As any Beatles fan worth his weight in salt knows, "Please Don't Ever Change" (Yes, I know I added the word "please" - I'm very polite!) was a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King in '61, which was recorded by Buddy Holly's backing group The Crickets in '62. The Beatles (who were big Buddy Holly fans, especially Paul McCartney who ended up purchasing the publishing rights to his song catalog) recorded Holly's "Words Of Love" on their "Beatles For Sale" album in '64 - but aside from that, in spite of being huge fans of Holly, they never recorded any other Buddy Holly songs on any of their albums during their Beatle years.
They did, however, do a few Holly/Crickets covers for the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation - nicknamed the BEEB) on their own "Pop Go The Beatles" radio program in '63, before most of the world knew who they were - "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" and "Don't Ever Change". Before eventually finding their way to an official Beatles release titled "Live At The BBC" in 1994 these rarities, and many other gems, circulated the bootleg market for over 20 years.
Digging for treasure
My buddy Lloyd and I would always dig deep into The Beatles unreleased booty - and we'd make frequent trips into the city looking for Beatles bootlegs (which were, of course, illegal) going store to store, scouring through dusty record store bins. When the heat was on, and the word "bootleg" became a dirty word, you'd have to find a way to ask for them *differently* by asking the store owner if they had any Beatles "imports" (wink wink) - which he'd then proceed to pull out from somewhere behind the counter. We felt like criminals... it was very... "naughty!"
Aside from the legal standpoint there was an issue of quality and sincerity. You never knew what you were going to get. Bootlegs were VERY hit or miss back then, and often pricey - so you had to be very careful - and with the inherited "no return policy" of dealing with bootlegs, it was understood you were always taking a risk. You could find gold or something that wasn't even the Beatles. (case in point, Have You Heard The Word or Genius Is Pain). But even before we ever saw "Don't Ever Change" in the record stores (and way before the Live At The BBC album came out) Lloyd and I were introduced to it in the strangest of ways...
From Cowboy Boots to Beatle Boots...
I was commissioned to do some western-themed cartoons for some entrepreneur businessman from Texas in the early 80s - - which I know sounds like the beginning of a joke - but it's true... and I can't for the life of me recall how I got to know this man or how he found me - or what these cartoons were for (but that's really not an integral part of this story). All I know is I had some cartoons to deliver to this address somewhere in Greenwich Village, and invited Lloyd to come along with me. Before my scheduled cartoon drop-off we visited our usual record store and comic book pit-stops - and then headed out to meet this mysterious Texan.
Lloyd recalls the huge wood-paneled loft with western themed decor right down to the giant steer horns on the wall and horse saddle lamp shades. The guy was probably dressed normally, but my thwarted recollection sees him wearing a rodeo bolo tie and cowboy boots - but again, that's neither here nor there. After our cartoon transaction the conversation somehow went to The Beatles - and he showed us his vast collection of unreleased Beatles tracks on vinyl. But THIS is where our stories splinter off into two different directions.
Lloyd recalls the discs being what was yet to become "The Lost Lennon Tapes" and I recall specifically reading a record sleeve imprinted with the words "Beatles at the BEEB" (which as I mentioned earlier was the nickname given to the BBC.) He pulled out a few records from plain, unmarked boxes and played some stuff - and I believe this is when we first heard "Don't Ever Change" - although at this point it might've been John Lennon's "Real Life" - who knows? Granted, it was years before EITHER of these things were heard by the public - so, could we have actually heard *BOTH* of these things and BOTH Lloyd and I are right? It's possible... anything is possible... anyway, that leads us to the next part of this story...