Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

Sorrow (The McCoys song)

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B-side  "Some Other Day"
Genre  Pop rock
Label  Fontana 694
Released  April 1966
Length  2:12
Writer(s)  Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer

"Sorrow" is a song first recorded by The McCoys in 1965. It became a big hit in the United Kingdom in a version by The Merseys, reaching number 4 on the UK chart on 28 April 1966. A version by David Bowie charted in 1973.


The Merseys version is more up-tempo than The McCoys folk-rock original. Propelled by Clem Cattini's drumming it features a powerful horn arrangement (most probably the work of John Paul Jones). The horns also take the solo which, on the McCoys version, is performed on harmonica. As the number and quality of subsequent covers demonstrate the Merseys' single was highly regarded among British musicians.

David Bowie version

David Bowie's remake of "Sorrow", recorded in July 1973 at Château d'Hérouville, Hérouville, France, was the only single released in the UK from his Pin Ups covers album, reaching UK No. 3 and staying in the charts for 15 weeks. It was also Bowie's first number one hit single in Australia, where it topped the charts for 2 weeks in February 1974.

The B-side, “Amsterdam”, was a cover of a Jacques Brel song, that had been performed live by Bowie since 1968. The song may have been recorded by Bowie in the summer 1973 sessions for Pin Ups or in late 1971 for the album Ziggy Stardust. Never selected as an album track, it was used as the single B-side as it fitted with "Sorrow". In France, it was billed as the A-side of the single.

"Sorrow" was featured in the 2008 John Cusack film War, Inc. In 2017 Paul Shaffer and Jenny Lewis released a cover version based mainly on Bowie's version.

Track listing

  1. "Sorrow" (Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein, Richard Gottehrer) – 2:53
  2. "Amsterdam" (Jacques Brel, Mort Shuman) – 2:39

The Spanish release of the single had "Lady Grinning Soul" as the B-side.

Production credits

  • Producers:
  • Ken Scott and David Bowie
  • Musicians:
  • David Bowie: vocals, guitar
  • Mick Ronson: guitar and violin on "Sorrow"
  • Trevor Bolder: bass and trumpet on "Sorrow"
  • Mike Garson: piano on "Sorrow"
  • Aynsley Dunbar: drums on "Sorrow"
  • David Sanborn: sax on "Sorrow"
  • Other releases

  • It also appeared on the following compilations:
  • Chameleon (Australia/New Zealand 1979)
  • The Best of Bowie (1980)
  • Sound + Vision box set (1989)
  • The Singles Collection (1993)
  • The Best of David Bowie 1969/1974 (1997)
  • Best of Bowie (2002)
  • The Platinum Collection (2006)
  • Nothing Has Changed (2014)
  • Bowie Legacy (2-CD version) (2016)
  • References

    Sorrow (The McCoys song) Wikipedia