Produced by Geoge Martin and released in 1963, this album was about to launch the prolific career of the Beatles. The recording session only last one day in Abbey Road Studios. On the fourteen tracks of this album, six of them were covers showing a clear influence of the Blues and Rhythm and Blues.
The third track “Anna (Go to Him) ” is a cover of a song written by Arthur Alexander who is a black R&B artist. Mister Alexander grew up listening to white country and black R&B music, sang Gospel in his childhood and released ” Anna (Go to Him) ” in 1962.The cover is pretty close to the original version.
The 4th track “Chains” is also a cover.
This song was written Gerry Goffin and Carole King and became famous sung by The Cookies, an American band. The vocals of this song perfectly suits the style of the Beatles, and uses the principle of blues chords (composed of the I, IV and V degree of the scale)
The Beatles added harmonica at the beginning of the song, which gives a bluesy color.
“Boys” and “Baby It’s You ” are covers of an american group John Lennon loved : The Shirelles. The two of these songs were written by Luther Dixon, the author of “Big Boss Man” -a classic Blues- and other songs sung by B.B.King and Elvis Presley. The Shirelles were the first black female vocal group to have such a success in the US, especially with their song ” Soldier Boy” in 1962.
The saxophone solo was replaced by a guitar solo by George Harrison, and the vocal lead is held by Ringo Starr (the drummer).
The song “Twist and Shout” is the last cover of the album and also the last track the Beatles recorded, as the vocal performance required by this song was exhausting for Lennon. Nevertheless, it remains one of the most famous song of the band.
The initial version was played by the Isley Brothers who began by singing Gospel songs and ended up on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 for their long and prosper carrier.
This first album contains a large amount of cover from Rhythm&Blues songs, showing the influence of the American music in Britain, paving the way to Rock music later on.