Crate Digger: ARTHUR ALEXANDER Anna (Go to Him)
Arthur Alexander – Anna (Go To Him) (Dot 1962)
I recently bought a battery-powered record player. It quite honestly looks like a toy, bright blue and red, made of plastic, automatic start on the arm, runs on 4 x AA batteries. The playing platter is so small you can only play 45s despite having a 33rpm setting (great for those Argentinian beat eps! More on those to come!) and the speaker is tiny. Maybe 2 inches in diameter maximum, mono (not the worst thing) a sound as bright as morning sunshine (a terrible thing) no mids, no bass, only sharp treble. Totally painfully useless. I bought it to play check records at fairs not for listening pleasure and if you stick a decent pair of headphones in the output it does the job really well. It did however get me thinking that the buyers of many of my singles, including today’s offering, would not have had a much more refined listening experience than this, playing their new platters on the plethora of Dansette, Bush, or Fidelity suitcase players that were common in the 50s/60s. What made them persist?
Today’s disc would have been one of those. Not rare, very well known. Lots and lots of young girls and boys listening in bedrooms all over America (and on Jukeboxes). The Beatles covered it on their debut album ‘Please, Please Me’ in 1962. It’s better known than the original, and probably my fave version, but Arthur Alexander’s original packs a punch.
And that’s it. Despite the tiny speaker, despite the appalling sound quality, despite the potentially decades worth of dust that has accumulated on these records. The hairline scratches for being left unsleeved on a bedside table or even a bedroom floor, there it is. The wonderful rich baritone of Alexander’s voice, pleading with his girl to reconsider, but if she can’t see past her new love to go with his wishes still cuts through. Despite all those impediments you still FEEL it right in your guts 60 years later. John Lennon’s nasal pleading has the same effect, it’s a proper gut-wrencher.
And therein lies the answer. People kept listening to these songs at the time because they FELT them, and that is why I’m my opinion the late 1960s into the nascent 1960s still persist in popular culture today. We still feel it too. It’s there punching us in the guts via Arthur Alexander, The Beatles, and a host of others.
I always wonder when Lennon/Alexander cry ‘Let me tell you now’ whether Anna really did walk away. You can draw your own conclusions.
ARTHUR ALEXANDER Anna (Go to Him)
Producer – Noel Ball
Written-By – A. Alexander
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