Gerry & the Pacemakers

How Do You Do It?

Song Review by

"How Do You Do It" was an enjoyable, if quaint, typically Merseybeat song that gave Gerry & the Pacemakers their first hit. Issued as their debut single in 1963, it made #1 in the UK and, a good year and a half later, made #10 in the US after the British Invasion had taken off there. Gerry & the Pacemakers were about the perkiest British Invasion group, and "How Do You Do It" epitomized that relentless upbeat cheer: a bouncy melody, an almost ridiculously upbeat take on romance, and a vocal by Gerry Marsden that tinted basic rock'n'roll energy with a British music hall wish to entertain. Unusually for Merseybeat, the singable hook in the instrumental intro is on piano, not guitar. Another mildly unusual hook is how, after the verses, the rhythm comes to a brief halt and then hits a gallop pace for a turnaround. The Tin Pan Alley lovey-doveyness hits a peak on the bridge, when Marsden sings of a feeling in his heart like an arrow passing through it, the bridge ending with more of those galloping rhythms before going back into the verse. There's almost a bit of jazziness to the piano solo in the instrumental break, and the last line of the verse gets repeated several times for emphasis at the very end, reinforcing the overtly cute and innocuous nature of the record. "How Do You Do It" is a well-remembered British Invasion hit, but ultimately it might have become more famous for the very interesting story behind its history than for the hit recording itself. For the Beatles, who in 1962 were only just ahead of Gerry & the Pacemakers in popularity in Liverpool, recorded the song as their projected first single in September 1962. The Beatles very much wanted to record their own material from the git-go, and were not pleased to be asked to do a song by outside writer Mitch Murray, who worked at the British music business equivalent of Tin Pan Alley. They did record it as instructed by their producer George Martin, without much enthusiasm. Fortunately, Martin was ultimately convinced that the John Lennon-Paul McCartney composition "Love Me Do," recorded at the same session, was a better choice as the Beatles' debut single, and the Beatles never did release a single song that was written by an outside composer and had never been previously released by another artist. The Beatles' version of "How Do You Do It" started circulating on bootlegs in the 1970s and finally appeared on the official Anthology 1 release. Really, this version isn't bad, though inappropriate for a Beatles single. It's far less saccharine than Gerry & the Pacemakers' version (which, incidentally, was also produced by George Martin); puts a lot more emphasis on the guitar; and has nice vocal harmonies from Lennon and McCartney. In an interesting footnote to the whole episode, the demo from which the Beatles learned the song was sung by Barry Mason, the instrumental backing provided by the Dave Clark Five, who would soon became major British Invasion stars as well.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
How Do You Like It? 1963 EMI Music Distribution
Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying 1964 Parlophone 1:56
No Image 1965 EMI Music Distribution 2:00
The Very Best of Gerry & the Pacemakers 1984 EMI Music Distribution 1:56
No Image 1986 EMI Music Distribution
Classic Rock: 1964 A Go Go 1987
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 1:56
The EP Collection 1987 See For Miles Records
No Image 1987 EMI Music Distribution
The British Invasion: History of British Rock, Vol. 1 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
British Invasion: The History of British Rock 1988
Various Artists
Rhino
No Image 1991
Various Artists
Rhino
The Best of Gerry & the Pacemakers [Cema] 1992 Music Digital 0:00
The EMI Years: Best of Gerry & The Pacemakers 1992 EMI Digital / EMI Music Distribution / Parlophone / Warner Music 1:53
Classic Rock: 1964 1993
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 1:56
Cappucino Classics, Vol. 2: Sweets for My Sweet 1995
Various Artists
Temple 1:56
Gerry Cross the Mersey: All the Hits of Gerry & the Pacemakers 1995 Razor & Tie 2:35
The Best of Gerry & the Pacemakers: The Definitive Collection [Collectables] 1995 Collectables 1:53
Happy Days: 100 Rock 'N' Roll Hits 1995
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 1:46
Magic Moments 1996 Varèse Sarabande / Varese 1:53
Sixties Generation: 1963 1997
Various Artists
Retro Music 1:54
Songs of the Swingin' 60's 1997
Various Artists
Mega Stars 1:55
Gerry & the Pacemakers at Abbey Road: 1963-1966 1997 EMI Music Distribution 1:56
British 60's 1998 Prism Leisure 1:53
Original Hits 1998 Disky 1:55
60's Mix [Crimson] 1998
Various Artists
Crimson Productions 1:52
Back 2 Back Hits 1998 EMI-Capitol Special Markets 1:55
Mods Vs. Rockers 1999
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 1:54
40 Hits: 1960-1964 1999
Various Artists
Millennium Hits (Netherlands) 1:54
Millennium Box Set 1999
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
No Image 1999
Various Artists
Disky
Sixties Generation: 1962-1963 2000
Various Artists
Boxsets 1:56
1964 Classic Rock 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 1:53
British Rock: Changing of the Guard 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 1:54
British Rock: Hail Britannia 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 1:51
Classic Rock: Hits of 1964 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 1:55
Rock N' Roll 60's Flashback 2000
Various Artists
Direct Source 2:36
Best of the 60's 2000 Disky 1:55
British Invasion [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 1:54
British Invasion, Vol. 2 [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 1:54
British Rock, Vol. 2 [Madacy] 2000
Various Artists
Madacy 1:54
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
Story 2000 EMI Music Distribution 1:55
Ferry Cross the Mersey: The Best of Gerry & the Pacemakers 2001 Castle Pulse / Sanctuary 0:00
Totally Groovy 60's: 1963-1966 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:54
Non-Stop 60's Party 2001
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:50
Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying/Second Album 2001 Collectables 1:55
Modrophenia 2001
Various Artists
Dressed To Kill 1:54
American Bandstand 2001
Various Artists
Band Stand 1:55
Produced by George Martin 2001 Capitol 1:55
Complete Collection 2001
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
American Bandstand: CD 2 2001
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
The British Are Coming, Vol. 2 2002
Various Artists
Sanctuary 1:54
Up the Junction: 60 Original 1960's British Classics 2002
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
Nothing but Number 1's of the 60s 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:54
Sixties: A Decade to Remember [3 CD] 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:54
The Sixties - A Decade to Remember: Pick of the Pops 2002
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:54
Up the Junction [CD3] 2002
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
Essential 2003 EMI Music Distribution 2:00
Original 60's Summer Album 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:53
The Songs That Made Them Famous [K-Tel] [16 Tracks] 2003
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:53
Mersey Beat 2003
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
A's, B's & EPs 2004 EMI Music Distribution 1:55
Number 1 Pop Collection 2004
Various Artists
K-Tel Distribution 1:55
Best of Gerry and the Pacemakers [Curb] 2005 Curb 1:55
Golden Oldies 2005
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:53
The Best Of Gerry & The Pacemakers 2005 EMI 1:56
Original 60's Number 1's Album 2006
Various Artists
EMI 1:53
Greatest Hits of the 60's 2006
Various Artists
Disky 1:55
The British Beat: Best of the '60s 2007
Various Artists
Shout! Factory / TJL 1:55
101 60's Hits [EMI] 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:53
The Original 60's Box Set 2007
Various Artists
EMI 1:54
You'll Never Walk Alone: The EMI Years 1963-1966 2008 EMI Music Distribution / Caroline Distribution 1:56
Platinum 2008 EMD Int'l 1:55
The Solid Silver 60s: Greatest Hits, Vol. 2 2009
Various Artists
Universal Music 1:53
101 Greatest Housework Songs 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution / Virgin 1:53
Summer Holiday: 40 Summer Classics from Yesteryear 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 1:53
Original Hits: Number 1's 2009
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 1:54
6 X 6: Sixties: 120 Original Recordings 2011
Various Artists
EMI Gold 1:55
60's Summer Party 2011
Various Artists
EMI Gold 1:53
5 Bites: Mini Album Parlophone
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 1:56
No Image
Various Artists
Sire 1:54
No Image
Various Artists
EMI 1:56
Sounds of the Sixties: Number Ones
Various Artists
EMI Gold / EMI Music Distribution 1:56
The Best Soundtracks, Vol. 1
Various Artists
Cayenne Records / Zebralution