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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Cayenne” (complete version)

Posted by on July 16, 2012 at 6:00 am.

Welcome to another round of BROW. This week’s Beatles Rarity Of The Week goes back to the period where The Beatles were going under the early spelling of their name, “The Beatals.” In late January 1960, John Lennon’s art college friend Stuart Sutcliffe was persuaded to buy a bass and join the currently drummer-less group. A home demo tape of rough recordings was made around this period that preserves some of the earliest recordings with Stu, still apparently learning how to play. At some point before his untimely death (due to an aneurysm) in April 1962, Stu gave a copy of the tape to his fiance, Astrid Kirchherr, who kept it in her possession until 1994 when she gave it to George Harrison.

In May 1960, the newly christened “Silver Beetles” (which included John, Paul McCartney, George, Stu and drummer Tommy Moore) went on their first semi-professional tour backing singer Johnny Gentle in Scotland and even doing an opening set on their own. After returning to Liverpool in June, they dropped “Silver” from their name, but also lost their drummer. During this period, back under the name “Beatals,” they recorded another batch of songs which sounds a little better due to improved playing ability and Paul’s June 30th purchase of a better instrument (his Rosetti Solid 7 electric guitar). In the spring of 1961, when The Beatles were playing in Hamburg, they gave a copy of these early recordings to German friend Hans-Walther “Icke” Braun.

In the late 1970′s German musician and Beatles enthusiast Frank Dostal talked both Astrid and Icke into contributing copies of these tapes to him for a compilation he planned to create by combining the material from both tapes and adding a simulated stereo effect. It is likely, through this “Dostal tape,” that bootlegs of this material began to surface throughout the 1980s.

This week’s BROW is a sampling from the earlier Kirchherr tape and an instrumental composed by Paul that is known as “Cayenne” and listed incorrectly on some bootlegs as “Thinking Of Linking” (which is actually another song altogether). Paul recalls that the tape was probably made in his bathroom in Allerton during Easter vacation 1960 and seems to remember his brother Mike playing occasional percussion that can be heard on the tape. “Cayenne” appears in edited form on The Beatles Anthology 1 CD set but is barely over a minute long there. Here, for your enjoyment, is the complete recording.

The Beatals - Cayenne

John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison

John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison

Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) The Beatles Anthology 1 – 1995 compilation of early Beatles out-takes and live performances, demos, etc. including Quarry Men recording of “Cayenne” in edited form.

2) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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Want to make a suggestion for a future Beatles Rarity of the Week? If so, I will do my best to deliver, so let me hear from you. To browse for ideas, check out this search-able listing of 10,130 Beatle-related recordings to choose from. Then let me hear from you here.


  • jaggerandrea says:

    For such a very early first attempt, this is really beautiful and haunting.  The natural songwriting ability was already clearly there!  Thanks for the pleasure of hearing that!

  • mwwhelan54 says:

    Wouldn’t it have been fantastic if the Threatles had done this song in the Anthology extras?  Imagine George and Paul trading acosutic leads with Ringo keeping the beat!   Thanks for posting, Nat…never heard this complete version before

  • factory_worker says:

    I feel like this sounds nothing like whatever versions I have (which include Home Recordings and 20 Forthlin Road). It sounds better! Can you tell us from which release this is?

    • happynat says:

       @factory_worker Stacia, this is from my own personal stash of recordings. I think you can find the best bootlegged account on Purple Chick’s “Strong Before Our Birth” (a 2-CD set).

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