Oh! Darling

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"Oh! Darling"
Cover to Japanese single
Single by The Beatles
from the album Abbey Road
A-side "Here Comes the Sun"
Released 26 September 1969 (album)
5 June 1970 (Japan single)
Recorded 20 April – 11 August 1969
Genre Rock,[1] rhythm and blues, hard rock[2]
Length 3:26
Label Apple Records
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Abbey Road track listing

"Oh! Darling" is a song by The Beatles composed by Paul McCartney[3] (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and appearing as the fourth song on the album, Abbey Road, in 1969. Its working title was "Oh! Darling (I'll Never Do You No Harm)".[4] Although not issued as a single in either the United Kingdom or the United States, a regional subsidiary of Capitol successfully edited it as a single in Central America, having "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" as its B-side. It was also issued as a single in Portugal. Apple Records released "Oh! Darling" in Japan with "Here Comes the Sun" in June 1970.

Background[edit]

McCartney later said of recording the track, "When we were recording 'Oh! Darling' I came into the studios early every day for a week to sing it by myself because at first my voice was too clear. I wanted it to sound as though I'd been performing it on stage all week."[5] He would only try the song once each day; if it was not right he would wait until the next day. According to sound engineer Alan Parsons, McCartney once lamented that "five years ago I could have done this in a flash".[6] In a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine, John Lennon said, "'Oh! Darling' was a great one of Paul's that he didn't sing too well. I always thought I could have done it better—it was more my style than his. He wrote it, so what the hell, he's going to sing it."[3]

George Harrison described the song as "a typical 1950s–'60s-period song because of its chord structure."[7]

Let It Be session[edit]

After an early attempt at this song on 27 January 1969 during the Let It Be sessions, Lennon announced, "Just heard that Yoko's divorce has just gone through", after which he and the band burst into an improvised version of the song, substituting "I'm free at last" for a part of the lyric.[8] The song and the following improvisation are included on the Anthology 3 CD. This version also features a keyboard part played by Billy Preston.[9]

Recording[edit]

The basic track was recorded on 20 April 1969, but there were many overdub sessions, including multiple attempts at the lead vocal by McCartney (as described above).[4] According to Ian MacDonald, the backing vocals were "exquisite", but "sadly underplayed in the mix."[10] Engineer Geoff Emerick recalled that McCartney sang while the backing track played over speakers, instead of headphones, because he wanted to feel as though he was singing to a live audience.[11]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[10]

Influences[edit]

"Oh! Darling" appears to have drawn heavily on the New Orleans rhythm and blues sound popularised during the 1950s and early 1960s by African-American musicians such as Fats Domino; it also seems to have drawn on the Louisiana swamp blues sound found in songs like Slim Harpo's "Raining In My Heart" and Charles Brown's "Please Come Home for Christmas". Furthermore, it may have drawn on the related Louisiana genre known today as swamp pop, whose distinctive sound bears an uncanny resemblance to the basic structure of "Oh! Darling" — so much so that some in Louisiana originally thought the song had been recorded by a local musician.[7] (When swamp pop musician John Fred met the Beatles in London in the 1960s, he was shocked to learn that "they were very familiar with Louisiana music.") Fittingly, swamp pop musician Jay Randall eventually covered "Oh! Darling" for the Lanor label of Church Point, Louisiana.[12]

Cover versions[edit]

Robin Gibb version[edit]

"Oh! Darling"
Single by Robin Gibb
from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (OST)
B-side "She's Leaving Home"
Released July 1978
Format 7", 45rpm
Recorded September 1977
Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
Genre Rhythm and blues, soul
Length 3:29
Label RSO
Writer(s) Lennon-McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Robin Gibb singles chronology
"August October"
(1970)
"Oh! Darling"
(1978)
"Help Me!"
(1980)

"Oh! Darling" is a 1978 song (and the fourth solo single by Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees) from the soundtrack Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, originally sung by The Beatles. It reached #15 on the Billboard pop chart and #22 in the US Adult Contemporary Charts on 7 October 1978.[13]

Other covers[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "The Beatles - Abbey Road (album review 2)". Sputnikmusic. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013. 
  2. ^ The Album: A Guide to Pop Music's Most Provocative, Influential, and Important Creations, James E Perone, page 213
  3. ^ a b Sheff 2000, p. 203.
  4. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 174.
  5. ^ The Beatles 2000, p. 339.
  6. ^ Dowlding 1989, p. 282.
  7. ^ a b Bernard 1993, p. 106.
  8. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 168.
  9. ^ Anthology 3 liner notes
  10. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, p. 350.
  11. ^ "67 - 'Oh! Darling'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Bernard 1993, pp. 106–107.
  13. ^ "Robin Gibb - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Donna Loren's Shindig". Youtube.com. Retrieved 16 October 2013. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]