Day 20: “Bad Boy”

When was it recorded?  May 10, 1965

When was it first released, and on which album?  Jun. 14, 1965 on “Beatles VI”

Who wrote it?  Larry Williams

Have I heard this song before?  No

What my research dug up:

“Bad Boy” was originally written and performed by American musician Larry Williams.  Williams was a prolific songwriter, developing a number of tunes now recognized as early classic rock and roll standards.  John Lennon was a fan of his work, and I can guarantee this isn’t the only Williams-penned number I’ll be writing about here.

Recorded in 1958 and released in 1959, Williams’ version of “Bad Boy” was not a commercial success in the States.

The Beatles recorded their cover of “Bad Boy” in on May 10 1965, which is notable because it was Williams’ birthday.  The song was, quote Wikipedia, “originally intended for a solely American release” and first appeared on the US album “Beatles VI.”  It was released in the UK at the end of 1966 on “A Collection of Beatles Oldies” (because one year earlier counts as an oldie, I guess).

I’m still not entirely sure I listened to the right Larry Williams song.  Maybe I’m just dense but the two songs sound so different.  Williams’ original brings to mind Little Richard (obviously, since the two were lifelong friends) with the faster tempo, emphasized piano part and cheekier vocal tone.  The Beatles’ version is slower, and I haven’t checked but it sounds like some the lyrics were altered.  I’m not sure I can pick I version I like better because in this case it would be like comparing apples and oranges.




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