Sunday, January 4, 2009

Long Tall Sally

It's Sunday, so let's check out a song written by my favorite reverend. It's the closest I'm going to get to churchiness for a while...

Paul's Little Richard impression is part of what originally got him into the Quarrymen, because it is so inconceivably awesome. I love Little Richard heaps, but Paul really brings something to songs like this, too. Anyway, it's no surprise that "Long Tall Sally" was a fixture in the live shows at the height of Beatlemania. It was actually the standard concert closer, until Paul wrote his own Little Richard-sounding songs-- "She's a Woman" replaced "Long Tall Sally" at some point, for the most part. By the time of their last concert in Candlestick Park, though, they'd gone back to "Long Tall Sally," which makes it the last song fans would have heard live on tour.

The song is terrific and sexy and rocking in its original recording-- it's maybe my favorite Little Richard track. The Beatles recorded it in a single raucous take with no overdubs or fancy stuff, so it sounds as much as possible like the live shows where Paul perfected his Little Richard. And it's not just Paul's vocal that makes this track so amazing-- listen to his bass and tell me it's not the most beautiful, joyous thing ever. George's guitar gets me too-- it's just so exuberant and rocking. Considering they'd played this song live probably 8 trillion times by the time of recording it, it's not surprising that they're playing so well, but it is pretty cool that the energy is so amped up. I defy you not to dance to this song at least a little. (Though I guess that's not very churchy of me to suggest.)

It's worth noting that the version of "Long Tall Sally" from Live at the BBC is also killer.

"Long Tall Sally," released in U.K. as side A track 1 of Long Tall Sally EP, June 19, 1964; released in U.S. as side B track 1 of The Beatles' Second Album, April 10, 1964.
I am indebted for all discography information to the tremendous

1 comment:

  1. I am only a little ashamed to admit that even up until this year, I thought Paul was singing that he was going to tell that man about Uncle John. I don't really always listen to the lyrics too closely.