Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Roll your own: Make a "Songs the Beatles Gave Away" compilation
John Lennon and Paul McCartney, you may be aware, wrote a lot of good songs. The most familiar of these, of course, they recorded themselves with the Beatles.
But early on in their careers, the duo was so prolific--and so successful--that they gave away dozens of their tunes to other artists.
Some of these songs were given to other groups represented by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, such Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Cilla Black and The Fourmost. Others were given away to friends, like Peter and Gordon (Peter Asher was the brother of Paul McCartney's girlfriend Jane Asher).
The sharing stopped, however, after 1964. From that point until the late 1960s, most Lennon-McCartney tunes were recorded by the Beatles alone.
But when the band started its Apple Records company in 1968, Lennon and McCartney once again started giving away songs in an effort to launch Apple acts such as Mary Hopkin and Badfinger.
Beatle George Harrison also gave away a few tunes around this time, including "Badge" to Cream and "Sour Milk Sea" to Apple act Jackie Lomax.
There have been a few legit and gray-area albums that compile these songs the Beatles wrote but didn't record themselves. The most recent I've spotted is this one, released late last year. It's a good selection, but incomplete.
I also recall seeing an Internet-distributed bootleg called "The Complete Songs the Beatles Gave Away," which not only included the tunes conventionally considered as give-aways, but also covers of Beatles tunes that individual Beatles performed on or produced, along with songs the Beatles gave away during their solo years, such as the various tunes Paul McCartney wrote with Elvis Costello in the early 1990s. It's a worthy set, to be sure, and you could probably easily hunt it down.
But if you want a collection of the most significant "gave away" songs from the Beatles era, it's easy enough to assemble one yourself--legally--by downloading the following:
Like Dreamers Do - The Applejacks
Come And Get It - Badfinger
Catcall - The Chris Barber Band
Bad To Me - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
From A Window - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
I'll Keep You Satisfied - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
I'll Be On My Way - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
I'm In Love - Billy J. Kramer with The Dakotas
It's For You - Cilla Black
Badge - Cream
I'm In Love - The Fourmost
Hello Little Girl - The Fourmost
My Dark Hour - Steve Miller Band
Nobody I Know - Peter and Gordon
Woman - Peter and Gordon
World Without Love - Peter and Gordon
I Don't Want To See You Again - Peter and Gordon
That Means A Lot - P.J. Proby
Tip Of My Tongue - Tommy Quickly
One And One Is Two - The Strangers with Mike Shannon
these tracks, which unfortunately aren't available via download, but are on CD--just click the title.
Best of Cilla Black
Love Of The Loved - Cilla Black
Step Inside Love - Cilla Black
Mary Hopkin Those Were the Days (import only)
Goodbye - Mary Hopkin
Jack Lomax Is This What You Want?
Sour Milk Sea - Jackie Lomax
A gallery of Beatles friends
Peter and Gordon