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Dizzy Miss Lizzy

The history of this classic Beatles song

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The cover of the US-only

The cover of the US-only "Beatles VI"

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Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Written by: Larry Williams
Recorded: May 10, 1965 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: May 10, 1965
Length: 2:51
Takes: 7
Musicians:
John Lennon: lead vocals, rhythm guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1), electric piano (1964 Hohner Pianet)
George Harrison: lead guitar (1962 Gretsch 6119 "Tennessean")
Ringo Starr: drums (Ludwig), cowbell
Available on: (CDs in bold)
Help! (UK: Parlophone PMC 1255; PCS 3071; Parlophone CDP 7 46439 2)
Beatles VI, (US: Capitol (S)T 2358, Capitol CDP 0946 3 57499 2 2) History:
  • The third number by the relatively obscure New Orleans R&B artist Larry Williams to be recorded by the Beatles (a single-artist cover record only equaled in the band's repertoire by their trilogy of Carl Perkins covers), "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (misspelled from the original's "Lizzie") was recorded during the Help! sessions in order to come up with extra material for the band's American LP Beatles '65. (The original was released in March 1958 on Specialty 626.) Though not necessarily intended to be the album closer, it was chosen as such after the band sifted through the half-dozen or so extra tracks recorded to round out the LP.
  • A live favorite of the band's (particularly John) since 1958, this number was played in concert until 1962, and resurrected for the North American leg of the group's 1965 tour.
  • John Lennon shouts and yelps quite a bit on this number, one of the group's more raucous covers. This could be because the band took a break after two failed takes to tackle another Williams number, "Bad Boy," which featured similar vocal gymnastics, but it's also possible a peeved John was trying to up the emotional ante after producer George Martin informed him the first two takes were, according to Paul, "not exciting enough." This version also extends the song by repeating the break and third verse, more than likely an arrangement left over from their early touring days.
  • "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" was finally nailed on take six, after lunch on the same day's sessions. George double-tracked his lead, which bleeds through in some places where he seems unsure where to come in (probably due to lack of rehearsal). Paul's electric piano and Ringo's cowbell were also dubbed in on take 7.
Known live versions:

August 15, 1965 (Shea Stadium, New York, NY)
August 17, 1965 (Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto, Canada)
August 18, 1965 (Atlanta Stadium, Atlanta, GA)
August 19, 1965 (Sam Houston Coliseum, Houston, TX)
August 20, 1965 (White Sox Park, Chicago, IL)
August 21, 1965 (Metropolitan Stadium, Minneapolis, MN)
August 22, 1965 (Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR)
August 28, 1965 (Balboa Stadium, San Diego, CA)
August 19-30, 1965 (Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, CA)
August 31, 1965 (Cow Palace, San Francisco, CA)

BBC versions: 1 (for the BBC program The Beatles Invite You To Take A Ticket To Ride)
Trivia:

  • John also performed this number with the Plastic Ono Band at their live Toronto gig on September 13, 1969.
  • There's a very strange and heavy reverb effect added to the Help! CD release of this track, especially the vocal, which causes consternation to many Beatles fans.
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