0217 Long Tall Sally – Little Richard (1956)

The Beatles with Little Richard.

The Beatles with Little Richard.

Long Tall Sally was written by Enotris Johnson, Robert Blackwell and Richard Penniman (Little Richard) and was originally called The Thing. It was first recorded by Little Richard in 1956. It was released as a single with Slippin’ And Slidin’ on the B-side. It reached number one on the R&B Chart and number six on the Pop Chart. John Lennon said that when he first heard the song “It blew our heads”. He first heard it on a 78″ from Belgian, released on the Ronnex label.

It was one of the first rock ‘n’ roll songs Paul McCartney learnt to play. The song was part of The Quarrymen’s repertoire. It became part of The Beatles’ repertoire and was sung by Paul. A live version recorded in 1962 was released on the 1977 album Live! At The Star-Club In Hamburg, Germany; 1962 and a live version recorded in 1964 was released on the 1977 album The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl. A version recorded for the 1964 TV special Around The Beatles was released in 1995 on the album Anthology 1. The Beatles also recorded the song for BBC radio and one version was released in 1994 on the album Live At The BBC. A second version was released in 2013 on the album On Air-Live At The BBC Volume 2. A third version was released in 2013 on the album The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963. The Beatles recorded the song in the studio in 1964 and that version was released on the EP Long Tall Sally. Long Tall Sally later influenced The Beatles song I’m Down from 1965.

George Harrison performed the song live as part of a Little Richard Medley while playing in Delaney and Bonnie’s band in 1969. A live version with George playing guitar was released on the 2010 deluxe edition box set of On Tour With Eric Clapton.John Lennon played the song during the rehearsals for the One To One Concert at Madison Square Garden, New York in 1972. John mentions the song in his own song, New York City, from the 1972 album Some Time In New York City. The song was also part of Wings repertoire and they played it during their 1972 and 1973 tours. Paul McCartney has also performed the song live and a live version recorded at the Prince’s Trust Concert in 1987 was released as single. It was also part of Rory Storm and The Hurricanes repertoire while Ringo Starr was in the band. The single was included on John Lennon’s 1965 jukebox and it was one of the songs picked in 2007 by Paul McCartney on BBC Radio 1 Legends.

The song has been recorded by serial Merseybeat groups including The Merseybeats (from the EP The Merseybeats on Stage), The Swinging Blue Jeans (from Blue Jeans a’Swinging), The Big Three (unreleased), King Size Taylor & The Dominoes (from Shakers’ Twist Club) and The Roadrunners (from Twist-Time Im Star-Club Hamburg 4).

It has also been covered by Pat Boone, Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, Wanda Jackson, Gene Vincent and The Kinks among others. Jerry Lee Lewis recorded a version live at the Star-Club in Hamburg, Germany in 1964.

Now Hear This : Long Tall Sally – The Beatles (1964)
Long Tall Sally – The Merseybeats (1964)
Long Tall Sally – Swinging Blue Jeans (1964)
Long Tall Sally – King Size Taylor & The Dominoes (1964)
Long Tall Sally – The Roadrunners (1964)
I’m Down – The Beatles (1965)
New York City – John Lennon (1972)
Long Tall Sally  – The Beatles (1977)
Long Tall Sally – The Beatles (1977)
Long Tall Sally – Paul McCartney (1987)
Long Tall Sally – The Beatles (1994)
Long Tall Sally – The Beatles (1995)
Little Richard Medley – Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (2010)
Long Tall Sally – The Beatles (2013)
Long Tall Sally  – The Beatles (2013)

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2 thoughts on “0217 Long Tall Sally – Little Richard (1956)

  1. Excellent entry. Definitely one of THE key songs associated with them. Is it worth mentioning the version of this song in the 1994 movie “Backbeat”? One of the most memorable parts of the movie, where the boys have just been introduced to “prellies” in Hamburg so they can be wired to play all night; quick cut to the McCartney character onstage (voiced by Dave Pirner from Soul Asylum on this track) belting out the opening of this song with sweat flying and wild eyes.

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