Music of Lennon &
Editor’s Note: Johnny Hamp originally booked the Beatles for his ‘People and Places’ programme on 17 December 1962 and used the group regularly.
A few years later he was to comment, “I first saw the Beatles in a club in Hamburg, They were very scruffy characters but they had a beat to their music which I liked.”
Esther Phillips was born Esther Mae Jones in Houston, Texas on 23 December 1935. At the age of 13 she began singing with the Johnny Otis Revue under the name Little Esther. She dropped the ‘Little’ in 1962 and had a number of hits, including ‘Release Me’ and ‘What a Diff’rence A Day Makes.’
She recorded the Lennon & McCartney composition ‘And I Love Him’, issued by Atlantic Records on 22 May 1965. Paul McCartney was so pleased with her rendition of the song at the time that he said it was the best cover version of any Beatles number. When John and Paul were involved in the making of ‘The Music of Lennon & McCartney’ they sent a cable to Esther, who was performing in cabaret in Bermuda, inviting her to appear on their show to sing ‘And I Love Him.’ She completed her engagement in the West Indies and flew to Manchester to appear in the special.
She was thrilled that they’d contacted her and said, “I wanted so much to meet the Beatles in the States but every time I hit town on my own tour, they’d either just been or were coming the next week. I never met four young men before who are all in the genius class.”
Esther died of liver and kidney failure on 7 August 1984.
‘A World Without Love’ was the first of four songs Paul gave to Peter Asher, brother of his girlfriend Jane Asher. The Beatles never recorded the number and it wasn’t part of their repertoire. John Lennon was particularly amused by the opening words to the song: ‘Please lock me away…”
I was particularly amused by Cilla’s performance of ‘It’s For You’ because, wearing a tiny mini skirt, she slowly sang as she walked down the stairs of a scaffolding section of scenery with John and Paul waiting at the bottom – with John obviously looking up her skirt! Like ‘A World Without Love’, ‘It’s For You’ was penned by Paul.
‘Yesterday’, of course, was also written by Paul. Paul had originally told Marianne that he’d give her a song and actually wrote one for her called ‘Etcetera’, but decided it wasn’t good enough to record. As a result, Marianne became Paul’s personal choice to record ‘Yesterday’ and during one evening at a party he played her an acetate of his version. When she recorded ‘Yesterday’, he attended her recording session at Decca Studios on 11 October 1965 and the record was released on 22 October 1965.
When she appeared on the special, Pail began singing the number for 22 seconds and the camera them moved to Marianne, who completed the song. The eighteen-year-old singer was three months pregnant at the time, so the camera concentrated on a head and shoulders shot throughout.
However, it was singer Matt Monro who reached No. 8 in the British charts with the number while Marianne barely scraped in, her highest position being No. 36.
Dick Rivers was one of the major French rockers of the Sixties, along with Johnny Hallyday. He was born Herve Fornieri in the south of France on 24 April 1945. He called himself Dick Rivers after the name of the character played by Elvis Presley in the film ‘Loving You’ and he recorded French versions of Lennon & McCartney numbers.
Fritz Spiegl was born in Austria in 1926 and moved to England at the age of 13, eventually settling in Liverpool where he became Principal Flautist with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. He died in March 2003.
Henry Mancini was a major film music composer with songs such as ‘Moon River’ to his credit. He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on 16 April 1924 and died on 14 June 1994.