Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week. Shindig! was an American variety show that aired on ABC from September 1964 through January 1966. Producer Jack Good was lucky enough to get The Beatles to guest on the show’s fourth episode. Jack’s idea was to devote the entire episode to British acts and relocated from Hollywood to the U.K. to start the filming, which began on October 3rd, 1964 at the Granville Theatre, a few miles northeast of London. Other musical guests on the show included Sounds Incorporated, Sandie Shaw, P.J. Proby, The Karl Denver Trio, Tommy Quickly and Lyn Cornell. Of course, The Beatles were at the top of the bill. Jack, remembering the reaction to his Around The Beatles television special earlier in the year was thrilled to have them again.
There was an audience of 1000 in the Granville that day as The Beatles and other acts performed. 150 of them had earned the right to be present through a contest held in a Beatles Monthly magazine. The show opens with an energetic rendition by The Beatles of Little Richard’s “Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey.” Most of this performance can be seen in the Beatles Anthology documentary coming from a kinescope source. Later in the program. The Beatles return to perform “I’m A Loser.” It’s interesting to note that at the time of this filming, the Beatles For Sale album which was the first Beatles release of both of these numbers was still two months away. Listeners of BBC radio may have heard The Beatles live performances of “Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey” before but “I’m A Loser” was brand new. The final number by The Beatles, to put Ringo Starr in the spotlight, was “Boys.”
Unlike “Kansas City,” the performances of “I’m A Loser” and “Boys” from this show have not been officially released. However a video of the show circulates among collectors. Looking closely at the video, it’s clear that while John Lennon’s vocals and part of his harmonica are performed live on “I’m A Loser,” the musical backing is not and was likely recorded the previous day during rehearsal. This becomes most apparent at one point during the middle instrumental break, where John removes his lips from his harmonica while it is still playing. The same would be true for the other two songs as well, as George Harrison’s guitar solo during “Boys” is not matching up with his fingers at all. Were The Beatles intentionally being coy here? I really don’t know.
Here for your BROW, is John Lennon’s then-new composition “I’m A Loser” from that early episode of Shindig! which aired four days later on October 7th, 1964.
The Beatles - I'm A Loser
Extra info: Another of the acts on the bill, Sounds Incorporated (mentioned above) was an instrumental group formed in Kent, U.K. in 1961. They had backed many visiting American musicians such as Little Richard and Gene Vincent. They first met The Beatles at the Star Club in Hamburg Germany and Beatles manager Brian Epstein signed them under his management in March 1964. They toured with The Beatles over the following years and in 1967, after shortening their name to Sounds, Inc., played saxophones on “Good Morning Good Morning” during the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band sessions.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music and media related to this post:
1) Beatles For Sale (Remastered) – 2009 CD remaster of original 1963 stereo LP including finalized version of “I’m A Loser” and “Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey” also performed by The Beatles on Shindig!.
2) The Beatles Anthology – 2003 5-DVD expanded version of original 1995 documentary about the fascinating career of The Beatles in their own words. Includes footage of “Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey” performed by The Beatles on Shindig!.
3) Please Please Me – 2009 CD remaster of original 1963 stereo LP including finalized version of “Boys” also performed by The Beatles on Shindig!.