Hello Little Girl

Anthology 1 album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 1 January 1962
Producer: Mike Smith

Released: 21 November 1995

John Lennon: vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, bass
George Harrison: lead guitar
Pete Best: drums

Available on:
Anthology 1

Composed in 1957, Hello Little Girl was the first song written by John Lennon. The Beatles recorded a version of it during their unsuccessful audition for Decca Records on 1 January 1962.

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A home demo of Hello Little Girl, currently available only on bootleg, was recorded in early 1960 with Lennon, McCartney and Harrison on guitar, and Stuart Sutcliffe on bass. While the sound quality is inevitably inferior to the Decca version, and certain lines were only half-written, this early recording shows the strong influence of Buddy Holly on Lennon's early work.

According to Lennon, another influence was Cole Porter's song It's De-Lovely, which first appeared in the 1936 stage musical Red, Hot And Blue.

That was me. That was actually my first song. [Singing] 'When I see you every day I say mmm hmm, hello little girl.' I remember some Thirties or Forties song which was [singing] 'You're delightful, you're delicious and da da da. Isn't it a pity that you are such a scatterbrain.' [Laughing] That always fascinated me for some reason or another. It's also connected to my mother. It's all very Freudian. She used to sing that one. So I made Hello Little Girl out of it.
John Lennon, 1980
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

By the time of the Decca audition, the group had tightened their performance, transforming Hello Little Girl into something approaching a commercially-viable pop song. The vocal harmonies, too, point the way to the sound which would later become a Beatles trademark.

The song was performed for Decca in an attempt to demonstrate the quality of the group's original material. While it was unusual in the early 1960s for groups to write their own songs, Lennon and McCartney claimed to have written dozens in their early days.

The Beatles performed Hello Little Girl and McCartney's Like Dreamers Do during the Decca audition. That both songs had been a part of The Quarrymen's live set since 1958 suggests that they were still unsure of the quality of their own songs, and were perhaps less prolific writers than they claimed to be.

The song didn't remain in The Beatles' repertoire for much longer, and was never recorded for EMI. It was, however, performed at an audition for BBC radio, which took place at Broadcasting House in Manchester on 12 February 1962.

Hello Little Girl was later offered to Gerry and the Pacemakers as the follow-up to How Do You Do It. They recorded a demo of the song on 17 July 1963, but opted instead for Mitch Murray's song I Like It.

It was then given to another Merseybeat act, The Fourmost. Produced by George Martin at Abbey Road Studios on 3 July 1963, their version was released on 30 August and reached number nine in the UK charts.

Unfortunately the words aren't too wonderful. They're a bit average, but the Fourmost were eager to have a hit and they were very good friends of ours. They were more of a comedy group, a really very funny cabaret act, and when it came to making a record and being serious on a TV show, they always laughed and giggled. They were always having such a laugh, it was very difficult for them. They just weren't the kind of guys who were going to get a major hit. I tried a few times.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

9 responses on “Hello Little Girl

  1. brian

    Hearing this song on Anthology 1, it really sounds for lack of a better term, very unBeatle-like. Understandably so, it was recorded in early 1962! It has a very 1950’s melody and arrangement to it, almost silly really… But John and Paul’s songwriting skills still had alot more growing to do and soon would blow compositions like this one right out of the water.

  2. AlfinaHawaii

    I can’t shake the impression that this song is John’s ‘answer’ to Paul’s “Like Dreamers Do”.

    And while I might agree with the comment that it sounds “un-Beatle-like” – it does strike me as “Lennon-like,” unlike “Like Dreamers Do” which threw me off completely.

    I actually like this song! I think it’s cute, very representative of John’s tender age at the time this was written (if we believe the depiction at “Nowhere Boy”, it was composed at Paul’s front room, on the day Julia Lennon was killed in an accident).

    It might not have been a ‘masterpiece’ but sure tells about the songwriter in the making at that point of his life.

  3. Danielle

    I love this song. I love how John sounds. It is in the movie “Nowhere Boy” and I thought Aaron Johnson did a very good job as John Lennon.

  4. kbn

    “Among the songs Julia liked to sing around Blomfield Road was the 1939 dance-band and film number Scatterbrain, and John was fascinated by the rhythmic flow of such lines as “When you smile it’s so delightful/ When you talk it’s so insane/ Still it’s charming chatter, scatterbrain.” John sat with his guitar and started playing around with chords and phrases in the style of new American hero Buddy Holly, and a new song began to emerge, words and music.

    He called it Hello Little Girl, and though it’s nothing like Scatterbrain, this was its spring.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10322950/The-Beatles-the-making-of-Lennon.html

  5. Graham Paterson

    This is a lovely song, written by John Lennon. As others have pointed out it is so apt the way it is used in the film Nowhere Boy. Particularly considering his mothers influence in the song.

  6. KaBluie

    It’s interesting how Gerry and the Pacemakers recorded it on July 17 but rejected it, then it was given to The Fourmost and they went back in time 15 days to record it on July 3.

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