A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues

Live At The BBC album artworkWritten by: Terry Thompson
Recorded: 1 August 1963
Producer: Terry Henebery

Released: 30 November 1994 (UK), 5 December 1994 (US)

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, bass
George Harrison: harmony vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums

Available on:
Live At The BBC

In addition to recording his Anna (Go To Him) for Please Please Me, The Beatles also recorded Arthur Alexander's A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues for the BBC.

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Recording was always the thing. Rather than TV and films. TV and films were a possibility, if we became stars, but records were the main objective. That was what we bought, that was what we dealt in. It was the currency of music: records. That's where we got our repertoire from, the b-sides, the Shot Of Rhythm And Blues, the lesser known stuff that we helped bring to the fore, the R&B stuff.
Paul McCartney
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn

A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues was an occasional feature of The Beatles' live set; US soul singer Arthur Alexander was a particular favourite of John Lennon's. Alexander's version was first released in the UK in March 1962, as the b-side of You Better Move On.

A lot of our [early] tracks may not have been 'cool'. I think if we'd just been cool, we wouldn't have made it how we did. But that was a great aspect of us. John would do A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues or You Really Got A Hold On Me - you could call that cool.
Paul McCartney
Anthology

The group recorded A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues on three occasions, each time for BBC radio. The first time was on 1 June 1963, for the Pop Go The Beatles programme. It was broadcast on 18 June, and was taped at the BBC Paris Studio in London.

The Beatles recorded it again on 17 July, and it was broadcast on the 21st. This time it was for Easy Beat, recorded at the Playhouse Theatre, London. The Beatles tried out a slightly slower arrangement than before, and George Harrison played a slightly bluesy, if brief, guitar break. This was the only one of the group's versions to be performed in front of a live audience.

The third attempt was later released on Live At The BBC. It was recorded on 1 August 1963 at the Playhouse Theatre, Manchester, and was broadcast on the 27th on Pop Go The Beatles. This final version was the best of the three, again using the slower arrangement of 17 July.

Lyrics

Well if your hands start a-clappin'
And your fingers start a-poppin'
And your feet start a-movin' around
And if you start to swing and sway
When the band starts to play
A real cool and way out sound
And if you get the can't help it
When you can't sit down
You feel like you gotta move around

You get a shot of rhythm and blues
With just a little rock and roll on the side
Just for good measure
You get a pair of dancing shoes
Well, with your lover by your side
Don't you know you're gonna have a lot of pleasure?

Don't you worry 'bout a thing
When you start to dance and sing
And chill bumps come up on you
And if the rhythm finally gets you
And the beat gets there too
Well, here's a thing for you to do

Get a shot of rhythm and blues
With just a little rock and roll on the side
Just for good measure
Get a pair of dancin' shoes
Well, with your lover by your side
Don't you know you're gonna have a lot of pleasure?

Don't you worry 'bout a thing
If you start to dance and sing
And chill bumps come up on you
And if the rhythm finally gets you

And the beat gets there too
Well, here's a thing for you to do

Get a shot of rhythm and blues
Get a pair of dancing shoes
Get a shot of rhythm and blues
Well, with your lover by your side
Don't you know you're gonna have a lot of pleasure?

Don't you worry 'bout a thing
If you start to dance and sing
And chill bumps come up on you
And if the rhythm finally gets you
And the beat gets there too
Well, here's a thing for you to do
Well, here's a thing for you to do
Well, here's a thing for you to do

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