The Paul McCartney Project

Misery

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Please Please Me (Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1963
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Misery” is a song performed by the Beatles on their album Please Please Me. It was co-written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. According to Lennon, “It was kind of a John song more than a Paul song, but it was written together.” McCartney was to say: “I don’t think either one of us dominated on that one, it was just a hacking job.

A 1963 single by Kenny Lynch made “Misery” the first Beatles’ song to be covered by another artist.

Background

In February 1963, Helen Shapiro was Britain’s most successful female singer (having first achieved chart success two years earlier at the age of 14) and The Beatles were fifth on the bill as part of her nationwide tour of the United Kingdom. Her artist and repertoire manager, Norrie Paramor, was looking for new material for a country and western album she planned to record in Nashville, Tennessee and suggested that the Beatles compose a song especially for her. “Misery” was started backstage before The Beatles’ performance at the King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, on 26 January 1963, and later completed at Paul McCartney’s Forthlin Road home. At the time, McCartney commented: “We’ve called it ‘Misery’, but it isn’t as slow as it sounds, it moves along at quite a pace, and we think Helen will make a pretty good job of it.” But Paramor considered it unsuitable, and so British singer and entertainer Kenny Lynch, who was on the same tour, recorded it instead (HMV Pop 1136), thus becoming the first artist to cover a Lennon–McCartney composition although he failed to enter the charts with it. In 1973, Lynch appeared in the cover photograph for McCartney’s album, Band on the Run.

When the Beatles needed original material for their Please Please Me LP they recorded it themselves, giving its treatment, according to writer Ian MacDonald, “a droll portrait of adolescent self-pity“. It was credited to McCartney and Lennon in that order, as were all other Lennon & McCartney originals on the Please Please Me album. The songwriting credit was changed to what would become the more familiar “Lennon–McCartney” for their second album, With the Beatles. McCartney: “It was our first stab at a ballad and had a little spoken preface. It was co-written. I don’t think either of us dominated on that one, it was just a job, you could have called us hacks, hacking out a song for someone.” (Barry Miles. Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now).

The Beatles recorded “Misery” on 11 February 1963 (marathon session) in 11 takes. Norman Smith was the engineer.

Normal studio multi-track tape speed at the time was 15 ips (inches per second), but “Misery” was recorded at 30 ips, as George Martin intended to personally add piano at a later date, and preferred playing this at half-tempo an octave below. […]

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 25 Feb 1963. edited.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.
  • [b] mono 25 Feb 1963.
    US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
  • [c] stereo 25 Feb 1963.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3042 Please Please Me 1963.
    US: Vee Jay VJSR 1062 Introducing 1963.
  • [c1] stereo remixed from [c] ?1980, by Capitol.
    US: Capitol SHAL-12060 Rarities 1980.

The instrumental intro is shorter in [a] than the others, edited.

Whether Vee Jay uses [b] or is just a mono reduction of [c] seems impossible to determine by listening, since an unedited mono mix would sound the same. It’s been suggested that the entire Vee Jay LP is a mono reduction of the stereo mixes (except that the real mono “Please please me” was used for the reissue version of the LP), and it is hard to rule this out, although it’s also hard to say why Vee Jay would not have been sent both mono and stereo masters.

In the remix [c1] the left instrumental channel is relatively louder, which isn’t bad, but reverb has been added too especially in the intro vocal.

Last updated on May 19, 2019

Lyrics

The world is treating me bad
Misery

I'm the kind of guy
Who never used to cry
The world is treatin' me bad
Misery

I've lost her now for sure
I won't see her no more
It's gonna be a drag
Misery

I'll remember all the little things we've done
Can't she see she'll always be the only one, only one?

Send her back to me
'Cause everyone can see
Without her I will be
In misery

I'll remember all the little things we've done
She'll remember and she'll miss her only one, lonely one

Send her back to me
'Cause everyone can see
Without her I will be
In misery

Oh, ooo, ooo in misery
Ooo, my misery
La, la, la, la, la, la
Misery

Officially appears on


Please Please Me (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1963

1:49 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Stuart Eltham:
Engineer
A.B. Lincoln:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Overdubs:
Feb 20, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


The Beatles (No. 1)

EP • Released in 1963

1:47 • Studio versionA

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Stuart Eltham:
Engineer
A.B. Lincoln:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Feb 20, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Please Please Me (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1963

1:49 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Geoff Emerick:
Second engineer
Norman Smith:
Engineer
Stuart Eltham:
Engineer
A.B. Lincoln:
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Feb 20, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Session Recording:
Feb 25, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Bootleg Recordings 1963

Official album • Released in 2013

1:54 • Outtake • Take 1

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


Bootleg Recordings 1963

Official album • Released in 2013

1:56 • Outtake • Take 7

Session Recording:
Feb 11, 1963
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road


On Air - Live at the BBC Volume 2

Official live • Released in 2013

1:50 • Radio showL1 • The Beatles recorded this song from their debut album seven times at the BBC. All of the broadcast performances lack the descending piano runs overdubbed by George Martin onto the version made at EMI for Please Please Me.

Paul McCartney:
Vocals
John Lennon:
Vocals
Peter Pilbeam:
Producer

Concert From "Here We Go" in Manchester, United Kingdom on Mar 12, 1963

Bootlegs


Take It Off!

Unofficial album

2:17 • Outtake • Takes (8-9)


Complete Controlroom Monitor Mixes - Volume 1

Unofficial album

1:51 • Studio version • Takes 2&3


The BBC Archives Volume 1

Unofficial live

1:49 • Radio show


The BBC Archives Volume 1

Unofficial live

1:50 • Radio show


The BBC Archives Volume 2

Unofficial album

1:44 • Radio show


Live performances

“Misery” has been played in 28 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Misery” has been played


Pop Go The Beatles

Sep 17, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions


Pop Go The Beatles

Jun 04, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions


Side By Side

Apr 22, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions


Easy Beat

Apr 07, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions




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Erick Byrd 4 months ago

The Usenet Guide notation appears to be for "I Saw Her Standing There" as it references the count in and lyrics from that song.