Do You Want to Know a Secret? — These Songs Were Written by Lennon and/or McCartney #2: Paul McCartney — “From a Window”, Paul McCartney — “I Don’t Want to See You Again”, John Lennon & Paul McCartney — “That Means a Lot”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — March 31, 2023


Someone once quipped that many bands could have made their careers off of Lennon and McCartney throwaways. Well, in some cases, they actually did . . . .

779) Paul McCartney — “From a Window”

Besides “Bad to Me” (see #520), written by John Lennon, this song is one the best that Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas ever recorded. As Beatlesbible explains:

‘From A Window’ was mainly written by Paul McCartney for Billy J Kramer, a singer also managed by Brian Epstein and signed to Parlophone.

“That’s Paul’s. That’s his artsy period with Jane Asher. . . .”

John Lennon, 1980, All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Kramer’s first three singles with the Dakotas – “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, “Bad to Me”, and “I’ll Keep You Satisfied” – had also been Lennon-McCartney songs.

“We would just make it up. We would sit down at rehearsal and grab a couple of hours somewhere and just with a pen and a bit of paper, scribble the lyrics down.”

Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

‘From A Window’ was Kramer’s fifth UK single. It was recorded at EMI Studios on 29 May 1964, with George Martin producing. Lennon and McCartney were in attendance, and McCartney can be heard singing harmony on the song’s final word. The single was released in the UK on 17 July 1964, and reached number 10 on the singles chart. . . . In the US it fared slightly less well, peaking at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, and becoming Kramer’s final US top 40 hit.

As to BJK&D, Vernon Joynson informs us that:

The Dakotas were a Manchester-based group which formed back in 1962 [the year I was born!]. It was Brian Epstein who provided them with their big break when he matched them up with Billy Kramer . . . and sent them all off to the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany for a three week slot to smarten up their stage act. Their Epstein connection afforded them the opportunity to record Lennon/McCartney songs . . . .

The Tapestry of Delights Revisited

Adrian Bolton notes that:

Epstein came up with the idea of Lennon & McCartney writing material either specifically for Billy or passing to him any songs not used by the Beatles. John Lennon duly obliged with “Bad to Me” which gave [them] their first No. 1, in August 1963.

liner notes to the CD comp The Very Best of Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas

780) Paul McCartney — “I Don’t Want to See You Again

One of Peter & Gordon’s loveliest numbers, of course written by Paul.

“I Don’t Want to See You Again” was the third consecutive Peter & Gordon single to bear Lennon and McCartney’s writing credit [after “A World Without Love” and “Nobody I Know”], although, like the others, it was mostly (if not completely) composed by McCartney. (Gordon recalls that the due had some trouble persuading the Beatles to let them have have an exclusive on it.) The distinctive twin oboe solo was Peter’s idea. Inexplicably, the song failed to make England’s Top Fifty, although it reached #14 in the States.

liner notes to the CD comp The Ultimate Peter & Gordon

Beatlesbible adds Lennon’s recollection: “That’s Paul.” ((1980, All We Are Saying, David Sheff),

Richie Unterberger notes that “the production . . . employed a softer, more acoustic feel than the hits by the Beatles and other early British Invasion guitar bands. “I Don’t Want to See You Again” used strings”. (

Of P&G, Unterberger writes that:

In June 1964, Peter & Gordon became the very first British Invasion act after the Beatles to take the number one spot on the American charts with “A World Without Love.” That hit, and their subsequent successes, were due as much or more to their important connections as to their talent. Peter Asher was the older brother of Jane Asher, Paul McCartney’s girlfriend for much of the ’60s. This no doubt gave Asher and Gordon Walker access to Lennon-McCartney compositions that were unrecorded by the Beatles, such as “A World Without Love” and three of their other biggest hits, “Nobody I Know,” “I Don’t Want to See You Again,” and “Woman” (the last of which was written by McCartney under a pseudonym). But Peter & Gordon were significant talents in their own right, a sort of Everly-Brothers styled duo for the British Invasion that faintly prefigured the folk-rock of the mid-’60s. In fact, when Gene Clark first approached JimMcGuinn in 1964 about working together in a group that would eventually evolve into the Byrds, he suggested that they could form a Peter & Gordon-styled act. Asher and Waller had been singing together since their days at Westminster School for Boys, a private school in London. . . .

781) John Lennon & Paul McCartney — “That Means a Lot”


‘That Means A Lot’ was mainly written by McCartney, who sang lead vocals. With a drum pattern similar to that on ‘Ticket to Ride’, and an arrangement plastered with tape echo and vibrato, on their first attempt The Beatles created a wall of sound arrangement quite unlike anything else they’d previously recorded.

“The song is a ballad which Paul and I wrote for the film [Help!] but we found we just couldn’t sing it. In fact, we made a hash of it, so we thought we’d better give it to someone who could do it well.”

John Lennon, New Music Express, 1965

‘That Means A Lot’ was given to American singer PJ Proby, who had become friends with the group after taking part in the TV special Around The Beatles in April 1964.

Released in September 1965, Proby’s version – slightly slower than The Beatles’, and with a string arrangement written and conducted by George Martin– reached number 30 in the UK singles chart.

“Normally I’d try and bury these songs and not put them out but there was so much pressure from people, they’d say, ‘Have you got anything?’ I’d say, ‘I have, but you really don’t want to see them.’ They’d say, ‘I do! Believe me, I think I can make a good job of it, and your name on it would be a big plus.’ So PJ Proby, a friend of ours that we met during the Jack Good television show that we did, Round The Beatles, wanted to do it, so I gave it to him. He had a minor hit with it.

Paul McCartney, Many Years from Now, Barry Miles

. . . .

[T]he group briefly considered it suitable for the Help! album . . . .

As to PJ Proby, Steve Huey writes that:

Born and mostly raised in Texas, rock & roller P.J. Proby never really hit it big in his homeland, but his trouser-busting stage antics helped make him a genuine pop star in England at the height of the British Invasion. Proby was born James Marcus Smith in Houston . . . and grew up listening to country and black gospel; later on, he became fascinated by rockabilly, and his stepsister even dated the young Elvis Presley. . . . [H]e moved to Hollywood hoping to make it in the music business. . . . and he soon began recording singles under the name Jett Powers, with little success. . . . [He] changed his alias from Jett Powers to P.J. Proby . . . . [and] cut several singles from 1961-1963 . . . without much luck or promotion. . . . Finally, in late 1963, Proby met British producer Jack Good, who happened to be putting together a TV special on the Beatles that was to feature several other up-and-coming artists. Proby’s demo tape impressed . . . Brian Epstein enough for him to make the cut . . . . After the special aired worldwide, Proby’s first British single, “Hold Me” . . . rocketed into the U.K. Top Five in early 1964. . . .

In early 1965, Proby was booked as part of a package tour, and on one of the London dates in late January, his pants ripped open from the knee all the way up. Proby claimed it was an accident, but when the same thing happened at the next show (much to the audience’s delight), the censors descended and banned Proby from performing on television or in theaters. . . .

Proby continued to release singles . . . scoring another Top Ten hit with another West Side Story cover, “Maria,” in late 1965. (Oddly, the preceding single, “That Means a Lot,” flopped despite being penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.) The lack of promotional opportunities began to hurt Proby’s chart placements, though, and he was also beset with financial problems. He attempted to crack the American market in 1967 and actually did land a Top 40 hit with “Niki Hoeky[]” . . . . Proby was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1968; in 1969, he recorded an album, Three Week Hero, that featured studio backing from all four future members of Led Zeppelin. . . .

This clip shows just what a magnetic performer Proby was:

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