In celebration of Paul McCartney's 75th birthday...
I Was Paul
In 1964 I was performing in a variety group, East Orange Variety Players, which put on shows for handicapped people in hospitals and senior health care facilities. One of the specialty acts we did was a medley of songs sung by the Beatles. When our group director, Bob McGary, decided who would sing several Beatles songs, I was chosen to be Paul McCartney. My friend Bob played John, Martin was George, and Raphael was Ringo and he played just like that animated drummer! For my part, I lip-synced a song Paul had recorded, "Till There Was You" from THE MUSIC MAN musical. That was a favorite recording of mine at that time. We also did a few other Beatles songs and the one that got the biggest response was "She Loves You." That song always made the audience happy with big smiles on their faces. Many of them were in wheelchairs or on crutches. It was a real joy to impersonate the Beatles, with our wigs and non-electric guitars, some with missing strings! That didn't matter to the audience since we were bringing them some joyful music. Our Beatles tribute made those patients happy. I was happy too -- because I got to impersonate Paul, my favorite Beatle, who was born the same year as me. So I felt like we were mates.
"The Soho Serenade"
A few years earlier I first wrote the words to a new song. I was thinking of the London district and also a recent record, "My Bonnie," with a solo by Tony Sheridan accompanied by the Beatles, who on the Polydor 45 record were called "The Beat Brothers," since their group name was too close to "peedles" a German slang word for peeing I think.
At that time I was dating an English girl by the name of Sadie. I dedicated the song to her. She was thrilled to receive the melody and words and said she would try to find a group to perform my song when she returned to England. I guess she never found that group. At least she never mentioned it in her many letters she wrote me after returning to England. I wonder whatever happened to her. Maybe she forgot all about my song I had given her. In any case, as far as I know “The Soho Serenade” was never sung in England.
After I returned to the U.S. in 1963, I prepared a lead sheet of "The Soho Serenade" and it was copyrighted in 1964.
The following year I went to a recording studio and here I am proudly holding my demo 45 RPM record:
The song was beautifully sung by Ethel Regan at the local recording studio in New Jersey, with a nice small combo accompanying her. While at the studio one day, a few guys came in to talk with the record producer, Bill. I asked after they left if they were musicians and he told me they were members of an up-and-coming vocal group known as The Four Seasons. Wow! And I never got to play my new song for them. Funny how things work out.
After trying repeatedly to get a recording company to release my record, I just stopped trying and put the demo record away and forgot about it.
Then, 50 years later, when preparing a new CD, I decided to include "The Soho Serenade." It is available for the first time commercially on this album:
"The Soho Serenade," is also available as a single from CD Baby at this link:
I'm finally sharing "The Soho Serenade," written thanks to the early Beatles back in the 1960s.
I thank Paul McCartney for his popularity and letting me be him as an impersonator of songs he sang.
So "Till There Was You" Paul, I never thought I would become a songwriter and later a classical composer.
Thanks for your inspiration!
-- Roger Lee Hall
by Roger Lee Hall...
Songs, Poems and Stories
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A Songwriter's Songs and Sorrows
"Shake, Rattle and Roll"
Electric Elvis and Bill Randle
"Please, Please Me" - Memories of The Beatles