A very brief snippet is all that there is of this very cool cover of the 1966 British hit song "Sorrow" by The Merseys, as sung by George and it appears towards the end of this track. This cover comes in at about 4 minutes and 14 seconds of the George-penned song. Just the words "with your long blonde hair and your eyes of blue" and they are repeated twice by George.
The Merseys single had been issued in Canada in 1966 on the bright red Mercury label as M.72582. The song was produced by Kit Lambert who also produced The Who at that time. And the record was itself a cover of a 1965 track by an American group, The McCoys.
The group was formed from the ashes of The Merseybeats, a Liverpool beat group formed in 1962 and named after Liverpool's iconic local pop newspaper. In 1966, members Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley formed a duo and kept part of the name. The Mersey's version of Sorrow reached number 4 in the British charts in the spring of 1966.
The Merseys recording of Sorrow did not chart in Canada and copies are very hard to find.
The Merseybeats had only two singles on Fontana in Canada before 1966 but there were a number of records issued in Canada credited to the Merseybeats.
Fontana F.1513 - The Merseybeats - It Would Take A Long Time / Don't Let It Happen To Us
Fontana F.1532 - The Merseybeats - I Love You, Yes I Do / See Me Back
Mercury M.72582 - The Merseys - Sorrow / Some Other Day
Several LP recordings were issued on the ARC Records label between 1964 and 1967, however, it has not been confirmed whether these recordings were in fact made by the Merseybeats or perhaps some other Liverpool "covers" group under this split name (eg "Mersey Beats"). More information would be appreciated.
ARC 830 - She Loves You etc. - The Mersey Beats Of Liverpool
ARC 834 - England's Best Sellers Volume 1 - The Mersey Beats Of Liverpool
ARC 837 - England's Best Sellers Volume 2 - The Mersey Beats Of Liverpool
ARC 641 - A Hard Day's Night - The Mersey Beats Of Liverpool
ARC 749 - England's Super Hits '67 - The Merseybeats
ARC 850/8050 - Liverpool A Go Go - The Merseybeats
The Merseys version of Sorrow was in fact a cover of the song recorded by The McCoys as the flip side to their top-40 hit "Fever" which had entered the USA Billboard chart in October 1965. The song was credited to Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, and Richard Gottehrer. These three songwritres were based in new York City and they also had their own group called The Strangloves. That group scored a big hit with their own song "I Want Candy" .. which sounds very much like "Mona" by Bo Diddley. The team also wrote 'Night Time" which was recorded by the Blues Project and a song called "Cara Lin" which was oddly recorded by a British garage group called The Sorrows!
The song also appears as the third track on Side 1 of their first album: LP "Hang On Sloopy" by The McCoys - Bang BLP-212 (Allied Record Corp./ Roulette Records)
A Canadian garage-band covered the Merseys version of the song in early 1967. The British Modbeats were covering a song from the British charts as they had some success when they had previously covered L.S.D. by The Pretty Things. The British Modbeats issued Sorrow as one side of the following single on the great Canadian sixties label Red Leaf:
The British Modbeats also included the song on their only album. It appears as the second song on Side 2 of their LP called "Mod Is".
Although The British Modbeats recorded and issued their version of Sorrow in 1967, it is very doubtful that George Harrison had ever heard their version before he incorporated part of the song into his "It's All Too Much". Nevertheless, it is worth a listen as it is a nice interpretation.
David Bowie recorded his cover of The Merseys version of Sorrow on his great album "Pin Ups" from October 1973. That album was recorded, of course, well after The Beatles had broken up.
George Harrison must have really liked the version by The Merseys, and it was his unique tribute to his Liverpool colleagues to include the musical and lyrical reference on the Yellow Submarine soundatrck LP in early 1969. It was a great song to pay tribute to.
Special thanks to Andre Gibeault for his excellent book "Canadian Records" which was published by Underworld Publishing, Montreal in 1987. A book that is highly recommended. The book includes a discography and images for The British Modbeats.
Rock on Andre !
A few items sold again this past month, not much in terms of quantity, but some very interesting and seldom seen items changed hands. First off, Chris Hodge's rare Canadian Apple pressing of We're On Our Way sold for 15$, while the ever so rare and desirable Canadian Parr's cover for the only Canadian Capitol EP sold for 114$ in a fierce battle between 11 bidders online. On the album side of things, a rare stereo Meet The Beatles with the Parr's slick, still in the shrink was traded for 30$ while an early Twist And Shout with the old cover construction type with rounded inner seams sold for 20$. A great classic: the Let It Be box set found a new home for 147$ while another box set (box and tray only) sold for 57$. Otherwise, a sealed yellow vinyl promo album for Reel Music sold for 86$ - this copy had a very low number (0226) stamped on the front cover. A sealed orange label Beatles VI also found a buyer for 16$ while the scarce retro rainbow pressing of A Hard Day's Night sold for 13$ and a very rare 6000 series motorcycle soundtrack album by Davie Allen - Cycle Delic Sounds - sold for 37$. Speaking of the 6000 series, the Yardbirds' stereo album Over Under Sideways Down sold for 66$.
Last but not least, Some very hard to find Capitol promo pictures for the Beatles and the Dave Clark Five sold for 28$ and 5$ respectively. Finally, October 30th marked the official release of the anniversary single of Love Me Do in Canada - this was meant to be the corrected version after the audio fiasco of early October. The right version of Love Me Do did indeed replace the Andy White version on the disc, but it seems their efforts to market a proper anniversary single was still off track as the catalog number for the B-side was not corrected and still show the wrong number. These singles were available for sale at around 10$.
Today was the long awaited (for some) release of the Beatles remastered vinyl box set. The box is similar to the black stereo CD box set, but of course, includes the LPs and the 200 page book by Kevin Howlett instead.
For the occasion, the official Beatles website prepared a cool turntable-style promotional player allowing to stream and listen to excerpts of all the Beatles songs on a virtual turntable, complete with the image of the actual vinyl UK album spinning before your eyes.
When one visits the "Check out the deluxe box set" link on the bottom of the page, he can see excerpts of the 200 page book, from early in the Beatles career to late in 1970. We know the LPs will be available separately, but many collectors already having MFSL or Japanese pressings in hand, hope that this beautiful book will also be available separately and not exclusively part of the 2012 box set.
NOTE: All images taken from the official Beatles website. Please visite The Beatles website for more details, excerpts of the book and the virtual player.