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Friday, April 21, 2017

Dizzy Miss Lizzy

The second Larry Williams number recorded by the Beatles for Capitol Records on May 10th, 1965 was this screaming rocker.  The boys laid down two satisfactory takes of Dizzy Miss Lizzy before turning their attention to Bad Boy, but they did such a scorching version of the latter song that producer George Martin thought they could do better on the former and so, much to John Lennon's chagrin, they returned to it for several more takes.  The final one, take seven, proved to be the keeper.  Overdubs of John on Hammond organ, Ringo on cowbell and a second lead guitar line by George completed the recording.

Both songs appeared in June on the American album Beatles VI.  While never intended for a British release, Dizzy Miss Lizzy was surprisingly chosen to close the UK album Help!

Though the group had not played the song in years, they displayed a new-found love for it, recording  it on May 26th, only a few weeks after the studio version, for their final BBC program The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket to Ride.  This performance is available on the 1994 collection The Beatles Live at the BBC.

They then revived it for their historic Shea Stadium concert on August 15th (pictured above) and kept it in the set list for the remainder of the 1965 American tour.  The 1977 album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl presents a version created by editing together two separate performances from August 29th and 30th of 1965.

The band may have had a great fondness for the song, but this enthusiasm is not shared by many fans.  The repetitive guitar riff played by George can be unfavorably compared with fingernails on a chalkboard after a while.  He does manage to find a bit more variation in the live performances than he did on the studio recording.  In fact, by the time of the Shea Stadium show, he has already figured out that it is not necessary to play the riff incessantly throughout every verse.

Lennon had such an affinity for the song that he once again revived it for his appearance in Toronto with the Plastic Ono Band in 1969.  Though John can only remember about half of the lyrics, Eric Clapton redeems the number by making the guitar riff more palatable than George ever did.