Too Bad About Sorrows

Written by Lennon - McCartneyUnreleased song
Timeline This song has been written (or started being written) in 1958 (Paul McCartney was 16 years old)

Related sessions

This song has been recorded during the following studio sessions

Related songs

Years Roll Along

Unreleased song

Just Fun

Unreleased song

If Tomorrow Ever Comes

Unreleased song

That's My Woman

Unreleased song

I'll Wait Till Tomorrow

Unreleased song

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Song facts

From earlybeatlessongs:

Thank heavens for the Get Back bootlegs! “Too Bad About Sorrows” is an historic song not just for the Beatles but for popular music as a whole – McCartney cites it as the very first one that he and Lennon wrote together, entering it in their exercise book as “A Lennon-McCartney Original” in the latter months of 1957. (Although Lewisohn places it in 1958, I think late-1957 is more likely, and so we will enter it here in the chronology, accepting that it’s not possible to be absolutely certain.)

No trace of the song is left from that early era, but it surfaces on the 1969 tapes. It was first recalled on January 8, when Lennon sang a garbled version of the first line or two, before switching to “Just Fun”, to laughter from McCartney. It was remembered again on January 22, where McCartney tears into it with Presley-esque gusto. However he soon loses his confidence, and the rest of the group also falters, only to re-launch into inappropriate rhythms and wrong chords (presumably as a joke) before coming to a halt at around the minute mark. Nevertheless, we get a reasonable idea of how the song goes, and there’s a line (“There’ll be no tomorrow”) which reminds us of one in the later “There’s A Place”. 

Messy this might be, but it’s priceless nonetheless – Lennon and McCartney running through their first ever composition! Although there are other audio fragments known (such as a 1978 interview McCartney did with Melvin Bragg for the South Bank Show in which he sings the hook line), they add nothing to the marvellous and terrible 1969 recording.


A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 8th, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

0:50 • Rehearsal • Jan.08 - D1-25 - Too Bad About Sorrows 8.21

Session Recording:
Jan 08, 1969
Studio :
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK

A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions - Jan 21st, 1969 - 1 & 2

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

1:00 • Rehearsal • Jan.21 - D2-21 - Too Bad About Sorrows 21.46

Session Recording:
Jan 21, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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Jay 3 years ago

I seem to recall hearing a small snippet of this during The Compleat Beatles documentary in the background - very brief. I always wondered if it was actually them, but I can easily see it coming from the Get Back sessions since they were bored and jamming on just about everything they could think of.

The PaulMcCartney Project 3 years ago

Hi Jay, thanks for your message. On the blog (which goes pretty deep into the Get Back sessions), it is mentioned that:

"It’s a stretch to say the Beatles played “Too Bad About Sorrows” in the moments after they finished “One After 909,” [...] Lasting about 15 seconds long, all we really hear on the January 8, 1969, performance is John singing the first line of the song — the title — over incoherent guitar and bass accompaniment, and two more garbled lines: “Too bad about love/There’ll be no tomorrow.” The performance itself is obviously forgettable as are so many of the brief stabs at songs these sessions"

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