Composers: Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Richie Barrett
Inspired by The Beatles version.
The Beatles performed “Some Other Guy”, a Jerry Lieber, Mike Stoller and Richie Barrett composition, as did many artists including The Big Three, Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Led Zeppelin, The Searchers, The Hentchmen and many others. In this video we see footage of the Cavern Club from the Beatles era.
”Some Other Guy" is a rhythm and blues song, written by Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller and Richie Barrett. First released as a single in 1962 by Barrett himself, it featured an electric piano, then an unusual sound in pop music. Covered shortly afterwards by Liverpool's the Big Three, the song was a standard in the Merseybeat scene.
The song was part of the Beatles' early repertoire, and film footage of The Beatles performing it live is the only known film with synchronized sound showing the group at the Cavern Club. The grainy footage features John Lennon and Paul McCartney singing the song's melody in 1962. It is also the first film of Ringo Starr as the Beatles drummer, Pete Best having been sacked the week before. At the end of the song, someone in the audience can be heard shouting "We want Pete!" after which Lennon simply says "Yes." This audio recording was released on the album Live at the BBC in 1994.
McCartney stated: "It is a great song...It really got us started because that's one of the earliest bits of film of The Beatles. It was the song we sang when Granada Television came to the Cavern. It was also a bit of a muso song..." The Beatles play it in the key of D, with a slow A-C-D intro and second interval I-♭VII-I on every tonic (and the equivalent for IV and V). The "muso song" reference may relate to it being early example of a rock & roll song topped and tailed by a ♭VII-I cadence.
Pete Best released a cover on his 1965 album, "Best of The Beatles". Unsurprisingly, Best's version and The Beatles's version sound similar.
Neither Richie Barrett's original nor The Big Three's cover have crystal clear lyrics, and this has led to mishearings. The Beatles sang misheard words that were not Richie's original lyrics, and regrettably, even though the Fab Four's words make little or no sense, their amended lyrics have stuck and have been used in subsequent covers. Barrett's original lyrics chime in with the bitter anger and sadness of a guy who has lost his girlfriend, whereas the incorrect lyrics miss the point altogether.
The affected lines are as follows:
Verse 1, line 3: Some other guy, now, I just don't want to hold my hand should be Some other guy, now, has just thrown water on my fire; ("fire" rhymes with "desire”).
Verse 2, line 1: Some other guy, now, is sippin' up the honey like a yellow dog should be Some other guy, is tippin' up behind me like a yellow dog; (as in "tip-toeing").
Verse 2, line 2: Some other guy, now, has taken my love just like I'm gone should be Some other guy, has taken our love just like a hog; ("hog" rhymes with "dog").
Verse 3, line 2: Some other guy, now, is making my past seem oh so bad should be Some other guy now, is breaking the padlock off my pad.
In a short documentary film with a John Lennon voiceover, (in which Lennon compares the song's intro to that of his own Instant Karma!), all three co-writers (Leiber, Stoller and Barrett) of "Some Other Guy" discuss the song. Barrett confirms his original lyrics, saying, "I put the part to it that made the story ... stealing my girl ... stepping away ... pouring water on my fire ... taking her love ... just like a hog ... taking her love just like a dog, like a yellow dog. A situation with a guy in Haarlem going through trials and tribulations with his girlfriend".
In the 3-part TV series "Cilla" featuring Sheridan Smith playing Cilla Black, Smith sings the song as "Some Other Girl", but otherwise her lyrics are the Barrett originals (save for "Some other girl, now, has just thrown water on my hand"). Smith also starts singing the line "Some other girl, now, is sipping up the honey like a yellow dog", but the scene is cut before the line (perhaps inappropriate for a chanteuse!) is completed. She sings the line, "is breaking the padlock off my pad" three times.
Other recorded versions
The song was popular in Liverpool's Merseybeat scene. The song was covered by numerous artistes, as follows:
• The Big Three, who sing the lyrics in a somewhat random order.
• Johnny Kidd & the Pirates, a pre-Merseybeat UK band, whose 1963 cover was released only in 1990. Kidd made his own variations to Barrett's lyrics.
• Led Zeppelin, during a "Whole Lotta Love" medley in a live concert. A track appears on the bootleg Live On Blueberry Hill.
• The Searchers, who covered both sides of Richie Barrett's original; "Some Other Guy" is on Sugar and Spice, and "Tricky Dicky" is on Meet the Searchers.
• The Stray Cats, a fictional band in the 1974 rock film Stardust starring David Essex. It was later issued as a solo single by Dave Edmunds, the lead singer in the film.
• The Hentchmen, a Detroit band featuring Jack White of the White Stripes on lead guitar. The song was released as a 45 on the Detroit label, Italy Records, in 1997.
The compilation CD John Lennon's Jukebox included "Some Other Guy", attributed to The Big Three. However, it is not the same as The Big Three's original single; rather, having an electric piano, it appears to be a mid-1970s reworking by The Big Three, very much closer to the style of Richie Barrett original.,
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