Sorrow (The McCoys song)

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Single by The Merseys
B-side "Some Other Day"
Released April 1966
Genre Pop rock
Length 2:12
Label Fontana 694
Songwriter(s) Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer
Producer(s) Kit Lambert
The Merseys singles chronology
"So Sad About Us"

"So Sad About Us"

"Sorrow" is a song first recorded by The McCoys in 1965. It became a big hit in the United Kingdom in a version by The Merseys, reaching number 4 on the UK chart on 28 April 1966.[1] A version by David Bowie charted worldwide in 1973.

The Merseys version is more up-tempo than The McCoys folk-rock original. Propelled by Clem Cattini's drumming it features a powerful horn arrangement (most probably the work of John Paul Jones[citation needed]). The horns also take the solo which, on the McCoys version, is performed on harmonica. As the number and quality of subsequent covers demonstrate the Merseys' single was highly regarded among British musicians.

An excerpt of the song features in the Beatles song, It’s All Too Much, which was featured on their 1969 album Yellow Submarine.

David Bowie version[edit]

Bowie Sorrow.jpg
Single by David Bowie
from the album Pin Ups
B-side "Amsterdam" (Brel, Shuman)
Released 28 September 1973
Format 7" single
Recorded Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France, July 1973
Length 2:53
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer
Producer(s) Ken Scott, David Bowie
David Bowie singles chronology
"Life on Mars?"
"Rebel Rebel"

"Life on Mars?"
"Rebel Rebel"

David Bowie's remake of "Sorrow", recorded in July 1973 at Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France, was the only single released in the UK from his Pin Ups covers album, reaching UK No. 3 and staying in the charts for 15 weeks.[2] It was also Bowie's first number one hit single in Australia, where it topped the charts for 2 weeks in February 1974.[3]

The B-side, “Amsterdam”, was a cover of a Jacques Brel song, that had been performed live by Bowie since 1968. The song may have been recorded by Bowie in the summer 1973 sessions for Pin Ups[4] or in late 1971[5] for the album Ziggy Stardust. Never selected as an album track, it was used as the single B-side as it fitted with "Sorrow". In France, it was billed as the A-side of the single.

"Sorrow" was featured in the 2008 John Cusack film War, Inc. In 2017 Paul Shaffer and Jenny Lewis released a cover version based mainly on Bowie's version.[6]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Sorrow" (Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer) – 2:53
  2. "Amsterdam" (Jacques Brel, Mort Shuman) – 2:39

The Spanish release of the single had "Lady Grinning Soul" as the B-side.

Production credits[edit]


Chart (1973) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart 77
UK Singles Chart 3
Irish Singles Chart 2
French Singles Chart 7
German Singles Chart 39
Australian Singles Chart 1
New Zealand Singles Chart 1
South African Singles Chart 1

Other releases[edit]


  1. ^ The Merseys, "Sorrow" chart position Retrieved June 20, 2015
  2. ^ David Bowie, "Sorrow" chart position Retrieved June 20, 2015
  3. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  4. ^ Kevin Cann (2010). Any Day Now - David Bowie: The London Years: 1947-1974: p.311
  5. ^ Chris O'Leary (2015). Rebel Rebel: p.496
  6. ^ "New Music: Jenny Lewis and Paul Shaffer Cover David Bowie’s Version of the McCoys’ 'Sorrow'", Spin, January 6, 2017.

Pegg, Nicholas, The Complete David Bowie, Reynolds & Hearn Ltd, 2000, ISBN 1-903111-14-5

External links[edit]