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, rhythm and blues|
"Oh! Darling" is a song by the Beatles composed by Paul McCartney (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)". 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.
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." He would only try the song once each day; if it was not right he would wait until the next day, in order to make sure he got every precious first take right. According to sound engineer Alan Parsons, McCartney once lamented that "five years ago I could have done this in a flash". 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."
Let It Be session
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. The song and the following improvisation are included on the Anthology 3 CD. This version also features a keyboard part played by Billy Preston.
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). According to Ian MacDonald, the backing vocals were "exquisite", but "sadly underplayed in the mix." 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.
- Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocals, bass
- John Lennon – backing vocals, piano
- George Harrison – backing vocals, guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Billy Preston – keyboard (on the Anthology 3 version).
- Personnel per Ian MacDonald
"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. (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.
Robin Gibb version
|Single by Robin Gibb|
|from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (OST)|
|B-side||"She's Leaving Home"|
Cherokee Studios, Los Angeles
|Robin Gibb singles chronology|
"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. Gibb's version reached #15 in the US and #22 in the US Adult Contemporary Charts in October 7, 1978.
- Huey Lewis recorded a version for the 1995 Beatles tribute Come Together: America Salutes The Beatles.
- George Benson also recorded a version for The Other Side of Abbey Road EP.
- Graham Bonnet included his own version of this song in the 1999 album The Day I Went Mad, featuring Slash on guitar.
- It also appears in the movie Across the Universe sung by the characters Sadie (Dana Fuchs) and Jojo (Martin Luther McCoy).
- Etta Scollo recorded an Italian version in 1988
- Bela Fleck and the Flecktones recorded a version for Live Art, with John Cowan providing the vocals
- Sara Bareilles sang "Oh! Darling" in 2007 as the last song for her appearance on Channel 4's Live from Abbey Road. It featured only herself on lead vocals and her guitarist playing rhythm guitar.
- Glam metal band London covered the song on their 1986 album Don't Cry Wolf.
- Florence + the Machine play a live version on the second CD of the special box set edition of Lungs.
- Juliet Simms sang this song for her audition on The Voice.
- Sum 41 played this song live during 2007-2008.
- Katelyn Epperly sang this song live on American Idol during the Top 24.
- Hanson regularly play a cover of the song live featuring Zac Hanson on vocals.
- The Beatles tribute supergroup Yellow Matter Custard (Mike Portnoy, Neal Morse, Paul Gilbert and Matt Bissonette) performed this song on their live double CD and DVD One Night in New York City.
- Models, an Australian alternative rock group covered the song and released it as a non-album single.
- Connie Evingson, a jazz singer, released a cover of "Oh! Darling" and other songs by the Beatles in 2003 for Let It Be Jazz: Connie Evingson Sings The Beatles.
- The Replacements also recorded a pseudo-cover/parody of "Oh! Darling" titled "Mr. Whirly" for their 1983 Hootenanny album.
- Italian singer Mina covered the song on the album Uiallalla, in 1989.
- Donna Loren performed the song during her online concert series, Donna Loren's Shindig! on 13 February 2012.
- Tom Odell recorded a cover of "Oh! Darling" on The Daytrotter Recordings, a limited 12" vinyl EP of live covers, for Record Store Day 2013.
- Sasha Allen performed this song during the Live Playoffs on The Voice.
- The backing band for George Watsky played this song live during Watsky's 2013 tour.
- "The Beatles - Abbey Road (album review 2)". Sputnikmusic. 3 November 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- Sheff 2000, p. 203.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 174.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 339.
- Dowlding 1989, p. 282.
- Bernard 1993, p. 106.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 168.
- Anthology 3 liner notes
- MacDonald 2005, p. 350.
- "67 - 'Oh! Darling'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Bernard 1993, pp. 106–107.
- "Robin Gibb - Chart history". Billboard. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
- "Donna Loren's Shindig". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-10-16.
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
- Bernard, Shane K. (1993). Swamp Pop: Cajun and Creole Rhythm and Blues. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
- Dowlding, William J. (1989). Beatlesongs. New York: Fireside. ISBN 0-671-68229-6.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.