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The history of this classic Beatles song


A 45 of

A 45 of "Misery" from Spain

source: ebay.com


Written by: John Lennon (60%), Paul McCartney (40%) (credited to Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: February 11 and 20, 1963 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: February 25, 1963
Length: 1:47
Takes: 16
Musicians: John Lennon: co-lead vocal, rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: co-lead vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead guitar (1957 Gretsch Duo Jet G6128T)
Ringo Starr: drums (1960 Premier kit)
George Martin: piano (1905 Steinway Vertegrand "Mrs. Mills")
Released on: (CDs in bold)
  • Please Please Me, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1202, PCS 3042, Parlophone CDP7 46435-2p, US: Capitol CLJ 46435)
  • Introducing The Beatles, (US: VeeJay VJLP 1062)
  • Rarities (US: Capitol SHAL 12060}
  • The first song to be written by Lennon and McCartney for an outside artist, and also the first to be recorded by one, "Misery" was begun on January 26, 1962, after the manager of Helen Shapiro, a British teen sensation on tour with the Beatles at the time, noted that the singer needed material for an upcoming country music album to be recorded in Nashville. Before that evening's joint show (held in Stoke-on-Trent's King's Hall), the song was begun, and finished later at Paul's home at 20 Forthlin Road in Allerton, Liverpool.
  • Ironically, Shapiro's manager ultimately rejected the song as too downbeat even for country, but singer Kenny Lynch decided to record it, making him the first non-Beatle to record a Lennon-McCartney composition. It was not a hit. However, when the band needed material to fill up their first LP, Please Please Me, this song was resurrected, and is considered one of the better originals from the band's earliest days. It was recorded during the famous one-day marathon session for the album, as the last song in the afternoon session, recorded just after "I Saw Her Standing There" (which is where it appears on the album). Producer George Martin added the final touches on a grand piano on February 20, mimicking a part originally performed by George on his guitar.
  • As with every other original on Please Please Me, "Misery" is credited to "McCartney-Lennon," a practice which would be reversed starting with their next album, With The Beatles. Only original vinyl pressings of PPM have McCartney's name listed first in the credits.
  • Kenny Lynch eventually appeared on the cover of Paul's Band On The Run album, while director Richard Lester, who'd filmed Shapiro in her debut It's Trad, Dad! later went on to film the group's A Hard Day's Night and Help! movies.
Covered by: Kenny Lynch, Peter Lipa, The Flamin' Groovies
  1. About.com
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  3. Oldies Music
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  6. The Beatles -- Misery -- History and Information from the Oldies Guide at About.com

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