Thursday, June 4, 2009

Like Dreamers Do

Today is the last day of my furlough, and just when I could get used to this whole not-working thing, I'm back off to work tomorrow. Don't get me wrong-- this is going to suck when it's reflected in my check. But give me a little while longer to coast on this nice being-on-the-couch-on-a-Thursday-afternoon feeling, and let me dream of never having to work again. What a lazy, lazy dreamer I am. Too lazy to listen to anything but a pleasant early McCartney number from Anthology 1, I'm thinking.

This recording of "Like Dreamers Do" is from the Decca auditions, where the label turned down the Beatles for a few nominal reasons, but mainly because the Decca people were stupid. This was actually one of the first songs Paul wrote-- it dates back to 1957, when he would have been only about 15. It was also one of the first original songs that made it into the performance. Liverpool bands tended to compete to see who could play the most obscure, random songs, and to play a song that no other band played was a mark of awesomeness. So when the Beatles threw in originals, it was as much for this reason as much as for any other-- even they, so early on, didn't think their songs were as strong as some of the covers they were doing, but it was worth it to do something different.

Anyway, I figure "Like Dreamers Do" isn't bad for a 15-year-old by a long shot. It's got this very cha-cha-cha thing that they seemed to like in the early days, and Paul is singing it in this hugely affected way like he's making love to the mic, although he might just be trying to be a showman for the Decca people. Not sure if this is how he would have sounded in a normal performance (though I'm sure there are probably bootlegs out there for one to find if one were curious). Still and all, he's also playing a pretty vibrant bass line. And Pete Best's drumming has a pleasant sloppiness that keeps the thing from sounding too polished and weird. Actually, though, my favorite part is the introduction, the way the guitars kind of gallumph into it, and the way you're not sure where the heck the home key is until Paul starts singing. It's a very off way to start this otherwise kind of slick song, don't you think?

Anyway, "Like Dreamers Do" is a nice little trifle. Nice enough that the Beatles made some loot giving it away to a band called the Applejacks, who had a hit with it for-- guess who!-- Decca in 1964. Note that in their version they throw out the weird opening in favor of a more muddled thing, and also do this funky motif on a bell or possibly an organ. (My favorite fact about the Applejacks: they had a female bass player named Megan. In 1964!)

"Like Dreamers Do," released in the U.K. and the U.S. disc 1 track 18 of Anthology 1, November 20, 1995.

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