Well, folks. It’s February 9th, so it’s Beatle day. This day in 1964, the Beatles went on TV to perform for a record 73 million people on the Ed Sullivan Show. To honour the blessed event, I will not actually post another Beatles song. That’s too predictable.
Here’s a clip of the Queen of all girl-groups – The Supremes – singing the Beatles, their chart competition. I had no idea up until tonight that this cover version even existed! It’s on their 1964 album A Bit Of Liverpool, which included a number of Lennon and McCartney tunes, including “A Hard Days Nught”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, and the Peter & Gordon hit “World Without Love”.
I suppose it makes sense, since it was a very big hit – the Beatles first number one song in North America (their real first was “Please Please Me”) and one of the ones included in their Sullivan performance. After it broke in America, a lot of cover versions of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” surfaced, including ones from artists you also might not expect like Duke Ellington, Bobby Fuller, Al Green, Pat Boone (OK, maybe you expected Boone since he would cover anything that moved…), and many others.
This Supremes cover was early on in their career with Motown, just before Berry Gordy crafted the Motown sound. The arrangement here is a reproduction of the original, and it’s clear that everyone involved is still finding their own voices. But, it’s a pretty interesting artifact, considering the run-for-their-money the Supremes would give the Beatles during the rest of the decade. And it can’t be underestimated the influence the Supremes had on the trajectory of R&B, rivalling that of the Beatles’ influence on rock music. That makes this a fascinating crossover of two musical titans.
In any case, folks. Have a happy Beatle day!