When was it recorded? Jun. 1 & 4, 1964
When was it first released, and on which album? Jun. 19, 1964
Who wrote it? Larry Williams
Have I heard this song before? No
What my research dug up:
(Taking it easy after “She Loves You,” apparently… I enjoy how this worked out.)
Larry Williams wrote and originally recorded “Slow Down.” I’ve talked about him before, particularly on Day 50: “Dizzy Miss Lizzy.” I mention that one specifically because it was the A-side to “Slow Down’s” B-side. This single was released Mar. 1958.
According to the Beatles Bible, “‘Slow Down’ had been a part of The Beatles’ live repertoire between 1960 and 1962, and the group had stopped playing it by the time they revived it during the ‘A Hard Day’s Night sessions.’”
The Fab Four recorded six takes in the studio on Jun. 1, 1964 and John overdubbed vocals that night. George Martin added a piano part three days later, and “Slow Down” was released later that month on the “Long Tall Sally” EP in the UK.
In America, “Slow Down” was released as a single, peaking at #25 on the charts.
Quoth Wikipedia, “Ian MacDonald criticized the performance as ‘one of the Beatles’ least successful rock-and-roll covers’… and stated that, ‘The guitar solo is embarrassing and the sound balance a shambles.’ He also pointed out the edit at 1:14 whereupon the piano momentarily disappears and McCartney’s bass becomes inaudible. Starr can likewise be heard to lose time during the song.” I… kind of have to agree. The vocals are solid, but something in the instrumentation is making me cringe. It doesn’t help that the original was so polished and swingin’ in comparison.
The Beatles also recorded “Slow Down” for BBC Radio Jul. 16, 1963 for “Pop Go the Beatles.” This version appeared on 1994’s “Live at the BBC.”
That’s… better. I’m still totally in love with the original version, though.