“Slow Down” is a Beatles’ cover song from The Beatles’ EP, “Long Tall Sally” from 1964. However, it is also available on their “Past Masters” album too. There is also a version on their “Live At The BBC” album as well. Indeed, The Beatles would sing this song regularly in their early live performances.
Release Date: 19th June, 1964 (UK EP), 24th August, 1964 (US single)
Recorded: 1st June, 1964
Genre: Rock and roll
Track Duration: 2:54
Record Label: Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Format: 7 inch EP (UK), single (US)
Songwriter: Larry Williams
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
In September, 1957, Larry Williams originally recorded the song, “Slow Down”. This track became the flip side of “Dizzy, Miss Lizzy” when released as a double A-side single in March, 1958.
Only “Dizzy, Miss Lizzy” reached “Top 100 Sides” chart peaking at number 69 during the week ending April 19, 1958. This is a description of the song’s instrumentation by the backing musicians at the time:
“Unstoppable, nongimmicky, almost careening out of control with its pounding piano and booting sax”.
Of course, The Beatles recorded both songs. Not only that, but these two songs were part of the Beatles’ live repertoire in their early gigging days.
The Beatles began recording “Slow Down” on the 1st June, 1964, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios in London (2.30pm-5.30pm sessions). All in all, the band recorded six takes with take six becoming the rhythm track. Then the overdubbing of John Lennon’s double-tracked vocals began.
On the 4th June, further overdubbing took place with a piano piece from George Martin and the track was then complete. However, the recording was raw and lacked the usual Beatles’ authority.
“One of the Beatles’ least successful rock-and-roll covers”, lacking “bottom, drive and basic cohesion”. Furthermore, “The guitar solo is embarrassing and the sound balance a shambles”.
Revolution in the Head
MacDonald also criticised the way dropouts seemed to occur in the recording. For example, the piano fades out which is noticeable at 1 minute and 14 seconds. Then, Paul McCartney’s bass goes missing in places!
As was usual in the early sixties, The Beatles would feature heavily on BBC Radio. So, on the 16th of July, 1963, they recorded a version at the BBC Paris Theatre in London for the radio show called “Pop Go The Beatles”. Then, on the 20th August, 1963, presenter, Rodney Burke, played the song on the show.