“Carol” is a Chuck Berry song but The Beatles recorded a cover version in 1963. It’s now available on the 1994 album, “Live At The BBC”.
Recorded: 2nd July, 1963
Track Duration: 2:36
Genre: Rock and roll, rhythm & blues
Record Label: Apple
Songwriter: Chuck Berry
Producer: Terry Henebery
To begin with, Chuck Berry released the single “Carol” in August, 1958 with the B-side being, “Hey Pedro”. His record managed to reach the top 20 of both the Billboard’s Hot 100 (18) and the R&B chart (9). The Rolling Stones also recorded a version of it for their self-titled debut album in 1964. However, The Beatles recorded it before Mick Jagger’s band in 1963.
The Beatles recorded more Chuck Berry songs than those from any other artist because they were big fans of his. They had access to most of the songs coming to the UK from across the pond. They were keen on the rock and roll ones in particular. Not surprising then when the Fab Four took this one under their wing.
“When I got the guitar I’d play it for a little bit then give up, then take it up again. It took me about two years, on and off, to be able to strum tunes without thinking. I think I had one lesson, but it was so much like school that I gave up, I learnt mostly by picking up bits here and there… I learnt the solos on Johnny B Goode and Carol, but I couldn’t play the one on Blue Suede Shoes. In those days I was very much influenced by Chuck Berry, Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins.”
Obviously, just like other budding stars of that period, The Beatles would sing many cover versions.
Although the Fab Four never recorded this at the EMI studios, it is a clear enough recording. Indeed, the band would take advantage of the free publicity from their shows on BBC Radio. All in all they recorded 52 programmes for BBC Radio.
They recorded “Carol” at the BBC’s Maida Vale Studios in London on the 2nd July, 1963. This was for airing on their “Pop Go The Beatles” radio show on the 16th. As a result, we now find it on their 1994 album, “Live At The BBC”. Indeed, this is on disc 1 after track 15, “That’s All Right (Mama)” and before, “Soldier of Love“