The Beatles, “Love of the Loved” (Decca Audition, 1962): Deep Beatles

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Deep Beatles’ look at the Decca audition concludes with another early John Lennon/Paul McCartney original, “Love of the Loved.” Primarily a McCartney composition, “Love of the Loved” features a slight Latin rhythm and a vocal performance that demonstrates the singer had worked on refining his range and phrasing. The Beatles never officially released the song, although it was later covered by a fellow Liverpudlian.

According to Mark Lewisohn’s Tune In, McCartney first penned the track in 1959 while walking home, either from a date or John Lennon’s house. His then-girlfriend Dot Rhone later claimed he had written the lyrics with her in mind, but Paul McCartney never publicly commented on this assertion.

Lewisohn points out that the bridge resembles the Teddy Bears’ “To Know Him Is to Love Him” — a distinct possibility, since the Beatles performed the song in their sets. It became a staple of the Beatles’ (then the Quarrymen’s) concerts, with McCartney utilizing the crooning manner he employed on “Til There Was You” and “Besame Mucho.” While playing Cavern Club shows, McCartney would sing “with his face turned up and angled, big eyes fixed on the far end of the tunnel, above the heads of the crowds,” Lewisohn writes.

By the time manager Brian Epstein secured the audition with Decca Records, the Beatles had amassed a live repertoire comprised of covers and originals, the latter an unusual trait for groups of the time. Thus Epstein urged the boys to perform “Like Dreamers Do,” “Hello Little Girl,” and “Love of the Loved” to demonstrate Lennon and McCartney’s versatility and songwriting ability.

When the Beatles cut the Decca audition tape on January 1, 1962, their nervousness was evident on various tracks, and “Love of the Loved” is no exception. Paul McCartney’s voice slightly quivers and he repeatedly overemphasizes the “k” in the word “look.” Pete Best’s drumming is unremarkable and lacks power, although John Lennon and George Harrison play decent rhythm and lead guitar, respectively.

Since “Love of the Loved” was an early composition, McCartney was still learning the songwriting craft and had yet to write sophisticated lyrics. Where the familiar McCartney shines through is at the very end, when he sings the title phrase and emits a falsetto “ooh,” a technique that would become a trademark of future Beatles recordings.

Once the Beatles secured their contract with EMI, they shelved “Love of the Loved” for other originals. By 1963, Brian Epstein wanted to build a roster of performers, and on September 6 signed his lone female artist: singer Cilla Black.

Epstein persuaded Paul McCartney to dust off “Love of the Loved” and present it to Black. Thus George Martin produced her first single, “Love of the Loved,” and it was released on September 27, 2963. Unfortunately, the song did not perform well, only reaching No. 30 on the UK charts.

Cilla Black’s rendition differs greatly from the original in that the drumming remains very much in the foreground, with horns blaring throughout the recording — perhaps to complement Black’s big, brassy voice. Her vocals do reveal the slight catchiness of the chorus and bridge, and demonstrate that Paul McCartney was rapidly developing an ear for memorable hooks.

“Love of the Loved” may not have earned the Beatles the Decca contract, nor did it score a hit for Black, but it nevertheless retains historical significance in the Beatles’ development as songwriters and performers.

Kit O'Toole

Kit O'Toole

Kit O'Toole is a lifelong music enthusiast who maintains a stand-alone music blog called Listen to the Band. In addition, she is the internet columnist and a contributing editor for Beatlefan magazine. She also holds an Ed.D. in Instructional Technology. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Kit O'Toole
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  • sd

    Hi Kit, I liked your posts on the Decca tapes. I just wanted to point out one thing–on both this and the post for “Like Dreamers Do,” you mention Paul’s voice quivering due to nerves. I actually think these quivers were intentional, in imitation of Roy Orbison, since both of the songs are very obviously influenced by Orbison. (Another example is Please Please Me, where Paul also ends with the “ooh” falsetto.)

    Anyway, even without this evidence of nerves, I agree the boys were definitely not in their groove at this audition.

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