Till There Was You
- Paul McCartney - lead vocal, bass
- John Lennon - acoustic rhythm guitar
- George Harrison - acoustic lead guitar
- Ringo Starr - bongos
This song occupies an historic place in the history of the Beatles. Written by Merideth Wilson as part of the score of his successful Broadway musical (1958), The Music Man, it was Peggy Lee's 1960 cover in a Latin style that first attracted the attention of Lennon.
For the Beatles, it had little to do with Iowa, Marian the Librarian, or Broadway. It was a simple ballad with a comfortable structure and feel, and with lots of chances to show off the vocal skills of the group. Manager Brian Epstein included it in the January 2, 1962 audition recording for Decca.
Though Decca chose not to sign the Beatles, the track later impressed George Martin and helped persuade him to sign the group in June of 1962 for EMI.
The ability of the Beatles to perform ballads such as this one led him to believe that the group could appeal to more mature audiences than just teenage girls, and for that reason he thought the Beatles stood out from other boys bands of the day.
The song showcases McCartney's clear and accurate voice and the ability of the others to handle close harmonies -- a welcome innovation into pop trends of the time.
In the Decca audition, drummer Pete Best is heard searching for something to do on the drums, perhaps leading Martin to urge for a replacement.
In the album track, last recorded in October of 1963, just before the release of the second Beatles album, Ringo plays a light bongo rhythm, reminiscent of the Peggy Lee version, and more appropriate to the song than the trap set.
August 21 and October 23, 1963 in 8 takes.