Long Tall Sally
- Paul McCartney - bass, lead vocal
- John Lennon - rhythm guitar
- George Harrison - lead guitar
- Ringo Starr - drums
Without question Little Richard's Long Tall Sally is one of the all-time classics of rock and roll. It was also a perennial favorite of the Beatles. Paul sang his Little Richard vocal imitation, of which he was especially proud. Little Richard heard his sing the song, and apparently approved of Paul's treatment as well. Long Tall Sally was probably the Beatles' favorite number for their stage performances. It was a staple in the earliest times (1957-58), and it remained in the performance set through their last live show (in San Francisco in 1966). It was the longest-standing song in the repertoire.
This traditional 12-bar blues-rocker is credited to Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Enotris Johnson and Richard Penniman. ("Penniman" is Little Richard's real last name.) The first release was in March of 1956 with Slippin' and Slidin' on the flip side. Rolling Stone listed the Little Richard version as number 56 on the roll of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. A young girl named Enotris Johnson was introduced to Specialty Records producer Bumps Blackwell. She had written a song for Little Richard and needed some money for her Aunt Mary's medical treatments. The lyrics were: "Saw Uncle John with Long Tall Sally. They saw Aunt Mary comin', so they ducked back in the alley." The result was a big hit with credits to Little Richard, the little girl, and the producer, Bumps. The objective was to record a song so up-tempo that it could not be covered by most (slow-talking) pop artists, like Pat Boone, who had made a success with his cover of Little Richard's Tutti-Frutti.
The Beatles recorded Long Tall Sally for EMI (Parlophone) in just one take. That was on March 1, 1964 as part of the Hard Day's Night sessions, even though the song was not released as part of that album. Instead, Capitol released the song on April 10, 1964 in the US on The Beatles' Second Album and Parlophone released it on June 19, 1964 in the UK on the Long Tall Sally EP. In the Beatles' version, of Long Tall Sally, George Martin plays the frenetic piano part associated with the Little Richard original. A month after recording this song for EMI, the Beatles performed it for a TV show called Around the Beatles. This rendition is on Anthology 1. A year previously the Beatles sang Long Tall Sally for the BBC's radio program series on the Beatles. The recording from July 16, 1963 (aired on August 13) can be heard on Live at the BBC. The group sang this song for BBC programs on at least six other occasions as well.