CRY FOR A SHADOW (Instrumental)

Cry for a Shadow

Released 27 March 1964 (single)
20 November 1995 (Anthology 1)
Recorded 22 June 1961
Genre Instrumental rock
Length 2:20
Polydor (UK)
MGM 13227 (US)
Writer(s) Harrison/Lennon
Producer(s) Bert Kaempfert

“Cry for a Shadow” is an instrumental rock piece recorded by the Beatles on 22 June 1961. They recorded the song at Friedrich-Ebert-Halle within the gymnasium, Hamburg-Harburg, Germany while they were performing as Tony Sheridan’s backup band for a few tracks, under the moniker the Beat Brothers. It was written by George Harrison with John Lennon, as a parody of the Shadows style. (The Shadows, who backed Cliff Richard, were the biggest British instrumental rock & roll group at the time of the recording.) It imitates the lead guitar with typical Hank Marvin licks, the melodic bass fills, and even has an imitation during the second middle eight of the famous Jet Harris yell. It is the only Beatles track to be credited to Lennon and Harrison alone.

It was intended to be released as the B-side of “Why”, another Sheridan song with the Beatles, but the record company chose to release another song instead. In early 1964, as the Beatles were gaining popularity, the record company Polydor decided to release it, with “Why” changed to the b-side. “Cry for a Shadow”‘s original title was “Beatle Bop”.

“Cry for a Shadow” is one of only two officially released Beatles singles to feature Pete Best on drums. The other is “Ain’t She Sweet,” although it’s alleged that studio drummer Bernard Purdie “sweetened” the drum parts on this recording for American release.

It is also featured on The Beatles’ First[4] and as part of the Anthology 1 compilation in 1995.

Cover versions

“Cry for a Shadow” is one of the songs included on the Smithereens’ collection of Beatles covers, B-Sides the Beatles (2008).

San Francisco new wave group Translator released a cover version of this song as a B-side to their song “Break Down Barriers” in 1983. The little-known recording was included as a bonus track on the 2008 CD re-release of their album No Time Like Now on Wounded Bird Records.


George Harrison – lead guitar
John Lennon – rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney – bass, yell
Pete Best – drums