Sunday, September 27, 2009

Someone to Love

The next song that opens up side two of the debut disc was the A side of the Beatles' very first single, "Love Me Do". The song was originally played at the Beatles' EMI audition/ recording test which took place on June 06 1962 - Pete Best being the drummer at the time. This first recorded version was never offcially released until 1995 when it was included on the "Anthology 1" LP/CD. Unfortunately, this version showed Pete Best in a bad light as the tempo and style of his drumming is of absolute horrendous quality. I mean, if Pete Best was playing like that in my band, I would have fired him immediately. Now, having said that - I've also heard Pete play on other tracks such as the German Tony Sheridan sessions as well as the Decca audition sessions and he's really not any better or worse than other drummers from the era. So...based on that, I've always wondered why this particular track came out sounding so poorly when I know that Pete Best could have done a much, much better job. Was he nervous? Was he just "farting around" and trying different things for the benefit of a later, proper take? Who knows. Anyway, the Beatles had supposedly planned to get rid of Pete and this was the oppurtunity to do so.

The second time the song was attempted was on September 04 1962. Ringo Starr had joined the Beatles only two weeks previous and was thrown into EMI studios to record the debut single. It seems that over 15 takes of the song was recorded and that there was a lot of editing done to this version. George Martin was not very impressed with drumming on this version. This version was released on the original Parlophone single, as well as the Canadian Capitol single. It also surfaced on the "Past Masters" LP/CD as well as the "Mono Masters" from the mono remasters box set and the "Past Masters" version on the stereo remasters box set.

Lastly, the most common version (and the version we all know and love) contained on the debut disc was recorded (again) on September 11 1962. This time there was a third attempt with a different drummer. I suppose the Beatles had a lot of drummer problems during the last half of 1962, I dunno. :-)

The drummer in this case is Andy White who performed on both "Love Me Do" and it's B side "P.S. I Love You". Poor Ringo was assigned to play maracas on the latter and tambourine on the former. This is basically how you can tell the two officially released versions apart. The September 4 "Ringo on Drums" version has no tambourine. The September 11 "Andy White on Drums" version has tambourine played by Ringo. At least Ringo ended up playing a role on both versions. Apart from the debut single, the Beatles never used a session drummer again for the rest of their career.

I like "Love Me Do". It's a nice Blusey number with a harmonica intro by John, lead vocal mainly by Paul. McCartney has recounted many times how he sounds nervous on the recording due to the fact that all instrumentation stops before he had a small vocal solo "love" leading into the chorus. A respectable beginning for the Beatles, it was certainly different than everything else that was being played at the time, and it made it into the top twenty stalling at number 17. It has been said that maybe Brian Epstein had over ordered stock for the single in his NEMS stores and playing with the numbers, but who knows and who cares? Obviously, a lot of sales were probably in the Liverpool district and surrounding areas as it only made sense to buy the music from a local group "done good" so to speak.

The song is available on only on the debut disc "Please Please Me" (second song version), but also the Vee Jay "Introducing the Beatles" (version one of the LP, second song version ), Capitol's "The Early Beatles"( second song version ), Capitol of Canada 6000 series "Twist and Shout" (secong song version ), Apple's "The Beatles 1962-1966" (second song version), the US Capitol "The Beatles Rarities" (first song version) and a 12 inch single re-issue which contained both the first and second song versions.

"Love Me Do" was played live on BBC radio 9 times: "Here We go" program, the "Talent Spot" program, "Saturday Club" program, "Parade Pops" (live in front of an audience), "Side by Side" program, "Pop Go the Beatles" programs, 2, 6 and 13. Finally, a version was also recorded live for the program "Easy Beat".

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