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Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals

February 13th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments


Fifty years ago this month, The Beatles appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and thereby changed the trajectory of pop music. The first of their three consecutive weekly performances, on February 9, was seen by an estimated 73 million viewers, setting a new record (read Echoes in the Wind’s fine post on watching that show).

Also on that show were impressionist Frank Gorshin (doing a routine about movie stars as politicians), acrobats Wells & the Four Fays, comedians McCall & Brill, and Broadway star Georgia Brown, joined by the cast of Oliver!, including a pre-Monkees Davy Jones singing “I”™d Do Anything”.

Beatles on Sullivan

They all were, it is safe to say, thoroughly overshadowed by the Beatles, who played All My Loving, Till There Was You (presumably for all the Moms), She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There and I Want To Hold Your Hand.
The following Sunday’s show, on February 16, was broadcast from Miami Beach and tied to the first heavyweight title bout between Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay – another decade-defining event. Only the champion was present. Also in the audience was boxing legend Joe Louis.
Brought to you by Lipton Tea, which was punted poolside by TV announcer George Fenneman, the line-up also included singing actress Mitzi Gaynor (performing a rousing version of Too Darn Hot and a medley of blues songs), comedians Marty Allen & Steve Rossi (riffing only mildly amusingly, at least by modern standards, on the theme of boxing), the affable comedian Myron Cohen, Swiss way-pole acrobats The Nerveless Nocks, and unicyclist act The Volantes. Allen, now 91, Rossi, 81, and Gaynor, 82, are still alive.


The Feb. 16 show: Title card from Miami Beach; George Fenneman and random woman punt Lipton Tea; Ed Sullivan and his shadow; The Beatles in full song (note John's wide-apart legs); Beatles fan controls her hysteria; today she probably tells her grandchildren about seeing the Beatles.

The Feb. 16 show: Title card from Miami Beach; George Fenneman and random woman punt Lipton Tea; Ed Sullivan and his shadow; The Beatles in full song (note John’s wide-apart legs); Beatles fan controls her hysteria; today she probably tells her grandchildren about seeing the Beatles. (Right-click and open in new window/tab for larger version of the pics)


The Beatles played She Loves You, This Boy, All My Loving, I Saw Her Standing There, From Me to You and I Want To Hold Your Hand (“A song,” according to Paul, “that was recorded by one of our favourite American groups, Sophie Tucker”).

The performance which was broadcast on February 23 was pre-recorded. In fact, it was really the first Beatles performance for Sullivan since it was recorded before the first show. By then Beatlemania was in full swing in America. The Beatles played Twist and Shout, Please Please Me and I Want to Hold Your Hand. Also on the show were jazz singer Cab Calloway (singing St James Infirmary and Old Man River), English clarinettist Acker Bilk, English comedy duo Morecambe & Wise, comedians Dave Barry and Morty Gunty, comedy duo Gordon & Sheila MacRae, singer Gloria Bleezarde (no, me neither), and marionettes Pinky & Perky.

The Beatles returned to The Ed Sullivan Show on September 12, 1965. A week later, the show began broadcasting in colour.

On the Feb 16 show: Heavyweight champ Sonny Liston is introduced; comics Steve Rossi & Marty Allen; Mitzi Gaynor and pals; comedian Myron Cohen; Ed Sullivan greets the Fab Four.

On the Feb 16 show: Heavyweight champ Sonny Liston is introduced; comics Steve Rossi & Marty Allen; Mitzi Gaynor and pals; comedian Myron Cohen; Ed Sullivan greets the Fab Four.


We’ve been through a lot of Beatles covers in the past (and the links are live again). To mark the 50th anniversary of the pivotal Sullivan shows, here is something a little different: a mix of jazz and soul (and early fusion) instrumental covers.

There might be jazz, but there’s very little jazzy noodling going on. Arif Mardin might go a bit psychedelic during Glass Onions, as does Steve Marcus on Rain, Mongo Santamaria might go on a trip halfway through his song, and Jim Caravan might take some serious liberties with A Day In The Life after a faithful start, but Jonah Jones de-cheeses Michelle, and Shirley Scott’s version of Get Back has enough energy to light up New York City during one of its famous powercuts. It’s all great stuff.

As always, the whole thing is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-fabbed covers. PW in comments.

1. Steve Cropper – With A Little Help From My Friends (1969)
2. Shirley Scott & The Soul Saxes – Get Back (1969)
3. Cal Tjader – Lady Madonna (1969)
4. Jimmy Ponder – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1974)
5. Arif Mardin – Glass Onion (1969)
6. Buddy Rich Big Band – Norwegian Wood (1967)
7. Count Basie – Come Together (1969)
8. Harvey Averne Dozen – The Word (1968)
9. Jimmy Caravan – A Day In the Life (1968)
10. Jonah Jones – Michelle (1968)
11. Booker T. & The MG’s – Eleanor Rigby (1968)
12. Gabor Szabo – In My Life (1969)
13. Wade Marcus – Something (1971)
14. The Mar-Keys – Let It Be (1971)
15. Mongo Santamaria – Day Tripper (1970)
16. Steve Marcus – Rain (1968)
17. Bobby Bryant – Happiness Is A Warm Gun (1969)
18. Freddy McCoy – I Am A Walrus (1968)
19. Ramsey Lewis – Julia (1968)
20. Bud Shank – Yesterday (1966)
21. The Soulful Strings – Within You Without You (1967)
22. Don Randi Trio – Tomorrow Never Knows (1966)


More great Beatles stuff:
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Any Bizarre Beatles
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2
Beatles Reunited: Everest (1971)
Beatles Reunited: Live ’72 (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Smile Away (1972)
Beatles Reunited: Photographs (1974)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    February 13th, 2014 at 10:10 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. JohnnyDiego
    February 13th, 2014 at 11:15 | #2

    I remember as a nine year old the anticipation of seeing Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was September 1956, if I remember correctly. The buzz around the country was tremendous and the whole family met at my Grandparents house to watch. The only thing I really remember about that occasion was my impersonation of Elvis when the show was over. The old folks liked that a whole lot better than the real show.
    The buzz was equal to or greater than Elvis when The Beatles were scheduled to appear in February, 1964. It was just Mom, Dad, my sister, and me gathered at our house to watch that night. I was sixteen going on seventeen and I swear that if I had been alone I would have cried throughout the whole performance. I wanted nothing more than to stand on the couch and scream my lungs out, something an American boy would have died of embarrassment had he been caught doing just that. It was difficult to contain myself. The next week my friends and I bought guitars and as someone once said, the rest is history. And if just one of my songs had been covered by The Mar-Keys (let alone the whole musical world) life would have been complete. Paul may have been the cute one but I always tried to stand with my guitar like John.

  3. Bill
    February 13th, 2014 at 13:12 | #3

    Great post, there is always something new to discover! Any chance of reposting the Beatles Alone series? Just ran across it when looking at the Beatles link on the site. What a cool idea.

  4. halfhearteddude
    February 13th, 2014 at 14:29 | #4

    What a great memory, JohhnyDiego!

  5. February 13th, 2014 at 16:56 | #5

    This is, as usual, fantastic, and is valuable research that brings important information to light. And by that I mean: who knew Allen and Rossi were both still alive?

    Thanks very much.

  6. February 15th, 2014 at 14:52 | #6

    More Beatles instrumentals: I Wanna Be Your Man – Fred Van Zegveld, Sexy Sadie by Ramsey Lewis and Norwegian Wood by Hugh Masekela.

    You can find them and 47 Beatles covers via this link http://soulmusicsongs.tumblr.com/post/76112362647/beatles-got-soul

  7. Guy
    February 19th, 2014 at 10:14 | #7

    Thanks once again. I enjoyed every single note of this compilation

  8. Ace K
    March 17th, 2014 at 02:41 | #8

    My music=loving friend, why I don’t check out your site more frequently is a mystery to me. Thank you in advance for what will surely be an enjoyable listen for this Beatle nut.

    Ace K.

  9. Ace K
    May 11th, 2014 at 03:24 | #9

    I thank-you’ed in advance, but after listening to this let me extend more praise and thanks. It’s not only a collection that includes tracks many a Beatles-fanatic might have heard about and wanted to hear, but it also flows together very well, which is quite an accomplishment given the diverging approaches of the artists. Really great.

    Thank you.

  10. halfhearteddude
    June 23rd, 2014 at 21:39 | #10

    Well, jb, Steve Rossi has died at 82, on June 22…

  11. Philip Nicegreen
    November 7th, 2020 at 11:13 | #11

    Hi. The link is not valid anymore. Can you re-up please? Great blog! Thanks for your effort,

  12. amdwhah
    November 9th, 2020 at 09:58 | #12

    Re-upped. The other mixes you requested seem to be hiding… I’ll have to find them in the labyrinth of files and folders, but I’ll find them for you.

  13. Philip Nicegreen
    November 11th, 2020 at 09:21 | #13

    Cool. Thanks!!

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