Potboiling

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In the two short years since “Love Me Do” The Beatles had recorded four LPs, eight singles, an EP of otherwise unavailable material, made a film, toured North America, Australasia, Europe and the UK (several times), appeared nearly 50 times in the BBC radio and dozens of TV shows, not to mention all the interviews, press conferences, photo calls and other promotional duties. It’s no wonder then that by “Beatles For Sale” LP
the Lennon/McCartney giveaway numbers were becoming increasingly rare. A couple of tracks of interest exist.

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Johnny Devlin was apparently the first artist to record “real” rock and roll in New Zealand, earning the local nick name of “the King of Rock and Roll” in the late 1950’s. He and his group the Devils were also one of The Beatles’ supporting acts during the group’s tour of Australia and New Zealand. In scenes reminiscent of “I’ve Just Fallen For Someone” (see below), Devlin says he performed his new song “Won’t You Be My Baby” to Paul McCartney who immediately grabbed a guitar and reshaped to song into something entirely different. He “should have got a credit.” Needless to say, he didn’t so the credibility of the story is open to question. It’s a most pleasing record, with it’s mixture of Devlin’s Elvis styled vocals and the Devils’ Shadows inspired guitars although it must have sounded outdated when released in Januray 1965. (Curiously the record sounds like it could have been a hit in Finland where such combinations were very much loved then and indeed now!) The song does not seem to have been released on an official CD and even the original single pressing rarely turns up in auctions. I was lucky enough to secure a copy (and for a reasonable price too!) on eBay.

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The only true giveaway from this era is “I Don’t Want To See You Again” as recorded by Peter and Gordon. Peter says he had to use all of his persuasive skills to get this exclusive from Paul and it’s not difficult to see why. The group were seriously short of songs for their new LP, returning to the “six cover versions” formula of their first two LPs and even updating “I’ll Follow The Sun” from their days as Quarry Men. What’s more, “I Don’t Want To See You Again” would have fit “Beatles For Sale” perfectly with it’s C&W overtones, effortless melodicism and the general air of melancholia.Thus Paul must have been disheartened to see the single become a total flop in the UK. Determined to make it a hit in America he went to record special introductions for the American stations to go along with the single. It worked and the result was a reasonable chart placing of 16. But what would I not give to hear Paul and John harmonize the song’s middle section…

Peter and Gordon’s version (with Paul’s intro and outro) are available on the EMI CD discussed earlier.

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Published in: on June 29, 2007 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

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