Like a lot of bands in their early development, The Beatles would cover certain songs. Indeed, this Fab Four song, “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” is one of those cover versions.
Release Date: 30th November, 1994
Genre: Rock and roll, rhythm and blues
Track Duration: 2:14
Record Label: Apple Records
Songwriter: Terry Thompson
Producer: George Martin
A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues
Firstly, Terry Thompson wrote the song originally. Arthur Alexander then sang the song and it was a single release in the US in 1961. It was also a single release in the UK in 1962 with the B-side “You Better Move On”. Obviously, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Therefore, it is clear that at least one of the Fab Four admired Arthur Alexander’s release. As the title suggests, the song is an R&B number.
The Beatles were masters at their game and their cover versions of various songs allowed the band to become favourites on the live scene. Although they never sang “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” in the Cavern Club, they did perform it on occasions elsewhere.
“Recording was always the thing. Rather than TV and films. TV and films were a possibility, if we became stars, but records were the main objective. That was what we bought, that was what we dealt in. It was the currency of music: records. That’s where we got our repertoire from, the b-sides, the Shot Of Rhythm And Blues, the lesser known stuff that we helped bring to the fore, the R&B stuff.”
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
Although The Beatles didn’t record “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” professionally at Abbey Road, they did for BBC Radio. In fact, they recorded it three times for various BBC Radio programmes. Luckily for Beatlemaniacs, those recordings still exist and at least one version is commercially available.
The version on their 1994 album, “Live At The BBC”, comes from a recording on the 1st August, 1963 at the Playhouse Theatre, Manchester. The BBC broadcast this recording on the 27th August, 1963 during an episode of the “Pop Go The Beatles” show.
The beginning few notes of the song sounds similar to that of “Twist And Shout” but other than that, they stay close to the version by Arthur Alexander. On the album, the song is track 9 on disc 1 where it comes after “Young Blood” and before “Sure To Fall (In Love With You)“.