Saturday 10 August 2013

Memphis, Tennessee

Composer: Chuck Berry

John Lennon rhythm guitar (Rickenbacker 325 guitar), Lead Vocal
Paul McCartney bass (Hofner 500/1 bass)
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: November 1977 (A Single  / Love Of The Loved [Deccagone PRO-1102])

Running Time:
  • Mono Mix: 2:22

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)
Memphis, Tennessee was written by Chuck Berry and originally released in June 1959 as the B-side to his single Back In The USA - itself later parodied by The Beatles in Back In The USSR in 1968.

It was the seventh song recorded by The Beatles at their audition for Decca. The song had been in The Beatles' act since 1960, but would be dropped in 1962, as they concentrated on songs they released themselves. They did, however, record it five times for the BBC in 1963.

Paul McCartney: "Chuck Berry was another massive influence with Johnny B. Goode. We'd go up to John's bedroom with his little record player and listen to Chuck Berry records, trying to learn them. I remember learning Memphis, Tennessee up there."
(Source: The Beatles Anthology The Beatles, Cassell & Co (2000) )
The Beatles' version bounces along quite nicely, with a good vocal by Lennon. Harrison's guitar solo too is well played - however, he plays badly towards the end of the song. Best, switching to brushes for this song, is buried in the mix.

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