Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas

Bad to Me

Song Review by

Billy J. Kramer, as is well known, rose to quick stardom in England (and shortly afterward in the United States) by covering a rapid succession of Lennon-McCartney tunes, most of which the Beatles didn't put on their own records. "Bad to Me" was the second Lennon-McCartney song to become a hit for Kramer in the UK ("Do You Want to Know a Secret?" was the first), hitting #1 in 1963 and making the Top Ten in the US the following year. Like most of the songs John Lennon and Paul McCartney "gave away" in their early career for other artists to record, it was more lightweight than what the Beatles saved for themselves. But it shared similarly instantly catchy melodies with the Beatles' early material. Like some early Beatles songs -- "Do You Want to Know a Secret?," in fact, or "If I Fell" -- it started with a slow, drawn-out section that wasn't repeated elsewhere in the track, an unusual structural device for pop-rock at the time. After that super-romantic prelude, a chiming guitar comes in to kick off a typically bouncy 1963 British Invasion midtempo pop tune. While the lyrics are a bit childish with their references to the birds and bees being lonely, at the same time they're a bit sly with those same birds and bees references, and the melody gets beguiling when it rises to an unusual sweet-sour note just before the title's sung. In common, again, with many early Beatles songs, the transition from verse to bridge and back again is super-smooth, again going into some pleasing unusual bittersweet sequences right before the verse returns. A nice 12-string-sounding guitar solo is out of the George Harrison book of brief but effective instrumental breaks. A Beatles demo, incidentally, of "Bad to Me" has been bootlegged, seemingly performed totally or almost totally by principal songwriter John Lennon. Solo acoustic in nature, it has a good deal of charm, in large part because Lennon was a much better singer than Kramer, and is closer to "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" in the flavor of its arrangement than the version that Kramer recorded is.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
No Image 1964 2:18
Classic Rock: 1964 A Go Go 1987
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:22
The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 1 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
British Invasion: The History of British Rock 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
The Lennon & McCartney Songbook 1990
Various Artists
Connoisseur 2:21
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Rhino
The Best of British Rock [EMI-Capitol Special Markets] 1992
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets
Classic Rock: 1964 1993
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:22
Rock Is Dead But It Won't Lie Down: 24 Greatest Hits of All Time, Vol. 2 1993
Various Artists
Gold Rush 2:20
British Rock [Original Sound] 1995
Various Artists
Original Sound Entertainment 2:20
EP Collection 1995 See For Miles Records 2:21
1963: 20 Original Chart Hits 1997 A Time To Remember 2:21
Love Songs of the 60's [Madacy] 1997
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:18
Hit Parade!: 54 Big Hits from the Best of the Hit Parade 1997
Various Artists
VMK
The Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the '60s, Vol. 2 1997
Various Artists
EMI-Capitol Special Markets / CEMA Special Markets 2:21
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Disky
British Rock: Changing of the Guard 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:16
British Rock: Hail Britannia 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:15
Power Trip 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:18
Golden Legends 2000 Direct Source 2:17
British Invasion [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 2:16
British Invasion, Vol. 2 [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:16
British Rock, Vol. 2 [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 2:16
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Disky 2:19
The Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution 2:19
Little Children/I'll Keep You Satisfied 2001 Collectables 2:21
It's a Party 2001
Various Artists
Direct Source Special 2:18
Totally Groovy 60's: 1963-1966 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:20
Produced by George Martin 2001 Capitol 2:20
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 2:20
Hard to Find 45's on CD, Vol. 7: 60's Classics 2001
Various Artists
Eric Records 2:19
No Image 2001
Various Artists
CSC / EMI / Capitol 2:19
Jukebox Hits of the '60s [Collectalbes] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 2:21
Up the Junction: 60 Original 1960's British Classics 2002
Various Artists
Disky 2:20
The Hit Box, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
United Multi Consign 2:18
Sixties: A Decade to Remember [3 CD] 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:17
The Sixties - A Decade to Remember: Pick of the Pops 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:17
Up the Junction [CD1] 2002
Various Artists
Disky 2:20
The Magic of Lennon and McCartney: An All Star Collection of Timeless Classics 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 2:17
Mersey Beat 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
New Hooked on Number Ones Experience 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:00
British Invasion: 1963-1967 2004
Various Artists
Hip-O 2:20
The Very Best Of 2004 EMI 2:21
Everyone's a Winner: 60 Original No. 1's 2004
Various Artists
Empire Triples 2:21
Everyone's A Winner: 20 Original No. 1's [CD1] 2004
Various Artists
Disky 2:21
Greatest Hits of the 60's 2006
Various Artists
Disky 2:20
The British Beat: Best of the '60s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / TJL 2:19
Heartbeat Summer 2007
Various Artists
Virgin 2:19
Pure: 60s [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:20
Where Were You: 1963 2008
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 2:21
This Is 1963 2008
Various Artists
EMD Int'l 2:19
Original Hits: 60s Pop 2010
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution 2:20
Massive Hits! Sixties 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Gold 2:18
'60s Music Revolution 2012
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 2:19
'60s: The Collection
Various Artists
Rhino / Warner Music 2:21
No Image EMI Digital / Parlophone 2:21
No Image Parlophone
Hit Parade [Mercury]
Various Artists
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 2:21
Sounds of the Sixties: Number Ones
Various Artists
EMI Gold / EMI Music Distribution 2:19