Jack Bedient and the Chessmen
Single; 1965

This seems a pretty good fit; there’s lots of Merseybeat energy and group vocalizing, and with its rhythm, and bluesy edge, it sounds closest to “Money” of the Beatles songs -- if one were trying to, oh say, match it to a specific Beatles song. And I had thought that perhaps its rising riff owed something to "Money” as well -- but no, it seems. Kevin Woods, the guitarist for the band at the time, kindly wrote to me and told me the actual genesis: Jack Bedient wrote the song with Chessman Bill Britt (in the studio, on the day they recorded it, like all the best rock’n’roll songs) and wanted a driving guitar intro for it. What Kevin came up with was basically (or perhaps exactly) the riff from Johnny Faire’s “Bertha Lou.” And, by George, it really is the same. Oh well, bang goes that theory.

But examining the riff is an interesting sidetrack: “Bertha Lou” came out in December of 1957; compare it to Vince Taylor’s “Brand New Cadillac” from 1959 (the song later covered by the Clash), or “Peter Gunn,” from 1958 (which, inverted, can lead you to “Batman,” or, with the 1/8th notes taken out, gets you “Scrape Away” by the Jam.) Later, there would be Shocking Blue’s “Venus,” which is basically “Brand New Cadillac” on electric piano.

And then there’s “Money”; further removed from the others, but still a similar rising pattern, and it dates from right around the same time period (August of 1959, by Barrett Strong; it was written by Berry Gordy with Jonie Bradford, and was Motown’s first big hit). It’s twice as long a riff, it doesn’t have as much of the chugging 1/8th note rhythm, and it’s piano-based, so maybe it has a whole other lineage from these other guitar-driven riffs.* But you could say there’s a family resemblance -- a cousin, maybe. Although I don’t know about any cause and effect.**

So, okay, the riff doesn’t doesn’t tie this to “Money,” let alone the Beatles’ version. But there’s a clear British Invasion element, so this still seems to work well in this spot. While continuing to look for another match.

This was on Highs In The Mid Sixties Vol. 7 -- The Northwest (AIP Records - Bomp; www.bomp.com); according the liner notes, the band had once been from Washington, but Kevin told me that this song was recorded at Fantasy Studios in South San Francisco. Not Seattle, but still northwest of some parts of the country, I suppose.

* Interestingly, the Stones’ version of “Money” -- on guitar, naturally -- kind of pulls it back toward the others. And coincidentally, a generally Stonesy feel was what Kevin said he was trying to capture with the “Double Whammy” solo. I’m not exactly making my “Beatles” case here, am I.

** One example that illustrates how much latitude there is in this kind of speculation, er, analysis, is the fact that (as we will discuss under "Run For Your Life"), Marv Tarplin, Smokey Robinson’s guitarist, apparently came up with the riff to “Ain’t That Peculiar” by playing around with Bill Doggett’s “Honky Tonk” -- which shows how far you can get with an “influence,” because that would have to be a lot of playing around. Listen to "Honky Tonk" and it's pretty hard to hear it as being the source of “Ain’t That Peculiar."

"Long Tall Sally" EP:
June 19, 1964

Long Tall Sally:

"Jumpin' Jonah" - The Merseybeats
The Merseybeats; July 1964
I was 7 years old in 1964, and I never cared much for roots rock, even when the Beatles did it. Songs like "Long Tall Sally" and even "Twist And Shout" sounded too much like Elvis/Old-Time-Rock-And-Roll to me: Square, passe, for grown ups. You know, 12 year olds. And "Jumpin' Jonah" shows why -- quite a bit of yelling going on here. ("We didn't even rehearse it," says Johnny Gustafson in the liner notes to Bear Family's "I Think of You" compilation. Believe him.)

No brainwork is required to recognize this as "Long Tall Sally ," which was quite big amongst all the beat groups at the time. As far as fitting into the Beatles timeline, this just squeaks in under the wire -- but that might actually work in favor of confirming a connection: Gustafson describes this as a throwaway done for the album, which the record company was trying to knock out as quickly as they could, so it's quite plausible that the song was done in the time period immediately after the Beatles' EP came out, and was fresh in people's minds. So the Beatles probably bear some responsibility for it.

 

I Call Your Name:

“See Me Back” - The Merseybeats
B-side to "Last Night"; Oct. 1964
This has "I Call Your Name's" R&B feel, heavy piano bassline and chord changes, including the bridge and coda, which are virtual dead ringers. Another John Gustafson song, this came out 4 months after "I Call Your Name."

Now, to tell the truth, Gustafson specifically says in the liner notes of their Complete Recordings collection on Bear Family that his model was "You Can't Do That," and heaven forbid I should argue with the author of the song. Er, yes, but he's all wrong. That is, I think I disagree. In addition to the things mentioned above, there's also the fact that the cadence of the lyric (a few words, a pause, a few more) is the same as "I Call Your Name," not "You Can't Do That," with its constant flow of words. And then there are the repetitions at the end of the song...anyway, perhaps we can say that he "misspoke."

The Merseybeats would transmogrify into the Merseys, ("Sorrow") and in the '70s Billy Kinsley would go on to form Liverpool Express, (www.liverpoolexpress.com) who had some great Beatles copies of their own, as we shall see.

 

"Where Were You Last Night" - The SpongeTones
Beat Music; 1982
Great rewrite. And that 12-string sounds so nice. Major 7th chords, and driving cowbell, but really, this one also requires no explanation. However, the SpongeTones wisely 'expunged' (ba dum bum) the faux-"reggae" bridge in the original.

Slow Down:

"It's Alright" - The Kinks
B-side to "You Really Got Me"; Recorded July 1964
There's something very familiar about the feel of these two songs, in their tempo and vocal delivery, as well as the piano lines on which they're based. It might be a stretch to tie this Ray Davies song to the Beatles' cover of a Larry Williams shouter, but then again, maybe it isn't; as with "Jumping Jonah," the timing -- about a month later -- not only doesn't disqualify it, it could actually confirm it, since it could be another one "hot off the presses." Heaven forbid I should disagree with myself.

 

"Let's Dance" - The Pleasers
Thamesbeat; 1977
Another obvious one, but this is a cute idea (from Tommy Boyce, their producer) -- amping up "Let's Dance" and melding it with "Slow Down."

 

Matchbox:

"Boston" - The Byrds
Demo Recording; Autumn 1964; Preflyte; 1969
Maybe I mentioned the Kinks song in order to contrast it with this. I don't really know what all of Ray Davies' influences were (although he sure had 'em) but the Byrds were a bunch of folkies trying to learn to play rock'n'roll, so any Carl Perkins or Chuck Berry influences seem more likely to have come to them via the Beatles; it certainly wasn't in their own background as musicians. So even though this one is another copy of a cover (and also bears more than a passing resemblance to "Memphis"), it would have been the Beatles who took them there.