Thursday, July 17, 2008


Please Please Me, Track 2, 1963

"Misery" was never a single for The Beatles. It was written for singer Helen Shapiro as a country/western recording, but the song was deemed unsuitable and never released by Shapiro. The piano on the track is played by Producer George Martin, who performed on a large number of earlier Beatles recordings, while John Lennon taught himself to play in the studio. (more)

I Love:
  • The piano throughout, especially the intro and its pairing with the rhythm guitar
  • The whiny sound of the backing vocals
  • "It's gonna be a drag"
  • Lennon's lisp on "send her back to me" (ssshend)
  • The outro, including the whine, the line "my misery" and the fade-out on "lalalalala"
The lyrics to this song are another example of the teenage mentality of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting in the early 60s. Just saying that losing your girl is a 'drag' is really enough to indicate the age bracket of the singer/intended audience. However, despite being rather pathetic, the enthusiastic rhythm guitar and brilliant piano by George Martin really pick the song up and make it singable.

The fact that John is not taking himself too seriously, even here in their first real studio recording is really cute, and appealing. The lisp on "send," taken after the opening of the album on "I Saw Her Standing There" really sets the listener up for a raw rock-and-roll record that could almost be live. It's also a tongue-in-cheek jab at the song itself, sort of a way to say "yes, I know this song is really just fluff. But it's fun! And less than two minutes long."

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