Larry Williams: Bad Boy (1959)

 |   |  1 min read

Larry Williams: Bad Boy (1959)

In his exceptional study of the Beatles All These Years; Tune In – the first of three intended volumes, this only taking us to the start of '63 – Mark Lewisohn confirmed (via recordings unavailable to mere mortals) what most already suspected: that John Lennon was a natural born rock'n'roll singer and more than just an intuitive picker of songs but also an inspired one.

In black r'n'b and rock'n'soul he could hear songs which he could apply himself to.

By the time the Beatles began recording he had a stockpile of songs which he made his: the Isley's Twist and Shout, Barret Strong's Money, Chuck Berry's Rock And Roll Music . . .

Line the originals of these (and others) against Lennon's sandpaper vocals, commitment and power and there is no doubt who could front them better.

These were more than just covers, they were re-inventions of the songs courtesy of the three guitars and drums band which had honed its craft over many, many hours in clubs in front of up-close live audiences.

Larry Williams – along with Arthur Alexander – was one of Lennon's favourite rock'n'roll writers (he would later record Williams' Slow Down and Dizzy Miss Lizzy, the latter for tthe Help! album, again ending a Beatles' album with Lennon throat-tearer). In his solo career for the Rock'n'Roll album of '75 Lennon would also record Williams' Bonie Moronie.

Bad Boy – with a lyric which must have immediately appealed to Lennon – was the flipside of Williams' single She Said Yeah (later covered by the Animals and the Rolling Stones) but where Williams original might have sounded furious in '59, out front of the Beatles Lennon (see below) took it to a much more inspired and tightly wrought threshold.

For more one-off, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

The Nu Page: When the Brothers Come Marching Home (1973)

The Nu Page: When the Brothers Come Marching Home (1973)

The Nu Page were a one-single group signed to the Motown subsidiary label MoWest which released songs by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Thelma Houston and Tom Clay (whose version of Abraham... > Read more

Bernard Butler: Woman I Know (1998)

Bernard Butler: Woman I Know (1998)

Was it Bob Dylan who said something to the effect, "amateurs borrow, professionals steal"? Not to encourage plagiarism, but Bernard Butler certainly took a leaf or two -- if not a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

ESSAY ON DESIGN (2007): The Internationalism of Idiocy

In an ideal world good design should be like fine wine and excellent food: only noticeable by its absence. But we live with ordinary chardonnays, indifferent meals, and abusive or annoyingly awful... > Read more

Prawns in Red Curry Sauce

Prawns in Red Curry Sauce

Cannot tell a lie, I borrowed this one from a CD-cum-recipe set in the generic series called The Ideal . . . Dinner Party, and you fill in the gap there with Thai, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican... > Read more