Day 158: “Lucille”

When was it recorded?   Sept. 7, 1963

When was it first released, and on which album?   Nov. 30, 1994 on “Live at the BBC”

Who wrote it?   Al Collins & Richard Penniman

Have I heard this song before?   Just the original

What my research dug up:


Little Richard and Albert “Al” Collins (no, not that one) wrote “Lucille,” though originally only Collins was credited. Apparently Richard had to buy his half the song’s rights while Collins was in prison.

Albert Collins was a renowned R&B guitarist (the Master of the Telecaster). This Al Collins, however, was primarily a songwriter. According to Eugene Chadbourne’s artist biography at, “The most important moment in Al Collins’ history was the very first record released by the legendary Ace label: Collins’ ‘Shuckin’’ and ‘I Got the Blues for You’ made only a small splash compared to many of the label’s other releases, but aspects of these records — such as riffs and rhythmic motifs — would turn up later on several of Little Richard’s all-time greatest hits, ‘Slippin’ and Slidin’’ and ‘Lucille.’”

Anyway, Richard released the original version of “Lucille” as a single in Feb. 1957. It peaked at #21 on the US pop charts and #10 on the UK charts.

The Beatles first covered “Lucille” on Sept. 3, 1963 for the Sept. 17 edition of “Pop Go the Beatles.” This version was actually not released until last year, when it appeared on “On Air – Live at the BBC Vol. 2.”

(Sorry about the ending of that video — it was the best I could do.)

The Fab Four performed “Lucille” once more on Sept. 7 for “Saturday Club.” This version aired Oct. 5 and appeared on the 1994’s “Live at the BBC.”

I have to admit, Paul’s Little Richard impression never fails to crack me up. It’s ridiculously glorious.

According to the Beatles Bible, “The Beatles recorded ‘Lucille’ twice during the Get Back sessions in early 1969, at London’s Twickenham Film Studios. They played the song on 3 January, the second day of filmed rehearsals, and again four days later.” All the videos I found of those versions turned out to be fakes, though, so I must disappoint you on that front.

“Lucille” is such a fun song, though.  I prefer the original, but the Beatles sound like they’re having so much fun with their covers that it’s hard for me to judge one against the other.  What better compliment to pay a performer you admire than to cover one of their compositions with such exuberance?




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