(John Lennon/Paul McCartney)
John Lennon predominantly wrote this song as a waltz
rather than the later upbeat version with a possible input by Paul
McCartney on the middle eight.
He based it on the 1957 song “Silhouettes” by Bob Crewe, which was
recorded by the New York group The Rays. John Lennon said it was his own version of the song and his
music publisher, Dick James, described it as his “first complete song” as
it told a story from beginning to end.
It has been said that the song was originally pencilled
in for A Hard Day’s Night, but wasn’t included due to it’s darker side. It was then made into a demo on 3rd
June by The Beatles, but without Ringo who was suffering from tonsillitis at
the time. It’s been thought that
it may have been Jimmy Nicol on drums instead, although that’s not certain. The song from this demo was meant for
Tommy Quickly who was a singer that Brian Epstein also looked after, but John
Lennon decided he liked the sound of it and withdrew it so that The Beatles
could use it instead.
The group recorded it again on 30th September
1964, this time with Ringo Starr on drums and George Martin on piano, and eight
takes were recorded. A couple
of them had John and Paul adding comic lines, the fifth one had an extra
bridge which added a minute to the playing time and the second one was
later released on their Anthology 1.
It appeared as the first track on the UK album Beatles
For Sale and was later released in April 1965 on the Beatles for
Sale EP. It also appeared as
the first track on the US album released Beatles ’65.
The actress Sandy Dennis insisted the song was written
about her and even attempted to claim royalties for it.
Stars on 45 later covered the song on their 1981 chart-topping
Stars on 45 recordings
“Venus” – Sugar Sugar – No Reply – I’ll Be Back – Drive My Car – Do You
Want to Know a Secret – We Can Work it Out – I Should Have Known Better –
Nowhere Man – You’re Going to Lose That Girl – Stars on 45 (Jeff Barry/Martin
Duiser/Jaap Eggermont/Andy Kim/Robbie van Leeuwen/John Lennon/Paul