Devil In His Heart - The Beatles

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"Devil In His Heart" - The Beatles (1963)

In one of the first songs George Harrison sang the lead on, “Devil in His Heart" was written by Richard P. Drapkin, who recorded it in the early 1960s under the name Ricky Dee.

The Beatles discovered the song through Brian Epstein's NEMS store.

George comments in the Anthology documentary:

“Brian had a policy of buying at least one copy of every record that was released. If it sold, he'd order another one, or five or whatever. Consequently he had records that weren't hits in Britain, weren't even hits in America. Before going to a gig we'd meet in the record store, after it had shut, and we'd search the racks like ferrets to see what new ones were there... Devil In Her Heart and Barrett Strong's Money were records that we'd picked up and played in the shop and thought were interesting.”

The Beatles' version is faster than the original, and emphasizes its Latin flavor a bit more. The original has a large-ish sounding band behind it and a fadeout ending.

Several lyrical substitutions are made, however, besides the obvious gender switch: "This someday you'll see" is replaced by "She's an angel sent to me," a later line, while "No, not me will he deceive" becomes "No, no, nay will she deceive.”

In taking the lead vocal, George engages in a vocal debate with Lennon and McCartney who warn him of his lover’s cruel dishonesty and attempt to convince him to stay away from his dream-girl. He refuses to abide by their advice. The end result is an upbeat call and response. Harrison plays an elaborate Hawaiian sounding solo and the whole song—a hybrid of vocal activity and blurred genre—turns into a very exhilarating affair.

Says Beatle scholar Alan Pollack:

“The whole is song is a regular little Greek Chorus Drama in miniature.”

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