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

Monday, October 26, 2009

#47: Tell Me Why

Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
July 10, 1964
Appears on: A Hard Day's Night

Lead vocal: John

"Tell Me Why" is another one of those songs that just does not stop. It starts and it just snowballs into something so fun and incredible.
The song is also a "call-and-response" type song that begs for interaction between the listener and the musician. Still, "Tell Me Why" is an interesting "call-and-response", especially since the lead vocalist doesn't despond to the calls sent out by the back-up chorus. For example, take the first verse:
John: Well, I gave you ev'rything I had,
Group: But you left me sitting on my own.
John: Did you have to treat me oh so bad?
Group: All I do is hang my head and moan.
So, as you can see, the group isn't helping the situation! "Devil In Her Heart" is a standard "call-and-response" girl-group song and the complete opposite:
Group: She's got the devil in her heart
George: No, no, this I can't believe
Group: She's gonna tear your heart apart
George: No, no nay will she deceive

That's the way these "call-and-response" type songs usually go, but "Tell Me Why" flips that on its head. The group and John are the same person in this sob story of a man whose girl is bad to him for no reason. Now, you could say that "Tell Me Why" is more akin to the party "call-and-response" songs like "Twist And Shout", but those are more like "call-and-repeat". I really think "Tell Me Why" is another step forward for the Beatles as they try to move beyond their influences and, in-turn, evolve the genres that turned them into who they are.
As I mentioned before, despite being one of the strongest songs from the film, "Tell Me Why" was the only movie song not released on a single side in the US. However, it was released on Something New, which has all the non-film songs on it.
Next up: Side Two! Here's "Can't Buy Me Love", in case you're wondering....

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