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"Words Of Love"

Categories: Beatles songs

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Buddy Holly live on stage in London, 1958
The composer of "Words Of Love", Buddy Holly, had been one of The Beatles' biggest idols since before they'd even picked up guitars. Not long after they'd done so, his "That'll Be The Day" became the first thing they ever recorded, still known as 'The Quarrymen', on a home-made disc back in 1958 (available on Anthology 1). His band The Crickets had also provided at least part of the inspiration for the name 'Beetles'.

They certainly did him proud with this one! Leaving aside the understandable transposition of accents from Lubbock to Liverool, John and Paul reproduce the primitively multi-tracked Holly harmonies so "soft and true" that it's spooky. Musically, too, everyone remained as faithful as possible to the delicate original: a conscious decision, I'm sure, to pay humble homage to a lost hero. Maybe more than any of the other proto-rock 'n' rollers, Buddy — along with the Everly Bros — had demonstrated that rhythm and melody were not necessarily incompatible.

Ringo took it one step further, accompanying his drums by playing on a packing case, picking up on the sound used on another Crickets hit, "Every Day". George Martin's echoey production similarly helps to summon up Buddy's spirit — in the very nicest eery way possible.

This song, for me, should definitely have been the closer on Beatles For Sale, sticking in your head far more effectively than "Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby". (It opened the second side of Capitol's Beatles VI).

"Words Of Love" just feels good, even when there are no words:

Mmm-mmm-mmm,
Aah-y-ahh-y-ahh-y-ahh...

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