"In Spite of All the Danger" was a song recorded by The Quarrymen. Recorded in a 78 rpm acetate disc in Percy Phillips' home studio around 12 July 1958 at the price of 17 shillings and sixpence, this was the second recording made by the future Beatles, preceded only by a recording of the garden fete where John Lennon and Paul McCartney met. The song was released as the A-side to That'll Be the Day, a Buddy Holly cover.

The song was composed by Paul McCartney and George Harrison, and is the only song to credit the both of them.

Background and recordingEdit

In Spite of all the Danger was primarily written by McCartney, with some assistance from Harrison. In The Beatles Anthology, McCartney states he tried to imitate Elvis with the song, although it was sung by Lennon.

It was my song. It's very similar to an Elvis song. It's me doing an Elvis, but I'm a bit loathe to say which! I know which one! It was one that I'd heard at scout camp when I was younger and I'd loved it. And when I came to write the first couple of songs at the age of about 14 that was one of them.

Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology

The songs were recorded in one take in Percy Phillips' living room-turned-recording studio on the disputed date of 12 July 1958. The precise date is unknown, as each Quarrymen has varying accounts of the recording. A blue plaque unveiled at the recording studio has the date specified as 14 July 1958.

The recording studio was simple. There was only a single microphone, which was recorded onto a reel-to-reel tape, and then pressed onto an acetate disc. Then, the tapes were cleared to save money on new tapes. Phillips held onto the tape for a while, as the Quarrymen only had 15 shillings between them. It is assumed the Quarrymen paid them later.

Possession and later history Edit

A deal was set among the Quarrymen that each band member would have it for a week. The disc first went to Lennon, then to McCartney, then to Harrison, then to Hanton, and finally to Lowe, who failed to return the record back to Lennon. Lowe kept the record for 23 years, after which he found it in his sock drawer.

The record was valued by Sotheby's in 1981. Paul McCartney bought it later for an undisclosed amount, although it is known Lowe rejected the initial offer of £5,000.

McCartney had the record remastered by sound engineers, and around 50 replicas were made out of it and given to family and friends.

The first official release of the record was on Anthology 1 in 1995, albeit shorter with a missing verse and chorus edited out. McCartney has used the song for concerts.

Release Edit

The first official release of the track was published in Anthology 1 along with its B-side. The song was used by McCartney on concerts and was used in the biopic Nowhere Boy.

Anthology information Edit

Anthology information for In Spite of All the Danger
Anthology 1
Released on: Anthology 1
Track number: Disc 1, Track 4
Writing credits: (Paul McCartney and George Harrison)
Recorded: Phillips Sound Recording Service, Liverpool, 1958
Description: Running an electrical goods shop in Liverpool wasn't enough for Percy Phillips, and being 60 certainly wasn't going to stop him. So in 1955, spurred by the local interest in country and western music, Phillips spent £400 on a portable tape recorder and portable disc cutting machine, microphones, and a four-way mixer, which were installed in the middle living-room of his Victorian terraced house at number 38 Kensington, a major thoroughfare located a mile beyond Liverpool city centre.

Sparse it may have been but Phillips' recording facility was efficient. Having arrived for their appointment customers would sit in a waiting area and, when prompted, move into the living-room, face up to the microphones, and perform, live. While trams rattled along Kensington – their noise was deadened by a heavy curtain over the studio door – Percy Phillips would commit the first performance to tape and then, provided that the Artiste was not distressed with the result, immediately transfer this to a shellac disc, wiping the tape next time someone used the studio.

Word of Phillip's facility soon spread, and as skiffle and then beat music took hold so it began to attract a number of Liverpool's younger musicians, eager to commit their sound to disc and be able to announce that they had "made a record". Having travelled with their instruments from the south end of the city, a quintet called the Quarry Men – John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison, who all played guitars, John Lowe who played the piano and Colin Hanton the drumer – turned up at Phillips Sound Recording Service in the spring or summer of 1958. A short while later, having parted company with 17s 6d [88p], the five Quarry Men left 38 Kensington passing among them the cherished fruit of their debut recording session: a very-breakable 78rpm record, ten-inches in diameter. The disc's labels instructed, "Play with a light-weight pick-up" ... but bore no mention of the words Quarry Men, and certainly not Beatles, a name they wouldn't adopt for another two years.

On one side of the disc was That'll Be the Day, homage to Buddy Holly and the Crickets, featuring John Lennon's lead vocal with Paul McCartney providing the high harmonies. On the other side was In Spite of All the Danger, co-written by Paul McCartney and George Harrison, but, again, with John Lennon singing lead.

Colin Hanton (whose membership of the Quarrymen pre-dated both Paul's and George's) and John Lowe (who was recruited principally because he could play Jerry Lee Lewis's exacting arpeggio part in Mean Woman Blues) left soon after the band's one and only recording session, leaving the nucleus, Lennon, McCartney and Harrison, to aim for fame.

Personnel Edit

Trivia Edit

  • On the unofficial Beatles tribute CD/DVD Big Beat Box, the first track on the CD track list is one called "In Spite of All the Danger". Although in approximately the Lennon/McCartney style, it is not this track; it was probably written as part of the tribute. At the time the Big Beat Box CD/DVD came out, this track was thought to have been lost.