Quiz time. Which Beatles songwriting team wrote the first original song ever recorded by the group?
Answer: George Harrison and John Lennon
It’s true. Although the songwriting duo would never write together again, the first original song The Beatles released was “Cry For A Shadow,” an instrumental track mainly written by George Harrison and recorded in June of 1961.
“What were the Beatles doing in 1961?” you might well ask (almost three years before The Beatles were known in the United States). Well since 1960 The Beatles had been playing clubs in the red light district of Hamburg, Germany. In January of 1961 the authorities deported the band because George was only 17 and was working underage. They returned in March of that year after George’s 18th birthday.
Their reputation in Hamburg was growing and they attracted the attention of singer Tony Sheridan who was under contract as a headliner in one of the clubs in which they performed. Sheridan used The Beatles as his occasional backing band and invited them into the studio with him to back him on some standards, “My Bonnie,” “Ain’t She Sweet,” “When The Saints Go Marching In” and others. When The Beatles offered material of their own, only “Cry For A Shadow,” an instrumental in the style of The Shadows was chosen.
And here is the song. To put it in Beatles perspective this is only weeks after Stuart Sutcliffe quit the band. And yes, that’s Pete Best on drums. So sit back and enjoy the Beatles first trip into the studio.