Know someone who’s a diehard Beatles fan? That’s great—but the extent to which they can claim their expertise with a straight face depends on just how familiar they are with every single track the band recorded. Anyone who wants to don the mantle of Beatles maven ought at least to know their way around the following relatively less-often-heard tracks from the Fab Four.
• “How Do You Do It” (1962): The Beatles’ producer George Martin wanted this song, written by Mitch Murray, to be the band’s debut single. They reluctantly recorded it, but eventually convinced Martin to release “Love Me Do” instead. While released by Gerry and the Pacemakers in March 1963, the Beatles’ version surfaced on bootlegs in the 1970s and was eventually released in 1995 on Anthology 1.
• “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand” (1964): The German language version of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was recorded by The Beatles in Paris in January 1964, along with “Sie Liebt Dich,” a similar reworking of “She Loves You.” EMI’s West German division had been busily persuading manager Brian Epstein and George Martin that they would be unable to sell The Beatles’ records unless they were in German.
• “12-Bar Original” (1965): An attempt at an R&B/soul recording, this was The Beatles’ first instrumental since the group signed to EMI in 1962. Although recorded in 1965, it wasn’t released until 1996, when an edited version was included on Anthology 2. The full uncut version is more than six minutes long. A writing collaboration between all four Beatles, the seemingly improvised song was recorded during sessions for Rubber Soul.
• “Carnival of Light” (1967): Possibly the most sought-after unreleased Beatles track, this was an experimental composition recorded in January 1967. An early excursion into the world of avant garde music, which would culminate more than a year later with the release of John Lennon’s “Revolution 9,” “Carnival of Light” was led by Paul McCartney, and taped in a single day during the “Penny Lane” sessions.
• “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” (1970): One of the strangest songs in The Beatles’ entire canon, this was originally recorded in 1967 but remained unreleased until the “Let It Be” single three years later. A multi-part song containing a nightclub cabaret pastiche and a host of silly voices and effects, “You Know My Name…” was recorded in the weeks following the completion of the Sgt Pepper album.
There are several other “obscure” Beatles songs (none of which are truly obscure, given that the Beatles are the most popular band of all time), but these five should be well-known to any true expert. Peace and love!
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