The Donays: Devil In His Heart
From 7″ (Ace, 1961). Also on Kiss N’ Tell.

My man Dave Ma hit me with this song – a early ’60s girl pop/R&B single by the Donays. I loved this song from jump – the way the piano comes slamming in, with the guitar overlaid – and then the multi-part harmony? Ridiculously hot. And the lyrics are great – certainly “of the time” but I like the interplay between the back-up singers and lead, arguing over whether her new lover is a devil or angel.

Like many aspiring R&B hits, this flopped and likely would have been resigned to being more obscure than it already is if it weren’t for the fact that the single caught the ear of a certain Liverpool quartet. I hold the Beatles in as high regard as the next guy but their take on the Donays’ song is really anemic. They totally suck out the power and verve and replace it with a rather tepid cover. Even the Fab Four can’t outdo the Donays.