A young George Harrison, during a boat tour of Hamburg's harbor, circa 1961.
It's been a while since anything of note has appeared on this blog, so let's rectify that forthwith! Today's post features a song that figured prominently in the Beatles' setlists when they played in Hamburg and Liverpool, before the moderating hand of Brian Epstein groomed the band for worldwide stardom, and the Beatles began featuring more of their own songs during increasingly shorter appearances, which were sometimes less than half an hour at the peak of the band's touring years.
However, during the early days of the band, the guys had to fill hours of stage time with a wide variety of tunes besides the better known hits of the time. Nothin' Shakin' is one of those songs. It was originally released in 1958 by rockabilly artist, and occasional TV actor, Eddie Fontaine, who appeared on programs like 77 Sunset Strip, Baretta, Happy Days, and Quincy. To hear the original version of the song, clock on the previous, highlighted link.
While the Eddie Fontaine version of the song cooks well enough on its own, the Beatles' treatment of the same song (featuring George Harrison on lead vocals) absolutely sizzles, especially the beer and amphetamine-driven version captured on New Year's Eve 1962 Star Club recordings. However, in the interest of audio clarity, let's give a listen below to a cleaner performance of Nothin' Shakin', captured live by BBC sound engineers in 1963. Just click on the Youtube link below: