Baby It's You
|Usually referred to as a Shiirelles' song but written by Bacharach, Dixon & (Mack) David
On their first two albums The Beatles covered several songs by contemporary black artists.Most had been minor hits in the US but were comparatively unfamiliar to British record buyers. The Shirelle's fitted this template and provided two songs for Please Please Me.
|Publicity photo of The Shirelles - public domain.
The Shirelles were a leading example of what has been described as the "naive schoolgirl sound". This combined the sweetness of the Doo Wop sound with an expression of teenage angst.
Formed by four teenage schoolgirls in New Jersey in 1958 they had a US number one with Will You Love Me Tomorrow in 1960. This was swiftly followed by another top three hit Dedicated to the One I Love before their chart progress stuttered.
Burt Bacharach had written Magic Moments for Perry Como but was not yet a household name. When he offered The Shirelles a new song called I'll Cherish You, they loved the tune and arrangement but thought the words too demur. They also demanded a better title.
Bacharach and his then writing partner Mac David (brother of Hal) came back with what was now called Baby It's You. This had what Macdonald describes as 'quietly vicious' lyrics ('Cheat! Cheat') as counterpoint to the 'ethereal kitsch' of the music.
A daring approach to a pop song . The Shirelles simply added their vocals onto the Bacharach's home-produced demo and released the single.
Baby It's You reached number 8 in the US in 1961.
The Beatles version
Baby It's You became a staple of The Beatles live set in 1961. The following year they recorded their version in three takes for their first album.
Their arrangement mirrors that of the Shirelles, but interestingly the sound is distinctive. As David Hepworth has pointed out The Beatles never sound remotely like the artists they cover.
This live performance is an improvement on the studio recording. It contains and impressively soulful lead vocal from John — who manages the higer notes more comfortably than he does on the LP. George’s backing vocal is also prominent.
The Beatles generally referred to Baby It’s You as a ‘Shirelles song’. This downplaying of Burt’s contribution was initially unconscious. Songwriters were far down the pecking order in the pop world they aspired to.
Bacharach-Williams-David (Mack rather than Hal in this case) was simply another combination of names on record label.
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