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Released in 1994

Soldier of Love

Written by Buzz CasonTony Moon

Last updated on August 27, 2014


Album This song officially appears on the Live At The BBC Official live.

Timeline This song was officially released in 1994

Related session

This song was recorded during the following studio sessions:

Other songs from Arthur Alexander interpreted by The Beatles

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).” […]


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

Bootlegs

Live performances

Soldier of Love” has been played in 1 concerts.

Latest concerts where “Soldier of Love” has been played

Paul McCartney writing

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