CLASSIC ROCK HISTORY OF THE 1960\’S

The Beatles- “Baby It’s You”

The song Baby It’s you was originally written by Burt Bacharach, Luther Dixon, and Mack David. It was first recorded by Shirelles who released it as a single in 1961 with Luther Dixon as the producer. The song became a hit song with its most notable feature being the minor to major chord changes within the verses.

The Beatles first performed the song as a stage act in 1961 which was later followed by its release in 1963 as one of the songs on their first album. The Beatles version was a rock and roll, unlike the Shirelles one which was R&B/soul. The Beatles version also differs from the Shirelles one as it repeats the second verse and not the first one. There is also a live version of the song that was released by the Beatles in 1994 where the second verse after the solo is not repeated, but the first one is. The Beatles version has a definite ending which is not so in the original version as it was a fade out.

The Beatles- “Chains”

“Chains” was composed and written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King who were husband and wife. The original record was done by the Everly Brothers but did not release it. Ahead of Beatles rock cover, the song was released by the cookies as a single in 1962. The Cookies Version was R&B pop and was popularly used by Liverpool bands as a cover song and was their first hit song. The song was later included in the Beatles live performances which led to them recording it later in 1963. The Beatles included more instrumentals in performing the song changing the genre of the song which could be the reason for its frequent performances on radio shows such as BBC making the song gain popularity.

Rolling Stones- “Can I Get a Witness”

The song was composed by Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland and originally released by Marvin Gaye as R&B soul. The song popularized the phrase “can I get a witness” which is commonly used in black’s churches having a very spiritual implication.

The original version of “Can I get a Witness” was constructed with a melody that was almost gospel with the handclap beats and the jazzy horns making it cross with pop. The rolling stones version was more of the original only with some changes. The keys were lowered some few notches giving the song more of a rock beat and included piano playing in the cover version.

The Yardbirds- “Smokestack Lightning”

The song “Smokestack Lightning” was written by Chester Burnett who was also known as Howlin Wolf. Howlin Wolf was also the first one to record the song and to perform it. “Smokestack Lightning” is not only the essence of the blues but also a way of playing out hurt, anger, lust, and longing.

The original version of the song is a blue, unlike the “Yardbirds” version which is a rock and roll which is one of the best interpretations of a pure blue song. It sounds like E-minor due to its flatted blue notes taking the form of one-chord Vamp. The “Yardbirds” performed the song with more instrumentals such as the guitar and changed the version of the song from blues to rock and roll.

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