Robert Bunter: The relatively obscure demo for this great early Lennon song (available on the bootleg "Acetates") was given to dorky Billy J. Kramer and his stupid Dakotas to cover. Well, that's just fine. What we can do now is, ignore the cover version and wallow in the supernal experience of hearing an early Beatles pop song in it's rough, acoustic, lo-fi demo form. Instead of sounding dated and corny, it sounds edgy and ahead of its time. It's like hearing circa-1992 outtakes from the happy album that Elliott Smith never got around to recording.
Richard Furnstein: "Bad To Me" starts in a manner similar to the contemporary "Do You Want To Know A Secret," sweeping music hall chords that give away to a conventional pop song. It's wholly superior to "Secret," as well as many of the original compositions on Please Please Me. You are completely right, Bob. The demo has a sweet Fading Captain Series toss off quality. Hit play on the dictaphone, whisper into the mic (Mal Evans is passed out on a nearby couch), and catch a bit of twilight genius in a jar. There's one word for its exclusion on the Anthology series: criminal. Thanks for throwing us "Lend Me Your Comb," Sir Paul Ono, but certainly there must be something healthier in the icebox? (Sarcastic tone.)
Robert Bunter: You want to know why they didn't include this on the Anthology series? They didn't think we could handle it. It's the same reason they didn't include "Carnival of Light" and the 27-minute "Helter Skelter." It was just such a huge mistake.
Richard Furnstein: Billy J.'s version deserves some attention. He delivers on the promise of Lennon's lo-fidelity recording, while minimizing the greasy haired hiccups and hip convulsions that were a mainstay of his dying breed. Billy J. injects a bit more manliness into his version; as a result, it loses the vulnerability implied in John's demo. Is that a mandolin I hear in the background? Perhaps a knowing nod to Phil Spector's well honed tones?
Robert Bunter: I guess so, but mostly not. I don't think there were any "knowing nods" to "well-honed tones" here, just a cynical cash-in on every level. Hey, the Beatles are big bucks - let's have this lurching ape sing one of John's castoffs and press it up in time for the back-to-school sale at Gloanburg's Shilling and Pence. The whole thing reeks. I'm sorry, man. I don't mean to be cross. It just irritates me whenever I start thinking about the Anthology, which true fans refer to as the Missed Opportunitythology. The legacy has been soiled, and I, for one, am about to puke. How about another out-fake of Penny Lane with the goddamn extra trumpet notes at the end? Oh, thanks, Apple. I've never heard that before. Get the hell out of here.
Richard Furnstein: Two (2) tepid versions of "Fool On The Hill"!? Thanks for the diseased water supply, Crapple Corps!