A staple of The Beatles’ live act for some years, ‘Mr Moonlight’ was recorded by the group during sessions for their fourth LP, Beatles For Sale.

‘Mr Moonlight’ was written by Roy Lee Johnson. The first known recording was by blues pianist Piano Red, recording as Dr Feelgood and the Interns. It was released as the b-side of ‘Dr Feelgood’, a minor R&B hit in 1962.

This is the second one we didn’t write. It was originally the b-side of ‘Dr Feelgood’, and one of the numbers we played at The Cavern. I play a bit of organ softly in the background, and John and I do the singing. Ringo got hold of a horn-shaped sort of conga drum for this with good effect.
Paul McCartney
Disc, 14 November 1964

In the studio

The Beatles attempted to record ‘Mr Moonlight’ twice in the studio in 1964. The first time was on 14 August, when they recorded four takes – the last of these was for a time considered the best.

Anthology 1 contains takes one and four. The first broke down almost immediately; take four was complete, and featured a frantic slide guitar solo by George Harrison.

The Beatles re-made the song on 18 October. Again they recorded four takes, the last two of which featured Paul McCartney’s somewhat gaudy Hammond organ solo.

Despite a blistering vocal from John Lennon, ‘Mr Moonlight’ is held by many Beatles fans as one of the least successful songs in their catalogue.

Previous song: ‘I’ll Follow The Sun’
Next song: ‘Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!’
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