Baby It’s You - The Beatles

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"Baby It’s You" - The Beatles (1963)

Written by Burt Bacharach and originally recorded by The Shirelles, The Beatles used their vocal arrangement of “Baby It’s You.” The music website “Pop Matters” defined the Beatles version as: “An infectious spirit that helps to make for an infectious pop treat.”

Australian musicologist Mathew Bannister says that “Baby It’s You” is an interesting example of interaction between lead and backing vocals in the third verse where the lines “You should hear what they say about you” are followed by the backing vocal “cheat, cheat…” by including these dissenting voices from the world of “girl-talk” the whole myth of boy meets girl is ridiculed.

Says Bannister:

“The Beatles must have relished such a moment as it allowed them to question pop convention while simultaneously reenacting it.”

The strain in Lennon's voice is evident as he reaches for the high notes on the line "Don't want nobody, nobody".

Music critic Barry Lenser writes:

“As the song’s lead singer, John especially radiates this mix of authority and amusement. Over glinting guitars and a sturdy, medium-boil rhythm (both of which are well-proportioned), he issues a vow of devotion that ranges, in tonal quality, from calmly resigned to mocking to battered. It’s a versatile vocal, and John navigates the changes so loosely, so fluidly, almost as if he’s just engaging in regular conversation.”

Lenser says that The Beatles bask in these moments and appear to acknowledge their own youth by almost consciously overacting. To memorable effect, John follows the original’s use of repetition on lines like “Many, many, many nights go by” and “They say, they say you never, never, never ever been true”, but he adds more playful emphasis than the Shirelles did.

Lenser writes that Lennon’s smirkingly clipped delivery of “cheat, cheat”, which Paul and George echo, is probably the finest demonstration of the Beatles’ joy of craft on any song they recorded.

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