Slow Down - The Beatles

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"Slow Down" - The Beatles (1965)

“Slow Down” was written and originally recorded by New Orleans R&B artist Larry Williams in 1958. Williams was groomed by Specialty records to replace Little Richard after he left rock and roll for religion.

The Beatles covered three Williams’s songs on record during their career, "Slow Down," "Bad Boy," and "Dizzy Miss Lizzie.” Although he was never a superstar in America,  Williams was quite influential in the UK, which is why the Beatles knew of his music.

None of The Beatles appear to have taken it too seriously, with vocal fluffs (most noticeably during the line "But now you've got a boyfriend down the street"), a somewhat workmanlike guitar solo and generally sloppy playing.

Beatle scholar Alan Pollack comments:

“Aside from the blackboard jungle undertone which seems to be sort of Larry Williams' trademark, the focus of the words themselves is on love-related angst, a topic quite in the mainstream of the Beatles own repertoire.”

The Beatles' arrangement differs from the original as it is characterized by much more piano and lead guitar.

Pollack adds:

“John's overdubbed vocal diverges pitch-wise from the initial track so that he sounds as though harmonizing with himself in places; it's hard to know if this was intentional or not.”

The song has been panned due to what many believe is an awful solo and Lennon’s shaky guitar playing. One music critic pointed out eleven mistakes in the solo alone. The lead guitar prods uncertainly throughout the track in a lazy pluck typical of John's style. This was in contrast to George's heavier handling and generally assured timing.
   


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