Like many of my cohorts, February 9, 1964 was the day I came to realize creating and performing my music was possible. Prior to this the music icons were bigger than life and unless you were Elvis, Sam Cooke, the Everly Brothers, the Four Tops, Buddy Holly, Dion, Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson or Fats Domino, the odds were slim you would ever breakthrough.
Before the mid-sixties there were dozens of artists we all aspired to forge ourselves into. A partial list includes: Beach Boys, Ben E. King, Chet Atkins, Chiffons, Chubby Checker, Del Shannon, Drifters, Dusty Springfield, Four Seasons, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Les Paul, Leslie Gore, Little Richard, Marty Robbins, Marvelettes, Patsy Cline, Ray Charles, Rick Nelson, Ronettes, Roy Orbison, Coasters, Drifters, Platters, Shadows, the Ventures and so many more.
On that February night 60% of the U.S. households were tuned to the Ed Sullivan Show and the Beatles’ live performance of five songs turned everything inside out. The big music icons were taken down a peg or two and thousands of aspiring musicians saw there was safety in numbers by forming a band, playing your songs and maybe someone will notice. If these four can do it we can too!
Almost overnight every garage, basement, or abandoned storage space had a band butchering the latest hits, it was a great time to build our musical chops.
Fast forward 8 months to October 1964 when the boys walked into the studio for the first time with a song arrangement unfinished. Originally intended for a film titled Eight Arms to Hold You, the origins of the song have been debated with multiple, credible versions of how the song actually came to be. Was it another one of Ringo’s malapropisms? Or was it something a driver said to Paul when he asked the driver, ‘how’ve you been?’ The driver responded, ‘Oh, working hard,’ he said, ‘working eight days a week.’
Eight Days a Week was never one of the boys favorite songs, in fact they only performed it one time publicly on Thank Your Lucky Stars and it was a lip-sync performance at that. Paul recently cranked it up for his 2013 Out There tour and the fans enjoyed every note.
It’s possibly the first time a pop song started with a fade in, the boys struggled in the studio to get this one right. I think they worked it out just fine.
A detail many don’t know. The chord sequence for the song actually comes from the Four Tops’ It’s the Same Old Song and was used again for You Won’t See Me. Later Chicago grabbed the same sequence in 1971 to record their hit Saturday in the Park. Music is full of connections like this and it’s one of the insider music geek details I really enjoy.
Eight Days A Week.
Eight Days A Week was a lip-sync’d performance during their final appearance on the British television show Thank Your Lucky Stars. The show was taped March 28th and aired April 3rd, 1965.