When was it recorded? 1960 (and more cleanly on Jan. 1, 1962)
When was it first released, and on which album? Aug. 30, 1963 as a single for The Fourmost
Who wrote it? Lennon
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
(EDIT: I have no idea what I was thinking when I dated this Entry #54. Oops.)
“Hello Little Girl” is important, as it was the first song John ever wrote. Composed in 1957, John drew inspiration from Cole Porter’s 1936 tune “It’s De-Lovely,” which John’s mother used to sing to him.
The Beatles (then Quarrymen) performed the song in their live shows as early as 1958. They recorded a home demo of the song in 1960; according to my sources it is not available on any albums, but thank God for bootlegs and YouTube.
The recording I mentioned taking place Jan. 1, 1962, was from the Beatles’ Decca Records audition. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “By the time of the Decca audition, the group had tightened their performance, transforming ‘Hello Little Girl’ into something approaching a commercially viable pop song. The vocal harmonies, too, point the way to the sound which would later become a Beatles trademark.” This demo appeared on “Anthology 1” in 1995. Compare and contrast.
The Beatles Bible continues, “The song didn’t remain in The Beatles’ repertoire for much longer, and was never recorded for EMI. It was, however, performed at an audition for BBC radio, which took place at Broadcasting House in Manchester on [Feb. 12] 1962.” I didn’t dig up a recording of that version.
As noted above, “Hello Little Girl” was given to fellow Liverpool boy band The Fourmost for their debut single. Their biography strikes me as oddly similar to the Beatles’, so let’s take a look.
The band started with best friends lead guitarist Brian O’Hara and rhythm guitarist Joey Bower; calling themselves The Two Jays, they started playing music in 1957. Then came bass player Billy Hatton, and last came drummer Brian Redman. As the Four Jays, they played the Cavern Club on Mar. 1, 1961, about three weeks before the Beatles. Mike Millward joined in 1961, and my sources stop mentioning Bower around this time as well, leaving to me believe he left the group. In Sept. 1962 Dave Lovelady replaced Redman on the drums, and the band changed its name to the Fourmost in Oct. 1962.
According to Wikipedia, “On [Jun. 30] 1963, the group signed a management contract with Brian Epstein. This led to their being auditioned by George Martin and signed to EMI’s Parlophone record label.” The Fourmost were friendly with the Beatles and had early access to Lennon-McCartney demos like “Hello Little Girl” and “I’m in Love,” the band’s first two singles.
The Fourmost had their biggest hit in 1964 with “A Little Loving,” which peaked at #6 on the UK charts (they were not exactly popular in the US). The band stopped recording in 1968 “and became popular on the cabaret circuit” (Wikipedia), which they seemed to favor. Hatton and Lovelady are still alive while Millward died of cancer and O’Hara committed suicide (apart from the suicide think about it… it’s kind of weird).
Coincidence-hunting aside, the Fourmost recorded “Hello Little Girl” on Jul. 3, 1963. According to Collaborations, the Beatles were actually present for the recording session (produced by George Martin). Their single was released in Aug. 1963 and peaked at #9 on the UK music charts.
“Hello Little Girl” was also recorded by British band Gerry and the Pacemakers (also from Liverpool, managed by Brian Epstein, and recorded by George Martin) on Jul. 17, 1963. Their version was not deemed single-worthy and was put on the shelf until 1991 (still beat the Beatles’ version to stores).
“Hello Little Girl” is hardly my new favorite song, but for a first effort from any songwriter? Not too shabby. John obviously had some innate talent from Day One. My sources all note how strongly Buddy Holly’s influence can be heard on this song, and I agree it definitely has that ’50s flavor.