Pro: this is the first John Lennon lead vocal recorded in a professional studio. Con: it also features Pete “I only know one drum fill” Best. (He had his middle name legally changed in 1966.)
There was originally going to be a picture and a joke about Pete Best here, but the post I made with Anna Kendrick’s picture got more views in two days than the last time I used Pete Best’s picture got in over a year, so I know my audience.
I’ll cut to the chase here. That raw, fierce Lennon vocal is the reason to listen to “Ain’t She Sweet.” (Contrast it with the awful, lazy 1969 rendition that wastes space on Anthology 3.) The instrumentation is competent but rudimentary (as best displayed by George Harrison’s mercifully brief guitar solo), but this was the earliest evidence for the record-buying public that John Lennon was poised to go down as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. This is the stepping stone to “Twist and Shout.” At just 20 years old, Lennon was not letting this opportunity go to waste, and he crushes it. His final, soaring bellow of “weeeeeellllll” at 2:04 is the first of many amazing moments in the Beatles’ catalog.