By Stephen Pate – The Beatles live show could excite audiences into a frenzy. Rock and roll music was pretty tame in 1963 when The Beatles were breaking out with their career.
The Beatles we’re copying the stage excitement of R&B shouters like Little Richard. Start fast and play faster. Sing in a high falsetto voice with ogasmic screams. Paul McCartney and The Beatles were white boys from Liverpool England playing black juke joints. You gotta move the sisters.
In 1962, The Beatles opened for Little Richard in New Brighton, England. His influence on John and Paul is easy to see. Paul sang several Little Richard songs as screaming showstoppers like ‘Long Tall Sally’.
For a kid from Liverpool, Paul did a great job of channeling Richard’s wild sexual frenzy.
“The biggest appeal of Little Richard on the young Paul McCartney was his voice, which the Brit could imitate reasonably well,” wrote Aaron Krerowicz a Beatles scholar. “I could do Little Richard’s voice, which is a wild, hoarse, screaming thing, it’s like an out-of-body experience. You have to leave your current sensibilities and go about a foot above your head to sing it” (Miles, page 201). In fact, Paul liked Little Richard so much that “he celebrated his last day of term at the Liverpool Institute by taking in his guitar, climbing on a desk in the classroom and singing his two party pieces, ‘Long Tall Sally’ and ‘Tutti Frutti'” (Miles, page 200).”
This old clip of the Swedish “Drop In” program illustrates just how lame or tame it was and how much The Beatles turned up the heat.
Paul picks up the tempo with their hit “I Saw Her Standing There”. You know they are not lip syncing. John is slightly off with his harmony. The band is rocking.
Asked for an encore they go completely mad on “Long Tall Sally.” Paul is screaming the lyrics as the boys up beat one more time to an impossible pace.
The house band try to set up behind The Beatles. They obviously feel overwhelmed.
The normally quiet Swedish audience picks up the emotion as The Beatles play their version of American rock and roll. It’s a thrilling moment.