The Paul McCartney Project

Soldier of Love

Written by Buzz CasonTony Moon

Album This song officially appears on the Live At The BBC Official live.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1994

Other songs from Arthur Alexander interpreted by The Beatles

Spread the love! If you like what you are seeing, share it on social networks and let others know about The Paul McCartney Project.

Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms),” also known as “Soldiers of Love,” is a 1962 song written by Buzz Cason and Tony Moon that was originally recorded by soul artist Arthur Alexander, appearing as a B-side to his single “Where Have You Been (All My Life)“. The song was later covered by The Beatles during a 1963 session at the BBC, that is available on the 1994 album Live at the BBC. It was also covered by Marshall Crenshaw, Pearl Jam and The Derailers.

Background

Music critic Dave Marsh suggests that “Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)” may have been lost to history had the Beatles not heard it and recorded a cover version of it. He writes that the song was mostly forgotten until a bootleg of the Beatles’ recording emerged in the late 1970s. Marsh describes Alexander’s version of the song as having an “off-center Latin rhythm” and his vocals as having a country and western music sound. Marsh rates it as one of the top 1,001 singles of all time, praising its “inexorable rhythmic flow” and the way the lyrics and music combine to create a “metaphor in which strife among lovers becomes a cry for universal peace.” Allmusic critic Richie Unterberger suggests that the mixing of love and martial metaphors is almost overdone, although the song manages to avoid sounding gimicky. Unterberger attributes this to the song’s “fine sad” minor key melody, the “dignity” of Alexander’s vocal, the exchanges between Alexander and the backup singers and the “restrained” string instruments.

The Beatles version

As early as 1962, The Beatles had been playing live versions of the songs on both sides of Alexander’s 1963 single, with “Soldiers of Love (Lay Down Your Arms)” appearing on its A-side, and “Where Have You Been (All My Life)” appearing on its B-side. They recorded a cover of Soldiers of Love on July 2, 1963, the day after recording the “She Loves You“/”I’ll Get You” single. Unterberger rates the Beatles’ performance of the song as “fabulous,” calling it probably “the greatest gem” on Live at the BBC. Unterberger enumerates a number of ways in which the Beatles’ recording differs from the original, such as the Beatles playing the main riff on guitar, while on Alexander’s recording the riff was played on piano. The Beatles also add vocal harmonies, which Unterberger describes as “excellent,” and eliminate Alexander’s “somber” violins. Unterberger states that the cumulative effect of the differences is to make the Beatles’ version “exuberant,” compared to Alexander’s sad version, claiming that it sounds “as if the Beatles expected to win over the woman as a matter of course, whereas there was a sense of desperate last-hope begging in Alexander’s vocal.” Critic Robert Christgau calls it one the Beatles greatest covers. Rolling Stone Magazine critic Anthony DeCurtis uses John Lennon’s “crooning” on the song as an example of why Lennon was a great rock ‘n’ roll singer. Author Ian MacDonald describes it as an “ideal vehicle for Lennon,” who sings the lead vocal. MacDonald also suggests that three songs from the Beatles 1963 album With the Beatles—”Not a Second Time,” “It Won’t Be Long” and “All I’ve Got to Do“—were influenced by “Soldier of Love (Lay Down Your Arms).” […]

Last updated on August 27, 2014

Lyrics

Lay down your arms (soldier of love)
And surrender to me
Lay down your arms (soldier of love)
And love me peacefully, yeah
Use your arms for loving me
Baby that's the way it's got to be

There ain't no reason for you to declare
War on the one that loves you so
So forget the other boy
'Cause my love is real
Come off your battlefield

Lay down your arms (soldier of love)
And love me peacefully
Lay down your arms (soldier of love)
And love me tenderly, yeah
Use your arms to hold me tight
Baby, I don't want to fight no more

The weapons you're using are hurting me bad
And some day you're gonna see
'Cause my love for you, baby
Is the truest you've ever had
A soldier of love at heart to be

Lay down your arms (soldier of love)
And love me peacefully
Lay down your arms (soldier of love)
And surrender to me, yeah
Use your arms to squeeze and please
'Cause I'm the one that loves you so

Yeah, soldier of love
Baby, lay down your arms
Yeah, soldier of love
Baby, lay down your arms
Yeah, soldier of love

Officially appears on


Live At The BBC

Official live • Released in 1994

2:00 • Radio showL1 • John sang Arthur Alexander's 'Anna' on the first Beatles album and here he covers another record by the singer; a track which could have enhanced any of the group's early discs.

Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Lead guitar

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in London, United Kingdom on Jul 16, 1963

Bootlegs


The Beatles At The Beeb - Volume 4

Unofficial live • Released in 2003

2:33 • Live

Concert From "Pop Go The Beatles" in London, United Kingdom on Jul 16, 1963


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 24th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:17 • Rehearsal • Jan.24 - D1-18 - Soldier Of Love (Lay Down Your Arms) 24.1

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio:
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 24th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:56 • Rehearsal • Jan.24 - D1-19 - Cathy's Clown-Soldier Of Love-Where Have 24.18

Session Recording:
Jan 24, 1969
Studio:
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Live performances

“Soldier of Love” has been played in 1 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Soldier of Love” has been played


Pop Go The Beatles

Jul 16, 1963 • Part of BBC Sessions


Contribute!

Have you spotted an error on the page? Do you want to suggest new content? Or do you simply want to leave a comment ? Please use the form below!

Your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.