Day 99: “I Call Your Name”

When was it recorded?  Mar. 1, 1964

When was it first released, and on which album?  Jul. 26, 1963, on a Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas single

Who wrote it?  Lennon

Have I heard this song before?  No

What my research dug up:

I think I overdid it yesterday. Every time I shut my eyes last night I saw John Lennon, like his image was burned onto the insides of my eyelids.

Anyway, John wrote “I Call You Name” early in his career at his aunt Mimi’s home in Menlove Avenue, Liverpool (that last detail according to Paul, anyway).

“That was my song. When there was no Beatles and no group. I just had it around. It was my effort as a kind of blues originally, and then I wrote the middle eight just to stick it in the album when it came out years later. The first part had been written before Hamburg even. It was one of my first attempts at a song.” — John Lennon (David Sheff. All We Are Saying)

Paul still isn’t sure what the song was about.

“We worked on it together, but it was John’s idea. When I look back at some of these lyrics, I think, ‘Wait a minute. What did he mean?’ ‘I call your name but you’re not there.’ Is it his mother? His father? I must admit I didn’t really see that as we wrote it because we were just a couple of young guys writing. You didn’t look behind it at the time, it was only later you started analyzing things.” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

John gave “I Call Your Name” to label mate Billy J. Kramer in 1963. I’ve discussed Kramer and the Dakotas on Day 21: “Bad to Me” and Day 51: “Do You Want to Know a Secret.” In fact, the Dakotas released a single with “Bad to Me” as the A-side and “I Call Your Name” the B-side. They recorded both songs Jun. 26, 1963 and released the single exactly one month later.

According to Wikipedia, “Lennon was reportedly dissatisfied with the Dakotas’ arrangement of his song as well as its position as the single’s B-side, so the Beatles recorded their own version.” The band recorded “I Call Your Name,” “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” and “Long Tall Sally” in one three-hour session on Mar. 1, 1964. The Beatles’ version first appeared in the UK on the “Long Tall Sally” EP released Jun. 19, 1964. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “It was likely held off the ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ album due to the similar use of cowbell in ‘You Can’t Do That.’” “I Call Your Name” later appeared on the 1988 compilation “Past Masters Vol. 1,” hence that tag.

The mono and stereo versions of “I Call Your Name” differ in two noteworthy ways — the opening guitar riff is different, and the cowbell part comes in earlier in mono.



Maybe the tequila is talking or the fact that it comes on the heels of “I Am the Walrus,” but I’m seriously underwhelmed by this number (and it being my 100th post too, boo).  It’s just luckluster.  If I have to choose, I definitely prefer The Beatles’ version of “I Call Your Name” though.




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