Your Daily Beatle Break
Long Tall Sally
Written by: Johnson-Penniman-Blackwell
Recorded: 1 March 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
Released: 19 June 1964 (UK), 10 April 1964 (US)
Live At The BBC
On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass
John Lennon: lead guitar, rhythm guitar
George Harrison: lead guitar, rhythm guitar
Ringo Starr: drums
George Martin: piano
The Beatles’ version of Little Richard’s rock ‘n’ roll classic ‘Long Tall Sally’ was recorded in a single take during the sessions for A Hard Day’s Night.
‘Long Tall Sally’ was originally released by Little Richard in March 1956, and was a staple of The Beatles’ live set from 1957 right up to their final show in San Francisco in August 1966 – the most enduring of any of their songs.
Little Richard was one of the all-time greats. The first time I heard him a friend of mine had been to Holland and brought back a 78 with ‘Long Tall Sally’ on one side, and ‘Slippin’ And Slidin” on the other. It blew our heads – we’d never heard anybody sing like that in our lives and all those saxes playing like crazy.
The Beatles had played with Little Richard in England and Hamburg during the early 1960s, and Paul McCartney was especially proud of his ability to mimic his hero’s vocal delivery.
One of the things I didn’t like about the film Backbeat is that they gave ‘Long Tall Sally’ to the John character. I was not amused. I always sang that: me and Little Richard.
‘Long Tall Sally’ was taped in the midst of the sessions for the A Hard Day’s Night album. It is possible that the song was considered for inclusion in the film, possibly during the live finale, but was deemed to be surplus to requirements.
In the UK it was first released as the lead song on the Long Tall Sally EP. The US heard it two months earlier, on The Beatles’ Second Album.
The Beatles included ‘Long Tall Sally’ during Around The Beatles, a TV show for the ITV network filmed on 19 April 1964. That version can be found on Anthology 1.
An earlier radio version, recorded on 16 July 1963 and broadcast on 13 August, was included on Live At The BBC. The Beatles recorded six other versions of ‘Long Tall Sally’ for BBC radio between 1 April 1963 and 17 July 1964.
In the studio
The Beatles recorded ‘Long Tall Sally’ in a single take on 1 March 1964. Having played it so often live, they simply had no need to record it twice.
The song featured two guitar solos, the first played by John Lennon and the second by George Harrison.
During the same session, which lasted from 10am to 1.30pm, The Beatles also completed ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You’ and ‘I Call Your Name’.