The Paul McCartney Project

Be Bop A Lula

Album This song officially appears on the Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) Official live.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1991

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Be-Bop-A-Lula” is a rockabilly song first recorded in 1956 by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps.

The writing of the song is credited to Gene Vincent and his manager, Bill “Sheriff Tex” Davis. There is evidence that the song was started in 1955, when Vincent was recuperating from a motorcycle accident at the US Navy hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. There, he met Donald Graves, who supposedly wrote the words to the song while Vincent wrote the tune. (Cf. “Money Honey” by the Drifters, 1953). The song came to the attention of Davis, who allegedly bought out Graves’ rights to the song for some $50 (sources vary as to the exact amount), and had himself credited as the lyric writer. Davis claimed that he wrote the song with Gene Vincent after listening to the song “Don’t Bring Lulu”, and Vincent himself sometimes claimed that he wrote the words inspired by a comic strip, “Little Lulu”. “Be-Bop-A-Lula” is #103 in the list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

“I come in dead drunk and stumble over the bed. And me and Don Graves were looking at this bloody book; it was called ‘Little Lulu’. And I said, “Hell, man, it’s ‘Be-Bop-a-Lulu.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, man, swinging.’ And we wrote this song.” Gene Vincent, 1970.

The phrase “Be-Bop-A-Lula” is almost identical to “Be-Baba-Leba”, the title of a # 3 R&B chart hit for Helen Humes in 1945, which became a bigger hit when recorded by Lionel Hampton as “Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop.” This phrase, or something very similar, was widely used in jazz circles in the 1940s, giving its name to the bebop style, and possibly being ultimately derived from the shout of “Arriba! Arriba!” used by Latin American bandleaders to encourage band members.

In early 1956, Gene Vincent performed the song on a radio show in Norfolk, Virginia, and recorded a demo version which was passed to Capitol Records, who were looking for a young singer to rival Elvis Presley. Capitol invited Vincent to record the song and it was recorded at Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee on May 4, 1956. Cliff Gallup (lead guitar), “Wee” Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), “Jumpin'” Jack Neal (string bass), and Dickie “Be Bop” Harrell (drums) comprised the band. When the song was being recorded, Harrell screamed in the background, he said because he wanted to be sure his family could hear it was him on the record.

The song was released in June 1956 on Capitol Records’ single F3450, and immediately sold well. The song was successful on three American singles charts: it peaked at #7 on the US Billboard pop music chart, #8 on the R&B chart, and also made the top ten on the C&W Best Seller chart peaking at #5. In the UK, it peaked at #16 in August 1956. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date.[citation needed]

The original demo for the song, probably recorded at radio station WCMS, has never been located and presumed lost.[citation needed] The song drew comparisons to Presley and is listed as No. 102 or 103 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Steve Allen mocked the lyrics to the song by reading them in a pseudo serious tone accompanied by light piano background music in a September, 1957 broadcast of The Steve Allen Show.

Vincent recorded a new version of the song in 1962 which appeared on the flip-side of the single “The King of Fools”.

Vincent sang the song in the movie The Girl Can’t Help It. The song also featured in the films “The Delinquents” (1989), “Wild At Heart” (1990), and “Pleasantville” (1998).

Eric Burdon also performed it at some of his concerts from 1982 and 1983. The song is mentioned in Dire Strait’s 1985 hit “Walk of Life.” George Harrison’s famous “Rocky” Stratocaster guitar has the phrase “Bebopalula” painted on it. In 2011 German producer Frank Farian released extravagant version of this song on the album Boney M. Goes Club (bonus track with ZZ Queen).

From End The Silence, December 2017:

‘Be-Bop-A-Lulu’ was the very first record I bought. I saved up all my pocket money and I went down to the city centre in Liverpool, there was a little shop called ‘Currys’ and it was really an electrical goods store but in the back, there was a little record booth and I knew I could get the record there. So that was it and I took it home and played it to death. I can’t imagine growing up without listening to music, because I was so lucky, you know. To imagine not having music is terrifying.

Last updated on December 22, 2017

Lyrics

Well
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby doll
My baby doll my baby doll

Well
She's the one in the red blue jeans
She's the queen of all the team
She's the woman walkin' that I know
She's the woman that loves me so

Well
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby doll
My baby doll my baby doll

Well
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby doll
My baby doll my baby doll

Well
She's the woman who's got that beat
She's the woman with the flying feet
She's the woman walk around the store
She's the woman gives me more more more

Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby
Be-bop-a-lula don't mean maybe
Be-bop-a-lula she's my baby doll
My baby doll my baby doll

Officially appears on


Unplugged (The Official Bootleg)

Official live • Released in 1991

4:05 • LiveL1

Paul McCartney:
Acoustic guitar, Producer, Vocals
Linda McCartney:
Percussion
Robbie McIntosh:
Acoustic guitar
Hamish Stuart:
Acoustic bass
Paul Wickens:
Piano
Blair Cunningham:
Drums
Geoff Emerick:
Mixing engineer, Recording engineer
Eddie Klein:
Assistant engineer
Gary Stewart:
Assistant engineer
Peter Craigie:
Assistant engineer
Gary Bradshaw:
Monitor engineer

Concert From "MTV Unplugged" in Wembley, United Kingdom on Jan 25, 1991

Bootlegs



Codename Falconer

Unofficial live

3:53 • Live

Concert From the concert in Copenhagen, Denmark on Jul 24, 1991



Dome In Rehearsal

Unofficial live

3:29 • Soundcheck

Concert From the concert in Fukuoka, Japan on Nov 18, 1993


Desert Island Disc

Unofficial album

1:49 • Interview


Live performances

“Be Bop A Lula” has been played in 7 concerts and 2 soundchecks.

Latest concerts where “Be Bop A Lula” has been played








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