Written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon-McCartney, ‘Bad To Me’ was the second single released by Billy J Kramer with The Dakotas.

In 1980 Lennon claimed to have written ‘Bad To Me’ while on holiday in Barcelona, Spain, in April 1963.

I was on holiday with Brian Epstein in Spain, where the rumours went around that he and I were having a love affair. Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship.

It was my first experience with a homosexual that I was conscious was homosexual. He had admitted it to me. We had this holiday together because Cyn was pregnant, and I went to Spain and there were lots of funny stories. We used to sit in a cafe in Torremolinos looking at all the boys and I’d say, ‘Do you like that one, do you like this one?’ I was rather enjoying the experience, thinking like a writer all the time: I am experiencing this, you know. And while he was out on the tiles one night, or lying asleep with a hangover one afternoon, I remember playing him the song ‘Bad To Me’. That was a commissioned song, done for Billy J Kramer, who was another of Brian’s singers. From Liverpool.

John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

A demo recording of ‘Bad To Me’ was released as a digital download on 17 December 2013, as part of the Bootleg Recordings 1963 collection. While the bulk of the album consisted of Beatles recordings, the final two tracks were demos; the other was of ‘I’m In Love’, which was recorded in 1963 by The Fourmost.

The ‘Bad To Me’ demo was recorded in either May or June 1963. It is mostly a solo Lennon performance, although a harmony vocal part is evident towards the end. This was most likely either Lennon double-tracking his vocals, or McCartney making a brief appearance.

The purpose of the demo is unclear, since Kramer later recalled Lennon teaching him the song at a piano. It was quite possibly for publishing purposes; an acetate disc of the recording had a Dick James Music Ltd label; James was Lennon and McCartney’s publisher.

The acetate, previously owned by Brian Epstein’s assistant Alistair Taylor, was sold at Sotheby’s auction house on 22 December 1981 for just £308.

Kramer’s version was recorded at EMI Studios, Abbey Road, on 26 June 1963. Paul McCartney was present during the session, which was produced by George Martin.

The single was released on 26 July 1963 as Parlophone R5049. It had another Lennon-McCartney song, ‘I Call Your Name’, on the b-side.

‘Bad To Me’ became Kramer’s first UK number one. ‘Bad To Me’ was his second single – the first had been a cover version of ‘Do You Want To Know A Secret’, which peaked at number two in the UK.

The single was released in the US in 1964, and reached number nine in the charts.

‘Bad To Me’ was performed by Kramer during the Granada TV special The Music of Lennon and McCartney, filmed in Manchester on 1 and 2 November 1965.

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