The Chris Barber Band records Catcall

Chappell Recording Studios, London
Producers: Chris Barber, Giorgio Gomelsky, Reggie Kind

During the Quarry Men days Paul McCartney had written a jazz-style instrumental titled ‘Catswalk’, which was never properly recorded by The Beatles. A rehearsal from late 1962 at the Cavern Club had been recorded, however.

McCartney knew band leader Chris Barber, who played trombone with his trad jazz group, The Chris Barber Band, and decided to offer him the song. The band recorded a version at London’s Marquee Club in July 1967, but McCartney felt it could be done better.

Paul McCartney and the Chris Barber Band, 20 July 1967

The session took place on 20 July 1967 at Chappell Recording Studios at 52 Maddox Street, London. The retitled track was recorded as ‘Catcall’. The tune was given an over-the-top arrangement complete with a chorus of catcalls: McCartney and Jane Asher were among the people taking part in what was evidently a fun session.

McCartney can also be heard calling “Please play it slower” before the half-speed coda, and singing the chorus of “For he’s a jolly good fellow”. He is likely to have also played organ on the recording.

‘Catcall’ was released as a single in the UK on 20 October 1967, with McCartney given a composer credit. Despite its impeccable pedigree, it failed to chart.

Last updated: 13 October 2021
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  1. Michael Friday 7 August 2020

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