Friday, 26 February 2010

The Please Please Me Cover Versions

What stands out from the collection of covers on Please Please Me is how little motivation the Beatles got from their cotemporaries to be great writers. In 1962 Bacharach and the other tin Pan Alley/Brill Building composers were writing little more than standard doo-wop numbers like Baby, It’s You, Motown’s ‘golden period’(’64-’69) was still a few years off, Dylan was knocking out folk covers and Brian Wilson was just a three chord surf bum. Songs like Anna (Go To Him) and Chains give no inspiration to rise above the most basic level.

The other thing apparent is what a hard rocking live band they must have been. Boys and Twist And Shout have an energy and drive that is remarkable.

Ronald still hadn't plucked up the courage to tell Clay he wasn't a natural born Isley Brother...

The Isley Brothers' song Twist And Shout is probably the best known Beatle cover and rightly so. Tight as an Emo’s jeans, raw, raucous and recorded live in one take (as was Ringo's feature Boys). The song is notable also for the iconic ending, the ascending chromatic triplets finishing with a ringing D9 chord on the 3rd beat of the bar.

Tickets To Write

Ticket 18 - We've already noted the Beatles habit of finishing on a single ringing chord. The preceeding ascending (chromatic) triplets also appear elsewhere so I'm calling them Ticket 20. A cool end but taken all together such a well known Beatlesism that it might be hard for anyone else to get away with using it.

(And the ending IS a Beatles creation - the Isley Brothers' single fades out).


  1. Can anyone advise me on how to say Isley?

    Is it IZZ lee

    or AISLE -ee?

    Can you please, ple - ase he -lp me?

  2. David,

    if there's anything that you want (or indeed) if there's anything that you need, just call on me and I'll send it along

    It's "eyes - lee"

  3. Question: how do you count in Twist and Shout? It's 4/4, with a 3 note lead in. If you were counting the lead in as 1-and-2-and etc, the notes would fall on -and-4-and. So would you count out "1-2-3" then start playing?

    1. Exactly what you said Jim. Sorry it's took me so long to reply!

  4. I really actually like "chains". I liked how they improved the guitar riffs from the original one where I found the original one to be quite boring. Oh and the flat seventh that ends the verse before the bridge begins, can only be heard on The Beatles version! There is no flat seventh on The Cookies version. Also you can hear slight fuzz effects on the guitars in the Beatles version!