Long Tall Sally EP artwork - United KingdomWritten by: Perkins
Recorded: 1 June 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 19 June 1964 (UK), 20 July 1964 (US)

Ringo Starr: vocals, drums
John Lennon: rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: bass
George Harrison: lead guitar
George Martin: piano

Available on:
Past Masters
Live At The BBC

The Beatles' cover of this Carl Perkins hit from 1956 was first released in the UK on their Long Tall Sally EP, and in the US as a single, coupled with Slow Down. It was also released on the Something New album.

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The song was based on Match Box Blues, a 12-bar blues recorded by Blind Lemon Jefferson in 1927. Re-imagined by Perkins, it was first recorded at Sun Records in December 1956.

Perkins claimed he hadn't heard Jefferson's song when he recorded Matchbox. However, both songs contain the lines: "I'm sittin' here wonderin', will a matchbox hold my clothes/I ain't got no matches but I still got a long way to go."

Matchbox had been one of Pete Best's solo vocal spot in The Beatles' live shows from 1961, and was taken over by John Lennon when Best was sacked from the group.

In July 1963 The Beatles recorded Matchbox for the radio show Pop Go The Beatles, with Ringo Starr singing. This version can be heard on the Live At The BBC collection.

In June 1964 the group were considering which songs to record for their third long player, A Hard Day's Night. Matchbox was intended to be Ringo's feature on the album, but was later deemed surplus to requirements and so it appeared on the Long Tall Sally EP.

In the studio

Carl Perkins was on tour in Britain in 1964, and on 1 June he was visiting Abbey Road when The Beatles recorded his song. There are rumours he played the low guitar riff that opens the song.

It took The Beatles five takes to perfect. Ringo played drums and sang simultaneously, and later double-tracked his vocals.

On the same night the group also recorded I'll Cry Instead, Slow Down and I'll Be Back.

Lyrics

I said I'm sitting here watching
Matchbox hole in my clothes
I said I'm sitting here wondering
Matchbox hole in my clothes
I ain't got no matches
But I sure got a long way to go

I'm an old poor boy, and I'm a
Long way from home
I'm an old poor boy, and I'm a
Long way from home
I'll never be happy
'Cause everything I ever did was wrong

Well, if you don't want my peaches, honey
Please don't shake my tree
Well, if you don't want Ringo's peaches, honey
Please don't mess around my tree
I got news for you, baby
Leave me here in misery

Well, let me be your little dog
Till your big dog comes
Well, let me be your little dog
Till your big dog comes
And when your big dog gets here
Watch how your puppy dog runs

I said I'm sitting here watching
Matchbox hole in my clothes
I said I'm sitting here watching
Matchbox hole in my clothes
I ain't got no matches but I sure
Got a long way to go