Written by: Johnson
Recorded: 14 August; 18 October 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
Released: 4 December 1964 (UK), 15 December 1964 (US)
A staple of The Beatles’ live act for some years, Mr Moonlight was recorded by the group during sessions for their fourth LP, Beatles For Sale.
The song was written by Roy Lee Johnson. The first known recording was by blues pianist Piano Red, recording as Dr Feelgood and the Interns. It was released as the b-side of Dr Feelgood, a minor R&B hit in 1962.
In the studio
The Beatles attempted the song twice in the studio in 1964. The first time was on 14 August, when they recorded four takes – the last of these was for a time considered the best.
Anthology 1 contains takes one and four. The first broke down almost immediately; take four was complete, and featured a frantic slide guitar solo by George Harrison.
The Beatles re-made the song on 18 October. Again they recorded four takes, the last two of which featured McCartney’s somewhat gaudy Hammond organ solo.
Despite a blistering vocal from John Lennon, Mr Moonlight is held by many Beatles fans as one of the least successful songs in their catalogue.