Saturday, October 22, 2016

SHG: The Beatles: "Do You Want to Know a Secret?"

The Beatles: “Do You Want to Know a Secret”
Entered the chart on: 4/11/64
Peaked on: 5/9/64
Weeks at #2: 1
Song at #1: “Hello Dolly” by Louis Armstrong

Oh look, the top two on my negative ninth birthday!

You see, every once in a while, the Beatles thought they ought to throw George a bone and give him a substandard tune to sing, something not good enough for #1, but OK for #2. When I was starting out with my pop music charts exploration (i.e.: after acquiring my first copy of the Whitburn book), I noticed this was one of the Beatles early hits I had not heard. I originally hypothesized they couldn’t all be winners, and most albums need their filler. But are there hidden depths here that I missed on first listening? Let’s find out...

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I have to admit, that ringing guitar intro is beautiful. George Martin’s doing, I imagine. I’m surprised how much George (Harrison, not Martin) is flying solo on this tune. Not until we get to the second refrain do we get Paul and John offering reverbed “doo-wah-doo” backing harmonies. There’s also some unidentified cracking percussion instrument (a “whip”?) turning up about half-way through, during the bridge. I imagine that’s also George Martin’s doing.

Well, I can certainly appreciate the craft that went into this, but I’m still not really feeling it. I reiterate: they can’t all be winners. George Martin does a lovely job with the production, making it sleek and shiny as a chrome fender but the song itself? Meh. Boilerplate Beatles.

Rating: 3

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