“That Means A Lot” is a Beatles’ song which was for their film soundtrack album, Help! However, the band didn’t like the sound as the track was developing. As a result, there was no official release of the song until 1996.
Recorded: 20th February, 1965
Track Duration: 2:26
Record Label: Apple
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
That Means A Lot
In spite of this being a Beatles song, written mostly by Paul McCartney, the band found it difficult to perform at the time. In view of this, they offered it to American singer, PJ Proby. He then took it to number 30 in the UK charts albeit with a slower version of the song.
The prolific songwriters also had a little to say about the song in their interviews:
“The song is a ballad which Paul and I wrote for the film but we found we just couldn’t sing it. In fact, we made a hash of it, so we thought we’d better give it to someone who could do it well.”
New Musical Express from 1965
“Normally I’d try and bury these songs and not put them out but there was so much pressure from people, they’d say, ‘Have you got anything?’ I’d say, ‘I have, but you really don’t want to see them.’ They’d say, ‘I do! Believe me, I think I can make a good job of it, and your name on it would be a big plus.’ So PJ Proby, a friend of ours that we met during the Jack Good television show that we did, Round The Beatles, wanted to do it, so I gave it to him. He had a minor hit with it.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The version of “That Means A Lot” that we hear on the Anthology 2 album comes from a recording session on the 20th February, 1965. This was in Studio 2 of the EMI Studios in London during the 12.00pm-5.15pm recording session. Indeed there was just one single take necessary for the rhythm track. Obviously, after the overdubbing session, they were not happy with the result.
Just to point out that after their disappointment, they recorded the song again (takes 20-25). However, they scrapped the song at this stage as they just couldn’t manage it. But, none of those recordings are commercially available.
Music critic, Ian MacDonald, describes the song as “a botch, rightly excluded from the Help! album”. He also says it is “an attempt to rewrite Lennon’s Ticket to Ride… to which take 1 of ‘That Means a Lot’ bears a blatant resemblance”. He further claims that the song “reveals the Beatles in the unfamiliar roles of blunderers in the dark”.