The Songs The Beatles Gave Away
As part of Radio 2's Great British Songbook, Bob Harris investigates the songs the Beatles gave away. The most popular group in the world for over 45 years, a recent issue of re-mastered albums saw four Top 10 entries in the UK chart, while their compilation '1' looks set to be America's biggest album this decade. The fevered excitement that accompanied every release in the 1960s is well documented but less is known about the music written, though not necessarily recorded or released, by the Beatles during the same decade.
Whilst the Beatles were constantly in the charts, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison were also supplying other artists with a number of hits...and the occasional miss! Bob Harris delves into these recordings by Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas, Mary Hopkin, The Foremost, Cilla Black, Jackie Lomax, Doris Troy and others. Along the way he uncovers some forgotten gems, such as the theme tune for a TV series starring Stanley Holloway; music from a Boulting Brothers film called The Family Way; and hears first hand from Sir Paul McCartney about being contacted by Frank Sinatra for a song. Paul also talks at length about his approach to writing in the 1960s; the songs given to Tommy Quickly, Peter and Gordon, Chris Barber and PJ Proby; as well as those written exclusively for Cilla Black.
Amongst other interviews recorded specially for the programme, Mary Hopkin talks about recording with McCartney in the studio; Johnny Gentle (who was backed by The Beatles on his 1960 tour) recalls Lennon's contribution to I've Just Fallen For Someone; Billy Hatton of The Fourmost remembers John and George's version of the group's debut hit Hello Little Girl; and Billy J. Kramer admits to the fatal error of turning down a song that would eventually become one of the most performed works in recorded history.
These interviews are accompanied by BBC archive material of George Harrison describing how Badge, the song he co-wrote for Cream, got its name. The programme also features new interviews with Sir George Martin, the producer of a number of these records, and Cilla Black, whose demo recording of Step Inside Love (featuring Paul on guitar) receives a rare outing on radio. We also hear George Harrison's early recorded performance of Sour Milk Sea, the song he gave to Jackie Lomax.