John Lennon recorded this medley of two Little Richard songs for his 1975 album Rock ‘N’ Roll.
‘Rip It Up’ was written by Robert Blackwell and John Marascalco, and was first recorded by Bill Haley And His Comets and Little Richard in 1956. Little Richard’s version was more successful, topping the R&B Best Sellers chart for two weeks and reaching number 17 on the US pop charts.
The Beatles had performed a medley of ‘Rip It Up/Shake, Rattle And Roll/Blue Suede Shoes’ during their January 1969 sessions for Let It Be. It was released in October 1996 on the Anthology 3 collection.
Lennon incorporated the opening line from ‘Rip It Up’ into the Walls And Bridge song ‘What You Got’, singing: “Well it’s Saturday night and I just gotta rip it up”
‘Ready Teddy’ was also written by Blackwell and Marascalco, and was also a hit for Little Richard in 1956. It was subsequently covered by a range of rock ‘n’ roll performers including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Tony Sheridan.
The two songs were combined into one medley for Lennon’s Rock ‘N’ Roll album, with Lennon in fine voice and giving one of his strongest performances of the time – his enthusiasm for singing Little Richard’s songs was clearly strong.
The performance of ‘Ready Teddy’ was edited prior to release, but was preserved for the John Lennon Anthology box set. The Anthology version shows how the song sounded prior to the brass overdubs; it was also edited slightly when included on the highlights collection Wonsaponatime.