‘Sure Got A Long Way To Go . . .’

About “Matchbox,” which we discussed briefly Saturday: I imagine it came to my attention during a sticky 1970 evening when the evening DJ at WJON spent his shift playing nothing but Beatles tracks.

I long ago lost the tapes, but I got everything from that night – five hours’ worth, maybe – on cassette. Many of the tracks were new to me, among them “Matchbox.”

The track, recorded June 1, 1964, was released that month in England as part of a four-track EP. (The other tracks were “Long Tall Sally,” “I Call Your Name,” and  “Slow Down.”) According to Mark Wallgren’s The Beatles on Record, the EP went to No. 1 in England in the charts released by Music & Video Week, to No. 14 in Melody Maker, and to No. 11 in New Music Express. As was the case for many of the Beatles’ singles and B-sides, it did not show up in album format in England until the release on CD of the two Beatles Past Masters collections in 1988.

In the U.S., “Matchbox” was released as a single b/w “Slow Down.” It went to No. 17 in both Billboard and Cashbox, and to No. 22 in Record World. It was part of the Capitol hodgepodge album Something New, released during the summer of 1964; the album went to No. 2 in the album charts of all three of the earlier mentioned magazines.

Musically, “Matchbox” is a direct descendant of Carl Perkins’ 1957 record on Sun, which is no surprise, as the Beatles, especially George Harrison, admired Perkins’ work. They’d also record Perkins’ “Honey Don’t,” which came out on a four-track EP in Britain during 1965 and was included on another of Capitol’s hodgepodge albums, Beatles ’65, released in the U.S. in December 1964.

Here’s Perkins’ 1957 take on “Matchbox.” It’s listed at Second Hand Songs as an original, but in the next couple weeks, we’ll examine some of the records listed there under the title “The Matchbox Blues,” and see how related they are.

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One Response to “‘Sure Got A Long Way To Go . . .’”

  1. porky says:

    Don’t forget the third Perkins tune the Beatles cut “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby.” By some reports Carl was present during the recording of these tunes, not sure which specific ones. George was “Carl Harrison” during their Hamburg days. George came to the States for Carl’s funeral; there is footage of his eulogy.

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