“Slow Down” is a 24-bar blues written and performed by Larry Williams. Released as a single in 1958, it was a rhythm and blues hit that influenced the growing rock & roll movement of the time. Both “Slow Down” and the single’s flip-side,”Dizzy Miss Lizzy”, were covered by the Beatles in 1964 and 1965, respectively.
The Beatles covered the song early in their career. In 1964, they recorded a version and Parlophone released it on the Long Tall Sally EP in June in the UK. In July, the song was included on the American album Something New. Capitol Records released it as a single, with “Matchbox” (also a 12-bar blues, from the Long Tall Sally EP) as the flip side. “Slow Down” reached number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song is also included on the 1988 Past Masters compilation. A performance specifically recorded for broadcast by the BBC is found on the album Live at the BBC (1994).
Ian MacDonald criticised the performance as “one of the Beatles’ least successful rock-and-roll covers”, lacking “bottom, drive and basic cohesion” and stated that “The guitar solo is embarrassing and the sound balance a shambles”. He also pointed out the edit at 1:14 whereupon the piano momentarily disappears and McCartney’s bass becomes inaudible. Starr can likewise be heard to lose time during the song.
John Lennon – vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney – bass guitar
George Harrison – lead guitar
Ringo Starr – drums
George Martin – piano