Tell Me Why - Joey Levine

from A Hard Days Night by The Beatles Complete On Ukulele



When John Lennon underwent primal therapy in 1970 he was advised by his therapist Arthur Janov to revisit his old material to find clues to his anxieties he was feeling.

Between 1962 and 1969 deceit, desertion and revenge occur again and again in Johns songs. “No Reply”, “I Call Your Name”, “I’ll Cry Instead” and many others are sad bitter pieces where the object of his scorn has let him down in some horrible way.

When he went back to that material he realized that many of his songs related to John’s separation from his mother. John’s reaction to this was to write about those same subjects in a more direct and self-conscious way. “Mother”, Isolation & “My Mummy’s Dead” all came directly from those therapeutic sessions.

“Tell Me Why” is another from that cannon.
He could be singing directly to his mother, pleading:

“And if something I have said or done
Tell me what and I’ll apologize
If you don’t I really can’t go on
Holding back these tears in my eyes”

Despite, or maybe because of, it’s Freudian overtones “Tell Me Why” is one of The Beatles more straight forward recordings.

An upbeat number was needed for a scene in “A Hard Days Night” and John quickly came up with a song that could have been covered by “The Crystals” or “The Shirelles”. He wrote it just after coming back from New York and had been listening to R&B radio.

It was recorded on the same day as “And I Love Her” and “If I Fell”. After all the sensitivity and gentility shown in those recordings you can hear the pure exuberance as the band tear into “Tell Me Why”.

The Ukulele Version by Joey Levine has a similar exuberance and salutes a very underrated chapter of American Pop music.

In the late1960’s as The Beatles were rejecting straight pop structure and started exploring more exotic and experimental forms, a new genre appeared that filled the gap. So was born Bubblegum.

Bubblegum Music was singles driven, contrived, simplistic and totally magnificent. It was produced in an assembly-line process, created by producers using the best musicians available and unknown singers.

One of the masters of the form was Joey Levine. He sang and/or wrote for 1910 Fruitgum Company, The Ohio Express and several other Bubblegum Groups. It is impossible to resist singing along with songs like “Yummy Yummy Yummy” or "Life Is a Rock (But the Radio Rolled Me)”.

Joey has reimagined The Beatles as a Bubblegum Group – which in many respects they were.

Jeff Southworth decided to use actual gear that was used on many Bubblegum recordings –a mid-60’s Vox AC10, with a ’64 Rickenbacker 360 6-string, and a ’64 Gretsch 6120 providing the guitars.

Of course ukulele was never used on Bubblegum recordings but we have put that right here.


from A Hard Days Night, released August 14, 2012
Ukulele Version #182 recorded July 3 2012

Joey Levine - Vocals
Jeff Southworth: Guitar, vocals, bass, drums, organ
David Barratt: Ukulele

Recorded at Crushing Music and Jam Entertainment by John Squicciarino and Jeff Southworth
Mix and additional production at The Abattoir Of Good Taste by David Barratt

Produced by Joey Levine, Jeff Southworth and David Barratt

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The Beatles Complete On Ukulele New York, New York

Every Tuesday from January 20, 2009 until July 31, 2012 The Beatles Complete On Ukulele released a new recording of a Beatles song* featuring a ukulele sung by a different artist.

These albums are a compilation of those recordings.

*we consider a Beatles song to be one of the 185 original compositions released by The Beatles between 1962 and 1970.
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