To begin with, “Misery” is a Beatles’ song from their 1963 album, “Please Please Me”. Indeed, Kenny Lynch covered the song in the same year. Since it is a Beatles’ song, this became the first Lennon-McCartney composition covered by another artist.
Recorded: 11th and 20th February, 1963
Genre: Pop rock
Track Duration: 1:47
Record Label: Parlophone
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
While The Beatles were on tour with Helen Shapiro in late January, 1963, they discovered that she was looking for new material for a country and western album. Record producer, Norrie Paramor, who was also Shapiro’s artist and repertoire manager, said that she would record this in Nashville, Tennessee. With this in mind, he asked The Beatles to compose a suitable song for her.
At the time, The Beatles had net yet released their first album, of course. However, they had chart success with the singles, “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me“. Helen Shapiro was only 16 and already the UK’s most successful female singer. During her UK tour then, The Beatles were fifth on the bill!
On the 26th January, before The Beatles took to the stage at King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, they began writing the song. However, not having spent much time on it there and then, they finished it off at Paul McCartney’s home, 20 Forthlin Road, Liverpool.
“It was our first stab at a ballad and had a little spoken preface. It was co-written. I don’t think either of us dominated on that one, it was just a job, you could have called us hacks, hacking out a song for someone.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Despite their efforts, Norrie Paramor declined the song.
On the same Helen Shapiro tour was singer, Kenny Lynch, who took up the song offer and then released it as a pop record. This was the first time that another artist was to cover a Lennon-McCartney composition. However, Lynch failed to chart with the song and The Beatles decided to cover it themselves.
While on the tour bus, Lynch once criticised the band’s ability to compose music after offering his help to write a song. After The Beatles disbanded, Paul McCartney created the band Wings, and in 1973 they released the album “Band On The Run”. Kenny Lynch appears on this cover, he is the second from the left.
The Beatles began recording the song “Misery” on the 11th February, 1963, for their first album, Please Please Me. Moreover, on this day, they recorded most of the album in one long recording session. They recorded 11 takes of this particular song with George Martin overdubbing his piano piece on the 20th February.
Just to point out that all the album tracks on the Please Please Me album, including “Misery”, has the credits going to McCartney-Lennon. However, they corrected that after this album.