Album: Best of Billy J. Kramer (1963)
Charted: 1 9
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • John Lennon wrote this in 1963 when he was in Spain. Along with "I Call Your Name," he wrote it for Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas, who Brian Epstein had signed along with The Beatles. Released with "I Call Your Name" as the B-side, it was a huge hit, which Kramer followed up with a #1 UK cover of "Do You Want To Know A Secret."
  • The Swedish singer and composer Peter Lemarc said 30 years after the song's release that he heard the melody sung by Lennon in a demo from may 1963. "To hear Lennon sing it to an acoustic guitar, gave me shudders in the backbone" said Lemarc.
  • This song is often overlooked in Beatles history. Although it's listed as a "Lennon-McCartney" song, Ian MacDonald didn't mention it in his 1995 book Revolution In The Head, nor did McCartney in his 1997 memoir Many Years From Now. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Johan Cavalli, a music historian in Stockholm, for above 3
  • Billy J. Kramer recalled to the Daily Mail in December 2014: "John came to me on my 20th birthday when I was on tour with them and told me he'd written a song for me."

    "The next time I was recording at Abbey Road, he came and played it for me and we recorded it there and then. That was Bad to Me."

Comments: 7

  • Bob from KansasJohn Lennon's demo is on YouTube. BTW, when I was playing this at home, my wife said that it sounded just like This Diamond Ring by Gary Lewis and the Playboys. It does have great similarities in parts in terms of the chord progression and melody. I wonder which one was written first.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 7th 1964, Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas performed "Bad To Me" on the CBS-TV* program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    At the time the song was at #26 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; two weeks later on June 21st it would peak at #9 {for 2 weeks}...
    Exactly one and twenty days later on June 27th, 1965 the quintet would be back on the 'Sullivan' show performing the song for a second time...
    {See 2nd post below}...
    * This was the group's national debut on TV in the U.S.A.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 11th 1964, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas performed "I Call Your Name" on the ABC-TV program 'Shindig!'...
    Fifteen months earlier on August 22nd, 1963 the group's version of "Bad To Me"* peaked at #1 {for 3 weeks} in the United Kingdom; the record's B-side was "I Call Your Name"...
    R.I.P John, George, and Jimmy O’Neill {Shindig’s host} 1940 -2013…
    * John Lennon co-composed the record that replaced it at #1, "She Loves You" by 'you know who'.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 27th 1965, Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas performed "Bad To Me" on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
    One year earlier on May 24th, 1964 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #71; and on June 21st, 1964 it peaked at #9 (for 2 weeks) and spent 10 weeks on the Top 100...
    Exactly two years earlier on June 27th, 1963 the quintet recorded the song; and on August 24th, 1963 it reached #1 (for 2 weeks) on the United Kingdom's Singles chart...
    On the same 'Sullivan' show the group also sang 'From A Window"; it peaked at #23 on the Top 100 chart...
    Mr. Kramer, born William Howard Ashton, will celebrate his 71st birthday in two months on August 19th, 2014.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyWhen 'Bad To Me' was released in the U.S. the flip side was called 'Little Children'. According to Billboard 'Little Children' peaked at #7 while 'Bad To Me' peaked at #9!!!
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaZabadak, don't forget Paul's "Come and Get It" for Badfinger. "Bad To Me" is a very nice little song!
  • Zabadak from London, EnglandOne of a few Bealtes-written songs to be "covered" by other artists, without the fabs releasing their own versions. Others include "World Without Love" for Peter & Gordon and Cilla Black's "Step Inside Love". Both were written by Paul.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Jon Anderson

Jon AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Jon Anderson breaks down the Yes classic "Seen All Good People" and talks about his 1000 Hands album, which features Chick Corea, Rick Derringer, Ian Anderson, and many other luminaries.

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"

Dean Friedman - "Ariel"They're Playing My Song

Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"

Neal Smith - "I'm Eighteen"They're Playing My Song

With the band in danger of being dropped from their label, Alice Cooper drummer Neal Smith co-wrote the song that started their trek from horror show curiosity to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

David Paich of Toto

David Paich of TotoSongwriter Interviews

Toto's keyboard player explains the true meaning of "Africa" and talks about working on the Thriller album.

TV Theme Songs

TV Theme SongsFact or Fiction

Was a Beatles song a TV theme? And who came up with those Fresh Prince and Sopranos songs?

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)

Richie Wise (Kiss producer, Dust)Songwriter Interviews

Richie talks about producing the first two Kiss albums, recording "Brother Louie," and the newfound appreciation of his rock band, Dust.