Money, as The Beatles song goes, can’t buy you love. It probably also can’t buy you the services of a legendary crooner like Frank Sinatra to serenade your beloved with a unique recording.
But if you were The Beatles’ drummer, you could simply call in a favour from the Chairman Of The Board.
The first single to receive an Apple catalogue number was ‘Those Were The Days’ by Mary Hopkin, which was given the Apple 2 status.
However, Apple 1 was actually a totally one-off re-recording of ‘The Lady Is A Tramp’ sung by Ol’ Blue Eyes, made in 1968 for Ringo Starr’s then-wife, Maureen, who was a big Sinatra fan.
Retitled ‘The Lady Is A Champ’, Sammy Cahn rewrote the lyrics, personalising them for the surprise gift for Maureen’s 22nd birthday.
The opening verse goes,
“There’s no one like her, But no one at all. And as for charm Hers is like, wall to wall. She married Ringo And she could have had Paul. That’s why the lady is a champ.”
Only one copy was made and then the master tapes were destroyed.
Maureen died of leukaemia on 30 December 1994, with her four children, mother, husband Isaac Tigrett (one of the founders of the Hard Rock Café and House Of Blues) and ex-husband Ringo at her bedside.
Amazingly, this rare track has been up on YouTube since January 2010, and has only accumulated about 3500 views.
The quality isn’t great, but, considering it’s a bootleg, it’s certainly listenable.
Experience a piece of musical history here:
There’s no one like her But no one at all And as for charm Hers is like, wall to wall She married Ringo And she could have had Paul That’s why the lady is a champ
Creates excitement Whenever it’s dull She just appears And there goes the lull She merely smiles And you’re out of your skull That’s why the lady is a champ
The folks who do And don’t meditate Agree she’s great They mean Maureen I’ve got more lyrics Right after this band Because the lady is a champ
Though we’ve not met I’m convinced she’s a gem I’m just F.S. But to me she’s big M Mainly because She prefers me to them That’s why the lady is a champ
I have lots of fans Well at least one or two But Peter Brown calls me To tell me it’s true She sleeps with Ringo But she thinks of you That’s why the lady is a champ
But I can boast, boast As much, as much as I please The fact is that’s She’s his wife Well that’s life But it’s her day So I whistle and stamp Because the lady The charming lady Mr. Ringo’s lady is a champ
May I toast you all the way Lift my glass and softly say I have thoughts for you this day But beautiful thoughts for you And for your Ringo That I must express With a warm and deep affection Of F.S. Would you kindly ask the guys If they’d grab a glass and rise ‘Cause I think we’d harmonize But beautiful May your birthday And your birthday candles Softly gleam and glow For that would be But beautiful I know