Ringo’s radio: Is it them?

Big debate going on, as the full length version of the song on Ringo’s transistor radio during the train scene in A Hard Day’s Night suddenly turned up for sale. Very good timing, by the way. Walter Shenson supposedly said it was recorded by the Beatles, themselves. Bill King wanted my comment, so I gave it to him – despite not having heard this version yet – I was on holiday in Greece with limited (and slow) internet access at the time.

It doesn’t sound like them at all. What do you think? Anyone in the know here?


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13 Responses

  1. Unknown says:

    I don't think the drumming sounds like Ringo, but who's to say it's not Paul. Personally I think it's just generic rock music from an archive that they used. Having said that, if it was somebody else they'd have come forward by now, surely.

  2. Popper says:

    I don't think it's them. The bassist is very capable but his intervals don't have the McCartney fingerprint on them, in the same way that the drumming just doesn't sound like Ringo.

    The chords are standard blues – you can sing Long Tall Sally over the top, also Can't Buy Me Love – but probably hundreds of others too.

  3. Unknown says:

    it sounds very much like cry for a shadow and other early decca beatle recordings, very much so

  4. Unknown says:

    Well I don't think it's them
    Judging by the sound of the guitar which must be a Fender played with

  5. Mark McKendrick says:

    Definately not them. It's shoddy trash. Contrary to Popper's opinion the bass player is very capable' I think he sounds truly novice. Paul would never play chromatics from the route. It's very amateur. The guitar is something like an Fender copy. It doesn't have the bite or the body of a real one but it's patently a solid-body with single coil p'ups. The drumming's to loose to be Ringo. I don't know why this even up for debate.

  6. beatlesondvd says:

    What if the point was precisely *not* to sound like the Beatles? I think they would be perfectly capable of playing in an entirely different, and amateurish, style.

    That being said, I have no idea whether it's them or not. But if it's somebody else, wouldn't the guys who played this thing have bragged about it when AHDN became such a hit at the box-office?

  7. phil overture says:

    My opinion is it's not them. Guitar sound is too Fenderish. The clip used in the film would have been added post production so I suspect it's a bit of library music.

  8. Unknown says:

    Nup – the lead guitar work has no 'tell tale' attributes of any of the Beatles…I'm with Colin; probably taken from KPM type archive…

  9. Unknown says:

    After listening to the recording several times on noise-cancelling headphones, I went from believing it´s not The Beatles to think it might The Beatles. Why?

    1. If this is archive music, why (as others have pointed out) hasn´t the musicians bragged about it? Music like this had not been around for that long, so the musicians would certainly have been alive when the movie was released (50 years ago today).

    2. The bass player is not playing a straight forward eight-bar blues. The bass player is quite creative, which Paul certainly was/is. If this is Paul, it´s not him at his best, but if this was an attempt to sound like another band I´m sure Paul could pull off sounding different. The Beatles could play badly if the wanted to; just listen to "12 Bar Original".

    3. People have pointed out that the guitar sounds like a Fender and use that as an argument that it´s not The Beatles. The Beatles loved Fender. John has been quoted (I think it was in 1963 in Sweden) that he preferred Fender, and from 1965 he and George used Fender guitars frequently (a brilliant example is the "Nowhere Man" solo). In 1968 they got a bass and barritone guitar for George and John to use; both were Fenders. And how many times have you seen George or John use a Gretch or a Rickenbacker in the 70s? Bangladesh, the Elton John gig, George´s 74 tour. Fender, Fender, Fender.

    4. If this is archive music, why the clumpsy ending with inaudible mumbling? And why the count-in? Wouldn´t it be more professional to let the musicians try one more time for a clean version? And if this was an archive recording, why didn´t the producers edit out the count-in, the ending and the mumbling before they released it to the world.

    5. A lot of drummers around that time sounded like the one on the recording, and it could be Ringo copying them. He´s always been aware of his unique style of drumming and he used his "funny fills" almost as a trademark, but I think he easily could copy a "normal" drummer.

    6. An argument against this being a Beatles recording is that it´s not documented in the studio papers. It´s a 30 second recording. Had it been a five minute epic it would have been strange not to document it, but 30 seconds? I don´t know.

    7. The recording was found in a box labeled “The Beatles.”

    Of course I´m not convinced. The actual sound of the recording doesn´t sound like Abbey Road or George Martin. It would have been a lot easier if the sound matched the 1964 recordings thus making it plausible it was a jam-ish thing at the end of a session. I do however like the theory that it could have been recorded at a BBC session — and maybe that´s where they borrowed Fender gear? (I don´t know if they owned Fenders before 1965).

    Anywho, that´s my rambling. Whatever it is I´m sure all of us are excited to some day find the answer. It´s not every day a Beatles mystery like this occurs.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I fall on the side of "not-the-Beatles". It just seems like too much trouble to call the group into a studio session for a few seconds of needed music–and then have to pay them royalties for it–than it would be to just use some stock library music. I'm guessing this comes from something like De Wolfe. The sound of it is similar to the kind of thing you'd hear at the time in a "Beach Party" movie or a Roger Corman rock-sploitation film of the same late '50s/early '60s era.

    As for why nobody has stepped forward to claim authorship–probably because the people who played on it don't even remember! If it is something from the KPM or De Wolfe library or the like, the musicians who played on it would have played on dozens of other similar pieces the same day, in the midst of recording hundreds of stock pieces over the course of the year. It would be easy to forget such a piece among hundreds of other pieces.

    Seems to me, during the editing process, the editor probably just grabbed a handy royalty-free "stock rock n' roll music" record off the shelf at the editing facility and used it. Getting the Beatles involved would just have complicated things unnecessarily.

  11. Unknown says:

    Sounds like one of those Surf bands that played in all those "Beach Blanket Bingo" movies that came out around this time. The bigger question is: Whose idea was it to superimpose Ringo's head onto a Women's body that is holding the radio? Look at those nails & the wedding ring. Anyway, copyright wise it would have been easier to let the Beatles do this & just include it in the movie without credit but it sure doesn't sound like them.

  12. Unknown says:

    The drumming is the only thing that doesnt sound like Ringos. But if this was not a George Martin produced song it could well be.

  13. Unknown says:

    Whoever mentioned De Wolfe should be given a prize !

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