Thursday, February 12, 2009

So How Come (No One Loves Me)

The thing is, I love the Everly Brothers. I LOVE them. Give me that steel guitar sound, that simplistic lyric, that beautiful two-part-harmony-in-thirds stuff over any of the newfangled crap the kids are listening to these days. Give me that blend of country and gospel and rock all blended together into teenybopper pop music perfection. I adore the Everlys, and I'm not ashamed to admit it, because the Beatles, clearly the coolest people who have ever lived, adored them too.

From the earliest days of the Lennon-McCartney partnership, they learned how to sing together by listening to Everly Brothers records. Even Paul and his own little brother, Michael, would sing these songs together (Paul took Phil's high part even then). It's safe to assume that Everlys numbers eventually wound up in the Beatles' live set, but none of them ever made it onto a Beatles recording. Not until Live at the BBC, at least, which released a version the Beatles recorded on BBC Radio on July 23, 1963. Today we're listening to "So How Come (No One Loves Me)," a little masterpiece of teenage melodrama.

I apologize for the boring video here, but at least we get the song! (And tracks that are only available on Live at the BBC tend fly under the radar of YouTubers a bit more.)

Like many of the Everlys' songs, this was written by the country songwriting team of Felice and Boudleaux Bryant. It came out on the A Date with the Everly Brothers album, which was a big hit in 1961. I've never actually heard the Everlys' version, though, and I can't find any free internet versions to post here, so, alas. Point is, it's an album track, and early '60s LPs are frequently filled with all kinds of schlock that rightly doesn't make it onto the radio. Clearly, though, "So How Come (No One Loves Me)" is a bit of a gem, and the Beatles noticed it.

Based on what we know about other Beatles' covers, I'm assuming this is a fairly faithful rendition of the original, with an injection of the unique rock and roll sensibility that the band could give to a more country-fried song like this one. John and Paul are experts at this kind of singing by now (they would soon surpass this level of two-part singing stuff in more harmonically sophisticated songs like "If I Fell"), and their voices sound just gorgeous together, ringing and pure as those sweet choirboys, the Everlys themselves. Meanwhile, George sings along in his own way in the guitar fills and delivers a fine rockabilly solo, while Ringo's drums shuffle along pleasantly. It's a sweet song, one that meanders into the tender places in my heart despite the silly lyrics about the little black sheep and whatnot.

When I'm having a sort of stressful day (as I am today, heading to New York for work-related meetings et cetera), a song like "So How Come (No One Loves Me)" cheers me up and helps me laugh at my own stupid little problems-- heartbreak is treated so comically in this song, it just puts everything in perspective somehow. But then again, I'm an Everly Brothers fan. Perhaps you are too cool for the Everlys. For your sake, though, I hope not-- they are just a slice of heaven, yessirree.

"So How Come (No One Loves Me)," released in the U.S. disc 2 track 17 of Live at the BBC, November 30, 1994; in the U.S. December 6, 1994.
I am indebted for all discography information to the tremendous

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