Act Naturally

Help! album artworkWritten by: Morrison-Russell
Recorded: 17 June 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 6 August 1965 (UK), 13 September 1965 (US)

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

Available on:
Help!

The last cover version recorded by The Beatles until the Get Back sessions in 1969, Act Naturally was sung by Ringo Starr and appeared in the second half of the Help! album.

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The country and western song, written by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison, was first released by Buck Owens in 1963. It topped the US Billboard country singles chart that year. It was recorded by The Beatles as a replacement for If You’ve Got Trouble.

I sang Act Naturally in Help! I found it on a Buck Owens record and I said, ‘This is the one I am going to be doing,’ and they said ‘OK’. We were listening to all kinds of things.
Ringo Starr
Anthology

In America the song was first released on 13 September 1965 as the b-side of the Yesterday single. On 20 June 1966 it appeared on the Yesterday… And Today album.

Although Act Naturally was never a part of The Beatles repertoire before they recorded it, they did perform it during an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show, taped on 14 August 1965 and broadcast on 12 September.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded Act Naturally on 17 June 1965. They recorded it in 13 takes – the first 12 were essentially rehearsals, with Starr’s vocals making their first and only appearance on the final attempt.

The arrangement was simple, and varied only slightly from the original. McCartney sang backing vocals, and Harrison performed some suitable country and western lead guitar licks.

Lyrics

They’re gonna put me in the movies
They’re gonna make a big star out of me
We’ll make a film about a man that’s sad and lonely
And all I gotta do is act naturally

Well, I’ll bet you I’m gonna be a big star
Might win an Oscar, you can never tell
The movie’s gonna make me a big star
‘Cause I can play the part so well

Well I hope you’ll come and see me in the movies
Then I’ll know that you will plainly see
The biggest fool that ever hit the big time
And all I gotta do is act naturally

We’ll make the scene about a man that’s sad and lonely
And begging down upon his bended knee
I’ll play the part and I won’t need rehearsing
All I have to do is act naturally

Well, I’ll bet you I’m gonna be a big star
Might win an Oscar, you can never tell
The movie’s gonna make me a big star
‘Cause I can play the part so well

Well I hope you’ll come and see me in the movies
Then I’ll know that you will plainly see
The biggest fool that ever hit the big time
And all I gotta do is act naturally

9 Responses to “Act Naturally”

  1. Jaelene Morrison-Morris

    Can anyone tell me if “Act Naturally” is anywhere on the Beatles Rock Band or if it will be available to play on the game at a future date? Thank you, Jaelene (Daughter of co-owner of Act Naturally, Voni Morrison)

    Reply
  2. Tom Wotus

    Actually, ol’ Ringo did quite well on this one–NOT so hot on ED SULLIVAN though as
    ringo stated himself: “nervous and out of tune”. Here’s one where I like the STEREO version as well as the MONO. The only major difference is the reverb at the breaks before the refrain- still, pretty listeneable !

    Reply
  3. thoof2001

    I have to say that this is an improvement on ol’ Buck’s version. The boys seemed to swing it a little more; really dig George’s country licks, too.

    Reply
  4. Fred Bloggs

    I find it an interesting commentary on the current state of affairs, vis-à-vis concepts of “intellectual property”, that Voni Morrison is identified as “co-owner”, not co-writer, of Act Naturally. Apparently, authorship is now considered irrelevant, with ownership being all-important… (Of course, the controlling factor is the supreme primacy of the almighty dollar in today’s world. :P)

    Reply
  5. Bill

    And Buck & the Buckaroos paid back the compliment by imitating The Beatles at their Carnegie Hall concert in 1966, which Capitol recorded.

    Reply

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