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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Bad Boy

The Beatles were in the final days of filming their second feature Help! when a request arrived from Capitol Records in the USA.  The American record label was assembling a compilation album and was still in need of a couple tracks to make up the usual total of eleven on a standard US release.  So, on the evening of May 10th, 1965, after a full day of shooting, the boys reported to Abbey Road Studios to see what they could come up with on such short notice.

They were not scheduled to begin recording songs for the non-soundtrack side of the Help! album for another month and presumably were not willing to sacrifice any compositions they had prepared for that purpose.  They therefore looked to their pre-fame stage act for any songs that would specifically appeal to their American audience and came up with a pair from one of John's favorite rockers - the relatively obscure Larry Williams.  The group had recorded Williams' scorcher Slow Down the previous year for the Long Tall Sally EP.  They now turned their attention to Dizzy Miss Lizzie and Bad Boy - two songs by Williams that had been part of their lengthy set list in both Hamburg and Liverpool.

The band knew Bad Boy so well that only four takes were necessary to arrive at the master with everyone playing their usual instruments.  They then overdubbed John on organ, Paul on electric piano, a second lead guitar part by George and Ringo on tambourine, plus John's incredible lead vocal.

The song was a perfect choice for its targeted American audience with its references to a hula hoop, a jukebox, chewing gum and a laundromat.  The recordings of Bad Boy and Dizzy Miss Lizzie were quickly dashed off to Capitol Records and they appeared roughly five weeks later on the album Beatles VI, released on June 14th.

Though not intended for that purpose, Dizzy Miss Lizzie was soon added to the British album Help!, but Bad Boy was kept in reserve for a year and a half.  It finally materialized in the UK on the first greatest hits package A Collection of Beatles' Oldies in December of 1966 as a sort of bonus track. 

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