Sunday, January 31, 2016

W.O.C.K On Vinyl - Peter Sellers: Sellers Sings The Beatles (1981)

Before things get too serious here at Rock On Vinyl, I thought it might be fun to post a song / album at the end of each month, that could be categorized as being either Weird, Obscure, Crazy or just plain Korny.

The late Peter Sellers was one of Britain’s major screen comedy stars, his most memorable character being the bungling Inspector Clouseau in the ‘Pink Panther’ films. As a young boy, I just loved watching the Pink Panther and seeing Inspector Clouseau bungle his way through all of the Pink Panther Movies.

Sellers, born on 8 September 1925, first rose to fame in Britain as a member of the Goons, who created an anarchic radio series which ran until 1960. The Goons comprised Peter, along with Spike Milligan, Harry Seacombe and Michael Bentine.

John Lennon was twelve years old when he first heard the Goons and listened avidly to their radio shows until he was sixteen. Their influence was evident in his books 'In His Own Write' and 'A Spaniard In The Works' and in 1973 the New York Times commissioned John to write a review of the recently published book ‘The Goon Show Scripts.’
The Goons were also the stars of ‘The Running, Jumping and Standing Still Film’, directed by Dick Lester, who went on to direct the Beatles movies.

George Martin originally recorded Sellers, producing an album called ‘Songs For Swinging Sellers,’ which proved to be a talking point between George Martin and the Beatles when he first began recording them.

Martin also produced the singles ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and ‘Bangers And Mash’, duets between Sellers and Sophia Loren, both of which entered the British charts.

It was Peter who presented the Beatles with their Grammy Award at Twickenham Studios on Wednesday 28 April 1965. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had given the award for ‘A Hard Days’ Night’ as the ‘Best Performance of a Vocal Group’ for the year 1964. When presenting the Grammy, Sellers referred to it as the ‘Grandma Award.’ The presentation was filmed and a clip appeared on the NBC Grammy Awards programme ‘The Best of Record’ on Tuesday 18 May 1965.

Incidentally, the presentation was made on the studio set of ‘Help!’ and, interestingly, Sellers had originally been offered the script of ‘Help!’ (Obviously under a different title) but turned it down.
Sellers appeared as a guest of the Beatles on the Granada television special ‘The Music of Lennon & McCartney’ in which he dressed as Richard III and performed a cod Shakespearian rendition of ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ His single of the number was issued on Parlophone R 5393 and reached No. 14 in the British charts in December 1965.   [extract from]

And as the Beatles had paid tribute to Sellers’ comedy, he would return the favor, covering three of their most popular songs as only he could. At the top of the post, see Sellers do a spoken word version of “A Hard Day’s Night” as Lawrence Olivier’s Richard III. And above and below, he gives us several renditions of “She Loves You,” in several different accents, “in the voice of Dr. Strangelove, again with cockney and upper-crusty accents, and finally with an Irish twist. The recordings were all released posthumously between 1981 and 1983 on albums no longer in circulation.”

Peter Sellers & Ringo Starr
There are many more Beatles/Sellers connections. Before taping his “Hard Day’s Night” skit for Granada television special “The Music of Lennon & McCartney,” Sellers had presented the band with a Grammy for the song, which won “Best Performance of a Vocal Group” in 1965. “Incidentally,” writes Mersey Beat’s Bill Harry, “the [Grammy] presentation was made on the studio set of ‘Help!’ and, interestingly, Sellers had originally been offered the script of ‘Help!’ (Obviously under a different title) but turned it down.” Sellers and the Goon Show cast had previously worked with Richard Lester, director of the Beatles films and the John Lennon-starring How I Won the War.

Completists out there may have also heard the recorded conversation between Sellers and the Beatles that appears at the end of a bootleg version of the White Album, which circulated for years under the title The Peter Sellers Tape. That the band and the comedian got along so famously is no great surprise, nor that Sellers had so much fun reworking the rather silly, and infectiously catchy, pop songs of the Beatles’ early career, bringing to them his battery of characters and voices. We’ve saved what may be Sellers’ best Beatles cover for last. Below, hear him—in the voice of a lecturing vicar and with a backing choir—deliver “Help!” as a 45 RPM sermon. [by Josh Jones at]

This Month's WOCK On Vinyl is pretty straight forward - Peter Seller's renditions of these Beatles hits are some of the funniest satirical works that I've heard - especially his ''Third Reight'  interpretation of "She Loves You", portrayed as Dr. Strangelove and his Shakespearian rendition of ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ portrayed as Richard III.  Now the W definitely standards for Weird, as does the C for Crazy; but I really think the O this month should stand for Outstanding, as this satirical material is simply brilliant.
I do hope you enjoy it too.
Track Listing
01 - A Hard Day's Night
02 - Can't Buy Me Love
03 - Help
04 - She Loves You (Dr. Strangelove - Single Version)
05 - She Loves You (
Dr. Strangelove - LP Version)
06 - She Loves You (Cockney)
07 - She Loves You (Irish)
08 - She Loves You (Chinless Wonder Version)
09 - She Loves You (Twits Version)
10 - Yellow Submarine
11 - Yes It Is
12 - Peter Sellers Talks With The Beatles
13 - Spike Milligan - Yellow Submarine 

Peter Sellers Link (54Mb)


  1. Hey, I'm having a hard time figuring out if this was an official release or just a compilation you've put together - can you clarify? Many thanks.

    1. Yep - it's an official release
      Also goes under the name of "Peter Sellers Does The Beatles".

    2. Thanks - it's not on discogs or allmusic - which means manual cataloguing for me ;-)

  2. Well that certanly sounds delicious. Only Sellers could come out with something like that. Genius. Thank you for the record.