Featured Review
The 'Soundtrack' to The Novel 
curated by Andrew Tonkin

Pop Culture Expert  |  Writer  |  Rockin' L.A. Dee-Jay  Mr. Groove


One After 909 (outtake) - The Beatles

From a bootleg of the live Let It Be session atop the Savile Row offices of Apple…"What you doin?" "It's murder…I can't do it…I can't keep it up…I'm just going…bang, bang, bang…all the time." "Use yer plectrum!" "I haven't got one." "You should have, you know." "Well your stuff has been brought hours ago." "But the cases aren't even here yet…"



Rock Around The Clock - Bill Haley & The Comets

Rock 'n' roll began with Bill Haley for a lot people in Britain who didn't know any better. Bye…hey…it was rock 'n' roll…it was new…and Bill Haley actually toured England. Now there's a thought.



Jailhouse Rock - Elvis Presley

"It all began with Elvis." John Lennon said that. "No Elvis, no Beatles." And whichever early Elvis Presley record first turned you on—I'm betting that it still rocks your world. 



Hippy Hippy Shake (BBC) – The Beatles

From the treasure trove of BBC studio sessions. Chas Romero's original is fun—but The Beatles just rock it that much further with Paul on vocals.



Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Nothing even comes close to the effect this song had on the youth of Britain at the time. It became the accepted anthem—not just of rebellious youth—more the sign and sound that shouted out the news: "Hey! We're here and we're rockin' and we're here to stay. We're never going away. We're your tomorrow. This is our today." Any beat group that performed it—in any club or ballroom or village hall or cinema or holiday camp–the length and breadth of Britain—plugged everyone who was there into one another. It was electric. 



Summertime Blues – Eddie Cochran

One of the greatest rock 'n' roll songs ever by one of the greatest ever rockabilly rock 'n' rollers. Eddie looked so damn good. Sounded so damn good. More than held his own in the film The Girl Can't Help It—and that's saying something. And that orange Gretsch G6120 hollow-body guitar—no one had ever seen anything like it. That he died in a car crash—in England—on tour with Gene Vincent—broke the heart of every British rock 'n' roller. Those that love the song—Sam Leach is one—never ever tire of hearing it—it just never gets old. It's the sound of every summer. 



Searchin' – The Coasters

A Leiber and Stoller classic. And a secret code amongst beat groups and beat fans in Britain—way back then—both north and south. If you had it on your play list—you were deep down in the middle of the nitty-gritty—knew what it was all about—knew what you were talking about. I still have the sheet music—just knew I'd bring it on some day.



Boys – The Shirelles

The Shirelles—an American girl group—released Boys as the B-side to their 1961 hit: Will You Love Me Tomorrow. A favourite with Liverpool groups, The Beatles introduced the song to most everyone else in Britain, as Track 5 on the album Please, Please Me—with Ringo Starr on vocals. (Pete Best used to sing it for the band). Yet another example of how Merseybeat rocked way before the rest of the country.



Money – Barrett Strong 

The only song in the early Beatles' repertoire that could give Twist and Shout a run for its…well…money.



Rock 'n' Roll Music – Chuck Berry 

The great Chuck Berry—his singing, his songs, and his guitar playing a huge influence on The Beatles. This song from 1957—released on the Chess label. And yes…it does have a backbeat…and as long as you listen…and you get in the groove…you just can't lose it. A promise made way back then–that's still good today.



Long Tall Sally (BBC) – The Beatles

The Little Richard rock 'n' roll classic from 1956. In at No.55 on Rolling Stone's list of 'The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time'—covered by artists of all sizes and stripe—but Paul McCartney's rendition the only one that even gets close to the rockin' intensity of the original.



Heartbeat – Buddy Holly

Buddy Holly. My heart still misses a beat when I hear this 'three chords and a dream' masterpiece. Piddleypat. The great man and his backing group—The Crickets—even played Liverpool when on a tour of Britain. Legend has it that The Beatles name descends directly from Buddy and his band-mates—in heartfelt tribute. 



Like Dreamers Do (Decca Audition) – The Beatles

One of Paul McCartney's earliest song compositions. Recorded by The Beatles at the ill-fated test session at Decca's studio in West Hampstead, London, on 1 January 1961. Decca later turned the group down—but it was this 'original' song of Paul's that piqued the ear of a recording engineer at The HMV Record Store, on London's Oxford Street, when—in desperation—Brian Epstein went in to get the tapes from the session put onto 78rpm acetate discs so as to make it easier for him to play The Beatles to anyone who'd listen. It was the HMV store 'recording engineer' who suggested Brian pay a visit to Sid Colman, a music publisher, who just happened to have offices in the same building. It was Sid Colman, on hearing Like Dreamers Do, who then arranged for Brian Epstein to meet none other than George Martin. All of which, arguably, makes it one of the most important songs in the entire Beatles' catalogue.



Money (Live version) – The Beatles

The original by Barrett Strong is all fine and good and well worth the listen—but John Lennon made the song his own. After all, the song's sentiment was very close to his heart. And John's great rock 'n' roll voice—with Paul and George providing close harmony back-up—is something to treasure. As the Merseyside audiences certainly did whenever The Beatles set out to give them their money's worth.



Searchin' (Decca Audition) – The Beatles

I love it that Andrew Tonkin also thought to include The Beatles version of Searchin'—from the Decca Auditionon his soundtrack for The One After 9:09. It was one of the key songs in the group's repertoire—an audience favourite. So I'm sure they included it on the set list for the 'street cred' it would bring to the session. No doubt hoping the Londoners in charge of the audition would recognise its significance and respond accordingly. Then again—there are none so deaf as those who will not hear.



Please Mr Postman – The Beatles

American girl group—The Marvelettes—had a hit with this in the US for the Tamla-Motown label, late in 1961. The song was quickly repackaged around Merseyside by The Beatles and other Liverpool groups. The Beatles later covered it for With The Beatles—their second UK album. Ian Macdonald—writing years afterwards—thought The Beatles' delivery a bit flat, but I still remember the utter thrill of first hearing it on a bootleg tape recording at a school-mate's house, surrounded by all the other members of the school's first, fledgling rock group. 



Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins

You just have to hear the opening words 'One for the money; two of the show…" to think of Elvis. I always did. I'd heard the Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran versions—and loved them. Then a guitarist friend played me the original rockabilly recording by the guy who wrote it—the great Carl Perkins—and I became an eternal fan. The fact George Harrison felt the same way only makes it all the sweeter.



Johnny B. Goode (BBC) – The Beatles

"Just like ringing a bell" to one of Pavlov's dogs. Just to hear it is to want to rock 'n' roll. No.7 on Rolling Stone's list of 'The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time'—and deservedly so. One of Chuck Berry's greatest—and an all-time crowd favourite on The Beatles' early set list. This 'live' version from the 'Pop Go The Beatles' BBC Radio recordings. I saw the Rolling Stones play it a number of times when they were the resident Friday-night group at the Ricky Tick Club, over the Star and Garter pub, in Windsor. I can only imagine the excitement when The Beatles played it at The Cavern.



Dizzy Miss Lizzy (BBC) – The Beatles

This 1958 rocker by Larry William's was part of The Beatles' live set-list from their very early days and a staple for lots of Merseyside groups. First released by The Beatles on the Help! album—I prefer the earlier 'live' version—released much later—on the 'Live at The  BBC' double album.



I Saw Her Standing There (BBC) – The Beatles 

One of the greatest rock 'n' roll songs of all time. And—yes—I'm biased. Written by Paul McCartney—with by John Lennon's indelible addition of: "You know what I mean?" The first track on The Beatles' first UK album—Please, Please Me—goes very much to the heart of The One After 9:09. Thanks, there, Paul. Thanks, too, John. "One-two-three-fawr…"



Kansas City / Hey, Hey, Hey (outtake) – The Beatles

The Beatles' cover of Little Richard's version of the song—originally penned by Leiber and Stoller. It appeared on The Beatles For Sale UK album and later on Live At The BBC. The latter cut arguably closer to how you would have heard it at the Cavern Club and 'The Tower', New Brighton. Driving. Thumping. Fun. With Paul's fab rockin' voice backed by a chorus of happy-sounding boisterous Beatles. What's not to love?



Some Other Guy (BBC) – The Beatles

Another Leiber and Stoller rhythm and blues classic—co-written with Richie Barrett, who released it as a US single in 1962. An absolute favourite with Merseybeat groups and fans, alike—as well as being The Big Three's signature song. Granada TV filmed The Beatles singing it at The Cavern, with Ringo Starr on drums, a week or so after Pete Best had been sacked—an event re-visited in The One After 9:09.



Love Me Do (Ringo on drums) – The Beatles

The sound–the song—the harmonies—the wailing voices and wailing harmonica—the thudding beat of the bass and drums. Nobody in Britain had heard anything quite like it before. If you had the ears—it rocked your world—and your fervent wish and hope was that there'd soon be much more of it. And—Woah!—Who and what in the world were Beatles?



Tutti-Frutti – Little Richard

The incomparable Little Richard Penniman penned what is arguably the most inspired lyric in all of rock 'n' roll: A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop. A-lop-bam-boom!! (Spellings differ—the sentiment never does.) Released in 1955—though Little Richard has said he'd been singing 'the words' in clubs years before that. In at No.43 on Rolling Stone's list of 'The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time'—I humbly suggest it should much, much higher than that as it's the sound from the very cradle of rock 'n' roll.



Be-Bop-A-Lula (Star-Club) – The Beatles with Horst Fascher on lead vocal

Gene Vincent. The Wild One of Rock 'n' Roll. The black leather. The thrust out leg—injured—it was said—in a motor-cycle accident. The strange call and incantation that could only mean one thing. One of John Lennon's toppermost favourite songs. (And, yes, dear reader, I once saw Gene Vincent himself, sing it at the Carlton Ballroom, on Slough High Street—both now long demolished—the song however lives on.) This version from the portable Grundig tape-recording made by Kingsize Taylor at the new Star-Club in Hamburg, during The Beatles' last ever performance at the club, New Year's Eve—31 December 1962—with Horst Fascher—The Beatles' friend and protector—taking lead on the vocals.



Please, Please Me (outtake) – The Beatles

The single released January 1963. The album released in May. The true beginning of it all for so many Beatles' fans. I was lucky enough to see them in 1963 on 18 May, at the Adelphi cinema, Slough, Bucks. (With Roy Orbison and Gerry and The Pacemakers). And again, at the same venue, on 'The Beatles' Autumn Tour' on the 5th of November. Fireworks couldn't hold a Roman-candle to them.



One After 909 (rooftop concert) – The Beatles

Love it. Love it. Love it. One of John Lennon's first ever songs and ultimately what gave birth to The One After 9:09. Nuff said.



Singin' The Blues – Guy Mitchell

This to remember the great Jim Gretty—or 'Grim Jetty' as Gerry Marsden affectionately called him. Head salesman at Hessy's Music Store and a legend amongst Merseyside beat group musicians. An accomplished guitarist, he taught hundreds of young Liverpudlian hopefuls to play by giving free lessons to everyone who'd bought their guitar from Hessy's. And each and every Monday evening, he'd show 'all the young kids' how to play three or four simple guitar chords—all of them chalked up on the shop wall for all to see—before leading everyone in the class in a group rendition of Singin' the Blues—the Guy Mitchell classic—first made popular in England by Tommy Steele—first of England's many answers to Elvis. 



This Special Selection of Rock 'n' Roll Classics & Music of The Beatles (most all of which can be found on YouTube and other web sources) was created to accompany the Novel: The One After 9:09  It was curated by Andrew Tonkin: Pop Culture Expert  |  Writer  |  Rockin' LA DeeJay |

Commentary on the songs: Tony Broadbent | An Unabashed Beatles Fan

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