Tuesday, 3 February 2015

SINGLE: Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers - Got To Get You Into My Life (1966)

Image from my own collection. Click for a larger view.

UK: Parlophone R5489 (Aug 1966)

I once knew someone who was of the opinion that nobody, and I mean nobody, should be allowed to cover Beatles songs. EVER. His reasoning was that, since they were by the Beatles, they couldn't be bettered, so why bother? Never mind the fact that Yesterday is the most covered song in popular music history, he stood firm on this theory.

My response was: Have you ever heard Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers' version of Got To Get You In To My Life? A version which, dare I say it, is better than the Beatles version?

Before enraged Beatles fans armed with torches and pitchforks drag me off to be sacrificed (which was pretty much his reaction), let me explain myself...

The song was originally envisaged as Paul McCartney's homage to the sounds coming from Motown, Stax and the like in the mid-60's. In an interview some time ago, he once bemoaned the fact that the Beatles' recording had never quite managed to capture what he heard in his head when writing it.

Jump forward shortly afterwards, and the fab four's Parlophone labelmates were in Abbey Road studios laying down their version. EMI staff producer David Paramor was assigned for the session, but the story goes that McCartney happened to be there that evening and decided to listen in.

Cliff Bennett's band had spent a good few years honing a powerful live act, playing just the type of music McCartney had been hoping to emulate with the song. If any group could capture the sound he had striven for, it was the Rebel Rousers.

As the session progressed, McCartney became increasingly hands-on, making suggestions and adjustments, apparently with the approval of both the group and Paramor. The end result was unleashed on vinyl in August 1966, reaching number 6 in the UK. An American release on ABC completely missed the US charts. Their loss.

The Beatles' recording, the penultimate track on Revolver, is a great, great record. However, Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers send the song soaring into the stratosphere.

Here it is, in its slightly longer, original mono single mix. You lucky people. Play it loud.

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