"In Spite of All the Danger" was a song recorded by The Quarrymen. Recorded in a 78 rpm acetate disc in Percy Phillips' home studio around 12 July 1958 at the price of 17 shillings and sixpence, this was the second recording made by the future Beatles, preceded only by a recording of the garden fete where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met. The song was released as the A-side to That'll Be the Day, a Buddy Holly cover.
The song was composed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and is the only song to credit the both of them.
Background and recording
In Spite of all the Danger was primarily written by McCartney, with some assistance from Harrison. In The Beatles Anthology, McCartney states he tried to imitate Elvis with the song, although it was sung by Lennon.
It was my song. It's very similar to an Elvis song. It's me doing an Elvis, but I'm a bit loathe to say which! I know which one! It was one that I'd heard at scout camp when I was younger and I'd loved it. And when I came to write the first couple of songs at the age of about 14 that was one of them.
– Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology
The songs were recorded in one take in Percy Phillips' living room-turned-recording studio on the disputed date of 12 July 1958. The precise date is unknown, as each Quarrymen has varying accounts of the recording. A blue plaque unveiled at the recording studio has the date specified as 14 July 1958.
The recording studio was simple. There was only a single microphone, which was recorded onto a reel-to-reel tape, and then pressed onto an acetate disc. Then, the tapes were cleared to save money on new tapes. Phillips held onto the tape for a while, as the Quarrymen only had 15 shillings between them. It is assumed the Quarrymen paid them later.
Possession and later history
A deal was set among the Quarrymen that each band member would have it for a week. The disc first went to Lennon, then to McCartney, then to Harrison, then to Hanton, and finally to Lowe, who failed to return the record back to Lennon. Lowe kept the record for 23 years, after which he found it in his sock drawer.
The record was valued by Sotheby's in 1981. Paul McCartney bought it later for an undisclosed amount, although it is known Lowe rejected the initial offer of £5,000.
McCartney had the record remastered by sound engineers, and around 50 replicas were made out of it and given to family and friends.
The first official release of the record was on Anthology 1 in 1995, albeit shorter with a missing verse and chorus edited out. McCartney has used the song for concerts.
|Anthology information for In Spite of All the Danger|
- John Lennon – lead vocal, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocals
- John Lowe – piano
- Colin Hanton – drums
- On the unofficial Beatles tribute CD/DVD Big Beat Box, the first track on the CD track list is one called "In Spite of All the Danger". Although in approximately the Lennon/McCartney style, it is not this track; it was probably written as part of the tribute. At the time the Big Beat Box CD/DVD came out, this track was thought to have been lost.