Peach & Lee: An Unexpected Beatle-esque Treat

No band sounds more like the Beatles than the Beatles themselves. This statement, though seemingly absurd, highlights the challenge of living up to the “next Beatles” moniker—a title given to artists like The Hollies, ELO, Tears for Fears, Oasis, and The Knack. These groups, despite their talents, never fully embodied the Beatles’ unique combination of pop sensibility, immaculate harmonies, charismatic performers, and instant classic songs.

Enter Peach and Lee, a duo that might just fit this lofty category. In December 2023, they released a double album (Not For Sale) featuring their music from the mid-1960s to the early 1970s. Though all the material had been previously released, it never gained much acclaim despite their contract with RCA Records.

Arlis Peach and Larry Lee grew up as best friends in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Much like the Liverpool lads, they spent hours in the 1950s listening to rock and roll on the radio and learning chords. Their first two fully realized numbers, “Why Won’t You Dance With Me” and “It’s So Easy,” were recorded locally. This became their norm—they recorded and produced their music in any independent studio they could find, from their mom’s living room to Sound City in Los Angeles. Despite performing in various small venues, they never received the radio play that could have lifted them out of obscurity.

Fast forward to 2023, and the duo compiled their most notable recordings into this 27-track double LP. It’s both a surprise and a pleasure, filled with some very good tunes that you’ve (likely) never heard before.

The album opens with “Long Way To Go,” featuring clear Lennon/McCartney-like harmonies, interesting breaks and chord changes, and a bass line reminiscent of Paul McCartney. Many of the songs evoke what Wings might have sounded like if both Beatles had teamed up.

“It’s Up To You” feels like an early 1960s throwaway, complete with a simple Harrison-like solo and hand claps, while a backing 12-string guitar adds depth. “Do It Again” might make you pause, as it sounds like a bootleg Beatles release, heavier on guitar than their early work but with a hook and harmonies spot on.

Production-wise, some tracks sound crackly or in need of remastering, but the artistry shines through. “So Badly” features a “shoo-doo-be-doo-wah” callback from 1950s hits, ending with a familiar two-chord progression. The title track, “Not For Sale,” could fit perfectly on the Beatles’ White Album, with a Harrison-esque solo of carefully selected notes and arpeggios—arguably the best song on the album.

The songs’ success lies in tremendous bass and guitar work, often accompanied by backing piano and solid drumming, topped with perfectly placed lead and backup harmonies. “Help Yourself” is a simple piano tune with lines like “Help yourself to my arms when you need an embrace.”

However, the album does falter as some tracks almost sound like attempts to copy the Beatles’ mid-1960s sound. While not inherently bad, this lack of diversity affects more than a handful of the 27 tracks. “Feels Right” is a Lennon-styled blues piece with tasty piano accompaniment and slide guitar. The closing cut, “It’s So Easy,” one of their earliest recordings, suffers from low production quality. The simplicity and repetition detract from the vocals but hint at their future potential.

At its best, Peach and Lee’s Not For Sale offers a chance to hear previously unheralded music nearly as good as some Beatles releases from Rubber Soul or Revolver. The album showcases solid musicianship and vocals. At its worst, it’s a collection of what could be discarded demos and test tracks from the Fab Four. And if that’s the worst you can say about the album, it’s not bad at all.

-Will Wills

Fair use image from Not for Sale


Will Wills — a native-born Italian, raised in the US — does a killer impersonation of Mario (“a-letsa-go!”). Generally, you’ll find him frenetically bouncing between software development at a large US firm, leading a local dance/pop band, playing COD and watching MST3K. Yes, he’s sleep deprived, but you can follow his resulting incoherence at @WillrWills or his band at @WillsAndTheWays or his blog, "A Day in a Monkey's Life," if you’re suffering from insomnia, too.

5 comments on “Peach & Lee: An Unexpected Beatle-esque Treat

  1. David S.

    I look forward to hearing the whole album. However, to me the selections above sound way more like Badfinger (heavily influenced by the Beatles themselves).

  2. Les Fender

    I’m with David S., more Badfinger than Beatles.

  3. John Smistad

    Yeah, Badfinger and Big Star both spring to mind.

  4. Peter Oakley

    Badfinger and the vocals of Emitt Rhodes (of Merry-Go-Round) more so than Beatles.

  5. James Blesius

    Raspberries as well.

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