How Do You Do It?

Album: Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying (1963)
Charted: 1
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Songfacts®:

  • The British songwriter Mitch Murray wrote this bouncy love song for the English teen idol Adam Faith, but he rejected the tune. Murray's publisher, Dick James, then offered it to a singer called Johnny Angel who expressed interest before changing his mind and recording another song, "Better Luck Next Time."

    Undeterred, Dick James passed the song to George Martin, A&R director of EMI's Parlophone label. He considered it suitable for his new signing, The Beatles, and although they reluctantly did record the tune, the four young Liverpudlians really only wanted to release their own material. The group insisted on having it dropped in favor of their own "Love Me Do."

    Martin still had faith in the song's appeal. When EMI signed another young Liverpool beat group, Gerry & the Pacemakers, to its Columbia label, he had them record "How Do You Do It? " as their debut single. "We were very surprised when we recorded it, because we had only heard our voices on crummy tape recorders before," Gerry Marsden recalled in 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh. "We couldn't believe we sounded so good."
  • Produced by George Martin, the song topped the UK chart for three weeks, becoming the first ever Merseybeat #1. It was replaced at the summit by The Beatles' first chart-topper, "From Me to You."
  • Laurie Records licensed the single in the US. They released "How Do You Do It?" in the spring of 1963, but it initially made no impact. Gerry & the Pacemakers were part of the following year's British Invasion, and when Laurie reissued the song in the summer of 1964, it became the group's second Hot 100 Top 10 hit.
  • This was the first of several hits Mitch Murray wrote for British acts in the '60s and '70s, most notably Freddie & the Dreamers ("I'm Telling You Now"), Georgie Fame ("The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde"), and Paper Lace ("The Night Chicago Died").
  • Lively love songs were Mitch Murray's early specialty. This one finds Gerry Marsden smitten by a girl who unfortunately doesn't feel the same way. He asks her the secret of her charms, as he wants to make her fall for him.
  • The Beatles version of "How Do You Do It?" eventually saw the light of day in November 1995 on the retrospective Anthology 1. Mitch Murray said it made him cringe, "as I felt that they had screwed up the song, perhaps deliberately."

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