Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I Get High, I Get High (with apologies to Bob Dylan)

The "With The Beatles" LP was released on November 22 1963 in mono and stereo in which this LP replaced "Please Please Me" (the first LP) on the top of the British charts.

The single "She Loves You" had been a milestone in the sense that it was the top selling single EVER in British history at the time and it had broke the Beatles in the European market and the Australian and Canadian markets.

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was the biggie in the sense that this song broke the US market and made the Beatles international sensations. Beatlemania flourished due to this song and the group would never look back. The song was written by Lennon/McCartney and is a true split contribution wide. All the previous hooks were there: the high octave in the chorus, the mellow middle eight. Very dynamic song for the time. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was written on a piano in the basement of the Asher home (Paul's girlfriend at the time was actress Jane Asher) in Wimpole street, Westminster, London. Both John and Paul share the vocal although John sings most of the lead with Paul harmonizing. I enjoy the performance on the Ed Sullivan show of February 09 1964 due to the fact that you can really hear the harmony because of the microphone balance that night. When Bob Dylan first heard this tune, he thought that the lyrics contained the words "I Get High, I Get High" when in actual fact the lyrics at this point in the song are : "I Can't Hide, I Can't Hide". Dylan would formally introduce Pot to the Beatles during their summer tour of the United States in late 64. Hee hee.

Another first for the Beatles at this point of their career was the advent from twin track (which the first two LPs were recorded) to four track. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was the first song recorded on four track. (Although other songs from the second LP were recorded ; namely a take of "You Really Got A Hold On Me" which was never used; "Hand" was the first started from scratch). The Beatles would from now on record exclusively on four track ( in EMI studios) for the next five years until half way through "The White Album" when eight track was introduced - more on this later.

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was recorded on Thursday October 17 1963 in the evening. 17 takes were required. The song was mixed for mono and for stereo three days later in Studio One on October 21 1963. The song was released as a single on November 29 1963 in the UK on Parlophone (mono only),

Curiously, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was re-mixed for stereo on June 08 1965 for no apparent reason. Finally, the song was re-mixed for stereo once again on November 07 1966 which meant disregarding the two previous attempts. This mix was eventually released in the UK on the stereo version of "A Collection of Beatles Oldies..." (Parlophone PCS 7016).

The UK version had "This Boy" as the B-side, the US had "I Saw Her Standing There" as the B-side; the song is also available on the Capitol US LP/CD "Meet The Beatles", the Capitol of Canada 6000 series LP "Long Tall Sally", the aforementioned Parlophone UK LP "A Collection of Beatles Oldies...", the Apple 2-LP/ 2-CD set "The Beatles 1962-1966", the EMI version of the LP "20 Greatest Hits" (US and UK), the Apple LP/CD "1".

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was played in concert during most of the television and personal performances of 1964 and a version of a live performance is available on the EMI LP: "The Beatles Live At the Hollywood Bowl".

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" was performed live three times for BBC radio: Twice on "Saturday Club" and once on "From Us to You". And When I Touch you I Feel Happy Inside. Yes, indeed.

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