The Beatles: More cowbell!
|The Long Tall Sally EP|
Starting with the release of the 2009 remastered versions of the Beatles’ recordings, the song “I Call Your Name” has gotten some more cowbell!
Released on the British EP “Long Tall Sally” on 19 June 1964, the Lennon-McCartney original has always featured the very prominent sound of a cowbell. Now it has even more! In the USA, the song debuted a month earlier on “The Beatles’ Second Album” on Capitol Records 10 April 1964.
The 2009 Past Masters CD revealed two extra cowbells before the instrumental break. These are edited in from the end of the song to mask the edit. This version has now reappeared on the new edition of “The Beatles’ Second Album”.
The mono version released on “The Beatles’ Second Album” was mixed on 4 March 1964, whereas the British “Long Tall Sally” EP used another mix, from 4 June, 1964.
The stereo “The Beatles’ Second Album” featured a stereo mix of the song from 10 Mar 1964.
It has always been part of Beatles’ history that the cowbell on this track differs on the mono versus the stereo version of the song, and to add to the confusion, there are two different stereo versions where the cowbell enters the song in different places.
The original mono Long Tall Sally EP has the cowbell begin when the drums and bass and 2nd guitar kick-in. In the stereo version, the cowbell starts much later.
On the stereo “Second Album”, the cowbell starts on the word “call” when Lennon sings the opening line and title, “I call your name…”.
On another stereo mix from 22 Jun 1964 which debuted on the “Rock’n’Roll Music” double album in 1976, the cowbell enters just before Lennon sings “But you’re not there”.
Starting with the remastered 2009 version, this stereo version has been edited further, adding the two new cowbell beats in.
The re-released “Second Album” features the song in mono first (taken from the original Second Album mix from 4 March 1964) but the new stereo mix replaces the original US stereo mix with the remastered stereo version of the song from 2009.
The original stereo mix can be heard here.
This was the first stereo mix which changed the guitar and faded a different vocal track (containing the cowbell) early. The second stereo mix fades up the other vocal mix (sans cowbell) which is why it appears later in the song.
The song was an early Lennon original. “That was my song,” said John Lennon in his 1980 Playboy interview, “when there was no Beatles and no group. I just had it around. It was my effort as a kind of blues originally, and then I wrote the middle eight just to stick it in the album when it came out years later. The first part had been written before Hamburg even. It was one of my first attempts at a song.”
Lennon had recorded a demo of the song to give to Billy J. Kramer in June 1963. Kramer and his group The Dakotas recorded the song on June 27th and released the song as the flip side to “Bad To Me” which reached #1 in Britain. The Beatles resurrected it for possible use in the film “A Hard Day’s Night”, but director Dick Lester rejected it.
The song features George Harrison playing the Rickenbacker 360/12 guitar, offering the distinctive “A Hard Day’s Night” sound of the famous guitar to the world for the first time.
You can read more about “I Call Your Name” here.
Ringo Starr famously recorded a version of “I Call Your Name” for a 1990 John Lennon tribute, with Jim Keltner handling the cowbell.