Monday, October 5, 2009

I've Got Arms That Long to Hold You

So the debut LP was finally finished...almost. A little over a week had passed and George Martin had overdubbed a piano bit on "Misery" and also added celeste (keyboard) on "Baby It's you". Both overdubs were conducted on February 20 1963. Five days later the "Please Please Me" LP was mixed in mono and stereo. The mono LP was released on March 22 1963 and the stereo LP would be released over a month later on April 26 1963.

Amazingly, before the LP was released, in fact...three weeks after recording a whole album...the Beatles were brought back into the studio for a follow up single to "Please Please Me". So they strode back in and started on a new song entitled "From Me To You" ostensibly as a single. The date was March 05 1963.

"From Me to You" was another one of their "pronoun" song whereby the Me, You, She, He, Us, I and Me thing had been the norm for the last six months or so. The Beatles stuck to the "formula" of having the incredible harmonies, the instrumental harmonica, and the hook that stayed in your head for decades down pat. A great single. The song was written by John and Paul (mainly John) on February 28 while riding on the tour bus from York to Shrewsbury during the Helen Shapiro tour whereby they were one of the opening acts. In those days, if the Beatles weren't writing, they were performing. The span of time recording these early gems is greatly astounding. During this recording session, for example, not only was the title track for the single recording, but two other songs were also recorded all in one day !!

The song was recorded in seven takes with six takes overdubbing various harmonicas and vocals and even having time to experiment with different effects on the voices to try and find a suitable intro. The guitar solo was also overdubbed.

Paul McCartney has said that the middle eight provided a different shade of harmony when they discovered the minor fifth in the form of a D minor seventh (the song is in G).

Most of the session exists and is available as a bootleg recording - usually entitled "March 05 1963". It makes for interesting listening although the song's arrangement is pretty well down pat for most of the takes. The later edit pieces are very memorable as the experimentation with the voices makes for enjoyable listening.

"From Me to You" was eventually released as the third Beatles single and was not available on LP until 1966 when it was released on "A Collection of Beatles Oldies...but Goldies" LP in the UK.

The song also appeared on the US Vee Jay "Jolly What! The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage" LP, the Canadian Capitol 6000 series LP "Twist and Shout", "The Beatles 1962-1966" Apple LP/CD, the EMI "20 Greatest Hits" LP, the Apple "1" LP/CD and of course, the Apple "Past Masters Volume one" LP/CD and the recent remasters "Past Masters" collection.

The Beatles performed "From Me to You" an incredible 16 times on BBC radio: three times on "Side by Side", three times on "Easy Beat", once on "Swinging Sound '63", twice on "Saturday Club", once on "Steppin' Out", four times on "Pop Go the Beatles" editions 1, 3, 12 and 14, once on "Beat Show" and once on "Variety Performance" Whew !!

Once the Beatles developed their own BBC show, the musical there was a variation of the song entitled "From Us to You" . Same melody but slightly modified lyrics. There are two versions of this recording that were used on the show.

When Apple released the Beatles Fan Club "Christmas Album" in the UK in 1970 (Apple LYN 2154); the title was "From Then to you".

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