Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Larry Williams triple play (Beatles Week)

The Beatles

Long Tall Sally EP
"Slow Down"

Beatles VI
"Bad Boy"

"Dizzy Miss Lizzy"

Rock and roll records were rare in Liverpool in the late 50s, and virtually nonexistent on the radio. Fans had to take whatever records they could get, and they would wear these records out. It appears that at some point John Lennon got a hold of a Larry Williams record, and went on to wear it out.

By the time the Beatles got back from Hamburg, they had probably performed every rock and roll song they had ever heard, including the three Larry Williams numbers in this post.

On the evidence of these performances, there was indeed nobody that could touch them, in Britain or elsewhere.

Larry Williams is today regarded as something of an early rock and roll pioneer, but I wonder how much of that has to do with these Beatles performances, which eclipse Williams' originals – in quality, in energy – by a wide mark.

Williams himself had an interesting life. He was a wild, self-destructive man who met a violent death under questionable circumstances (see his wikipedia entry for more details). Today, his greatest contributions to the world seems to be giving John Lennon an excuse to scream rock and rock songs over a hard driving beat. That'll do.