Sunday, 31 March 2013

Till There Was You - Decca Audition Version

Composer: Meredith Willson

John Lennon rhythm guitar (Rickenbacker 325 guitar)
Paul McCartney bass (Hofner 500/1 bass), Lead Vocal
George Harrison lead guitar (Gretsch Duo Jet guitar)
Pete Best drums (blue Premier kit with 26" kick drum)

Mike Smith: Producer
Peter Attwood: Engineer

Recorded: Monday 1 January 1962, Decca Studios, 165 Broadhurst Gardens, London
Recording Medium: Two Track

UK Release: December 1979 (LP: The Decca Tapes [Circuit Records LK 4438-1])
US Release: October 1978 (B Single / Crying, Waiting Hoping [Deccagone PRO-1105])

Running Time:
  • Mono Mix: 2:57

Available on:
(Source: Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald, Vintage 2005, and Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments from Stage to Studio, Andy Babuick, Backbeat Books 2002)
Till There Was You was the third song played at The Beatles audition for Decca Records. Like the previous track, Money, it was later to be found on the group's second album, With The Beatles. Also like the previous track, this version is far inferior to the official version, notably missing Harrison's acoustic guitar flourishes, and including Best's graceless drums instead of Starr's more sympathetic bongos.

Played faster than the official version, the Decca Audition performance includes a superfluous second guitar solo, and repeats the chorus and third verse three times, adding an extra 39 seconds to the song's running time. While the first solo is similar to the official version, albeit played by Harrison on his Gretsch Duo rather than on an acoustic guitar, nerves obviously got the better of him by time of the ham-fisted second solo.

As for McCartney's vocal, while he clearly has winsome turned up to 11, he sounds almost female, as Lennon later observed to Michael Braun in Love Me Do!: Beatles Progress.