Welcome to "Every Little Thing", a blog discussing all 214 songs released by the Beatles from 1962 to 1970....by Daniel Seth Levine.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

#33: Money (That's What I Want)

Written by: Janie Bradford & Berry Gordy
Released: November 22nd, 1963
Appears on: with the beatles
Lead vocal: John

The year is 1959. A guy named Berry Gordy decides to create Tamla Records, which becomes just a piece of his massive Motown company just a few months later in 1960. Before any record company can expand, it needs a hit record.
Barrett Strong's performance of "Money (That's What I Want)" was just that. It's just an incredible, in-your-face single that pretty much requires you to listen to it for all two-and-a-half minutes - the perfect choice of cover for a show-stopping ending.
The Beatles performance of the song is faithful to the original, aside from John's over-the-top vocal and George's ridiculous lead guitar. I haven't talked about the remasters much since they came out, but on the remastered version of "Money", George's lead guitar is so much stronger and (if this makes any sense) dirtier. It just seems to have a punch that hits you harder than the original mono version on the 1987 CD didn't have.
"Money" is much more 'professional' than "Twist And Shout" and that kind of makes the song feel a little less fun, with less of a party atmosphere. The truth is, though, "Money" is an entirely different song. It doesn't give itself to a dance routine like "Twist And Shout" does. Merely, the song is an intense vocal exercise with lyrics that reject love. It's certainly not something anyone would want to dance to, so what made Strong's original performance a hit was his wonderful vocal and the melody going on behind him and the Beatles' version certainly honors that.

That, my friends, closes one of my favorite Beatles albums....and we've barely scratched the surface. Next up is "I Want To Hold Your Hand"!

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