Singer Arthur Alexander was born today (May 10th), 1940.
Almost as prevalent as the age old adage “who came first, the chicken or the egg?” is the famous question considered the dividing line of musical taste: “The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?” However, the only right answer to this question is Arthur Alexander.
Paul McCartney is often quoted as saying “…this is what we listened to, this is what we wanted to sound like – Arthur Alexander.”
Although not very well known outside the limited fan base that McCartney and the other Beatles were a part of, Arthur Alexander was a prolific songwriter in Alabama during the 1960’s.
Ironically, it took a British group to eventually popularize his sound. Arthur Alexander penned a series of hits such as “Anna”, “Every Day I Have to Cry”, and “Sally Sue Brown” in his early career, which the Beatles went on to cover with much commercial success.
In 1963, the Beatles also recorded their cover of “Soldier of Love”, another Alexander R&B classic, which went on to garner much acclaim in the United Kingdom.
Other Alexander classics were covered by the aforementioned Rolling Stones as well. Mr. Alexander never received proper compensation for the remakes, either professionally or monetarily.
Like many other Blues greats, such as Junior Kimbrough, Arthur Alexander went on to re-release his classics in the 1990’s, which gained him some limited fame.
However, the musical influence that he had on the Beatles sound will forever enshrine him as a legend among contemporary songwriters.