Friday, September 30, 2011

Original Thoughts

September 29, 1961

The Beatles play a new venue today, Knotty Ash Village Hall, a concert organized by Pete Best's mother, Mona.  It's their last performance before John and Paul uncharacteristically take off for two weeks in Paris, leaving the other band members and local promoters in the lurch. 

The Beatles now are almost exclusively a band that covers music written and performed by other artists.  Their main occupation is performing popular music for the jive shows in Liverpool, where their audience would meet, dance and socialize.  However, members of the band had penned a few of their own songs by this time and some of them made their way into the repertoire.  One gets the impression they see it as a side bar to the real job, recreating the music that their listeners were already familiar with.

The really interesting thing about these very early songs is that, while they are not up to the standard of sophistication that Lennon and McCartney (mostly) would soon achieve, they have a certain undefinable something that sets them apart from the ordinary.  It's as if we are seeing the embryo of some newly discovered extraterrestrial creature and wondering what will it look like as an adult.

Some of the earliest songs that are being played live now, but recorded later are:
   Hold Me Tight (McCartney 1961)
   Love Me Do (McCartney 1958)
   I'll Follow the Sun (McCartney 1960)
   One After 909 (Lennon 1957?)

There are also songs that are sometimes toyed with by the Beatles later in the studio, but which are never commercially released by them.  Sometimes these are later recorded by other artists, but for now they form part of the Beatles set list.
   Hello Little Girl  (Lennon 1957 - the surprise in the wrap up to this song is especially prophetic)
   Love of the Loved (McCartney 1958?)
   Like Dreamers Do (McCartney 1957)
   I'll Be On My Way (McCartney)

Also, some early songs not know to be played live at this time:
   I Call Your Name (Lennon)
   In Spite of All the Danger (McCartney 1957)
   Cayenne (McCartney/Harrison 1960)
   Cry For a Shadow (Lennon/Harrison 1961)
   Like Dreamers Do (McCartney 1957)
   Winston's Walk (Lennon 1960?- in a fit of post-WWII patriotism, his mother chose Winston as John's middle name)

One thing that strikes me about these songs is the dominant influence of McCartney.  It seems likely that he is the precocious songwriter who first sees the potential of writing music as a vocation.  That is probably a reflection of his unshakeable self confidence, a trait that Lennon, down deep, is sorely lacking.  It might be that Paul is inadvertently "lighting a fire" under John and initiating the very fruitful competition that would become the most successful songwriting team of all time.  It is a theme that the partners would use again and again.  Paul discovering the new thing and John putting his unique and crucial spin on it.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for the youtube link you gave me! and your right, Paul seems to be the heart of all the...for lack of a better word...good songs. John was good as well but it seemed to be alot of paul.