Carol

Live At The BBC album artworkWritten by: Chuck Berry
Recorded: 2 July 1963

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

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

Available on:
Live At The BBC

This Chuck Berry song was recorded for the Pop Go The Beatles radio show on 2 July 1963.

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The session took place at the BBC's Maida Vale Studios in London, and was broadcast on 16 July.

When I got the [first] guitar I'd play it for a little bit then give up, then take it up again. It took me about two years, on and off, to be able to strum tunes without thinking. I think I had one lesson, but it was so much like school that I gave up. I learnt mostly by picking up bits here and there... I learnt the solos on Johnny B Goode and Carol, but I couldn't play the one on Blue Suede Shoes. In those days I was very much influenced by Chuck Berry, Scotty Moore and Carl Perkins.
John Lennon, 1971
Anthology

The Beatles also recorded a number of other songs during the session; interestingly, five of the six songs were never attempted by the group for EMI. The songs played were:

Only one song, There's A Place, was a Lennon-McCartney original. What's more, none of the cover versions were recorded again for the radio by The Beatles, making this one of the most interesting of the group's 53 BBC sessions.

The 2 July session took place just over a fortnight before recording began for With The Beatles, and it's possible that the group were trying out potential material for the second album.

Carol was one of the songs on The Rolling Stones' self-titled debut in April 1964, almost a year after The Beatles' version was broadcast. The Beatles' attempt, however, wasn't released until 1994, when it was included on the Live At The BBC collection.

Lyrics

Oh Carol
Don't let him steal your heart away
Well I've a-got to learn to dance
If it takes me all night and day

Well come into my machine so we can move on out
I know a jumping little joint where we can jump and shout
It's not too far back on the highway, not too long a ride
Well you take your car along and you park it outside.
A little cutie takes your hat and you can thank her, ma'am
Well every time you're gonna drive you find the joint is jammed

Oh Carol
Don't let him steal your heart away
Well I've a-got to learn to dance
If it takes me all night and day

Ow!
Ow!

Well if you want to hear some music like the boys all play
Hold tight, tap your foot, don't let it carry you away
Don't let the heat overcome you 'cause they play so loud
While the music will treat you when they get a crowd
Well you can dance I know you will, you thought
I got my eyes on you baby, 'cause you dance so good

Don't let him steal your heart away
I've a-got to learn to dance
If it takes me all night and day
Well I've a-got to learn to dance
If it takes you all night and day

4 responses on “Carol

  1. Elsewhere Man

    Song of the day for 4 Feb. Who can resist John Lennon singing a Chuck Berry tune and going “ow!” during the instrumental break.

    The Stones did their version of this but, once again, The Beatles did it better…

    1. Mick

      Did The Beatles do “Carol” better than The Rolling Stones?

      Sorry, have to disagree strongly on that one.

      The Beatles’ version lacks energy in every department, and Lennon’s vocal are almost non-commited.

      The Rolling Stones version is a power-house and is one of the highlights of their debut album. The solo Keith Richards does, the tempo and Mick Jagger’s vocal performance are pure magic.

      In The Beatles’ defense, had they chose to record it for record, they might have pushed more energy into their performance.

      1. JET!

        Yeah I’m going to have to agree with that. The Stones owned that song, they totally rocked it. The Beatles version sounds very…Beatley I guess, and different, and I still like it.

        I can’t decide if I like the Stones version better or Chucks. Anyway, it’s an awesome song.

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