Procol Harum

the Pale

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Everything I do is Wrong

A correction

I'm indebted to Mikael Werkelin, who kindly wrote from Gotland in Sweden confirming a suspicion I had intimated in my piece about Everything I do is Wrong:

'I found something on BtP to which I have a correction. It's regarding John Liquorice.... and the song Everything I Do Is Wrong. It says on the cover (and in your webpage) that the song is written by Brooker & Reid. I think I got the correct answer.

The song was in fact written by Charlie Rich. I've got the song on a strange record with Albert Lee, Jimmy Page, Nicky Hopkins and a couple of other British super-musicians. It may be recorded in the late 60s during sessions for the Immediate label. Anyway, on the record they do a version of Everything I Do Is Wrong, and on the cover it says that the composer is Rich.

I think it's correct as I also found this on the net: 'Rich was many things to many people in his showbiz career: he released one killer rockabilly 45 in 1959 (Lonely Weekends b/w Everything I Do is Wrong) on Phillips (a Sun Subsidiary)'

As with The Story about a Suit, I am delighted to concede that the track I described was not composed by Brooker and Reid!

Roland @ BtP

In August 2000 BtP received confirmation of the above from no less an authority than Charlie Rich Jr, who writes: "I know for a fact that my father wrote Everything I Do is Wrong. Last I checked, ASCAP fully agrees and sends regular royalties. Keep on keeping on!"

In January 2006 BtP received this interesting mail from Steve Dahlberg in Lawrence, Kansas, who describes himself as 'longtime musician, singer/songwriter, and music lover of all sorts':

'I went looking on Google for the lyrics to Everything I Do Is Wrong and was astonished to find so little reference to it. I believe your page was
the only one to come when I searched important samples of the lyrics (I searched on: "everything I do is wrong" policeman beat "just don't see" ).

'Was glad to see your correction [on this page] because I played in a rockabilly band in my drunken late 20s / early 30s and we covered this song. I never knew who it was by until I read your reference to Charlie Rich and the 1959 single (I've never heard the Procol recording your web page is about), but the guitar player in that band had a copy on cassette which he copied for me and I grew to love that song dearly (have since lost the cassette). The song itself was from a simpler time, not in the later context of the Procol Harum era, and like a lot of those classic rockabilly tunes, what it lacked in structural complexity, it made up with sheer character and simultaneous self-effacing bravado, if that makes any sense. Yeah, it had the climbing key change thing going on, but I don't recall it going back down, only ever up, but my whiskey-steeped memories of that time could be convoluted I suppose. The quality of the vocal was the focus and it was very engaging  and catchy, and smooth and humorous all at the same time.

'The solo section that you describe as blank on the Procol recording is filled with a totally killer boisterous sax solo on the original, and instead of electric guitar blasting chords, it seems to me the original was piano and drums, with lots of rimshots and shell clicks and such. It's a really fun song in the earlier context, and it's cool to find out it was by Charlie Rich!'

Thanks, Steve

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