Five 'With the Beatles' Deep Cuts That Illustrate Their Lasting Debt to R&B -

Monday, November 20, 2023

As any Beatles student knows, the four made no secret of their love for R&B. Before they conquered the world, they cut their teeth on tracks by Little Richard, Arthur Alexander, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Larry Williams and numerous Motown acts. Throughout their careers, The Beatles (as a group and as solo artists) interpreted soul and blues in a unique fashion, adding that pounding Ringo Starr backbeat and John Lennon’s slightly raspy vocals to lend them an edge. “All I’ve Got to Do,” a standout track from their second album, blends rock and soul in a particularly sophisticated yet catchy way.

In 1980, primary composer Lennon labeled “All I’ve Got to Do” as “me trying to do Smokey Robinson again.” While Lennon lacks Robinson’s patented falsetto, he does turn in a memorable vocal on this song. In fact, his emotion-packed singing ranks as one of his finest performances, both in his Beatles and solo years. “And the same goes for me, whenever you want me at all – I’ll be there, yes I will, whenever you call,” he cries, his voice rising in pitch and volume.

Source: Kit O'Toole/


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