Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mach Shau Part One

In case you're wondering, "Mach Shau" is something similar to "Make a Show" in German. The Beatles were indebted to Hamburg, Germany since this was their training groud and the long hours spent playing in the German clubs honed their musical diversity and eventual success.

In late 1963, the Beatles' European record label "Odeon" - specifically the German record executives - had asked that the Beatles sing and record a couple of their hits in German. The German execs figured that they couldn't sell large quantities of records unless they were sung in German - so goes the quote from George Martin.

I have a problem with this and with all due respect to Mr. Martin, someone is bullshitting somewhere. By late 1963, the Beatles were selling vast amounts of records in places like Sweden and France and other European countries so I don't believe that they weren't selling large quantities already in Germany. Secondly, when the Beatles had released a couple of singles with Tony Sheridan on Polydor (recorded in 1961 and 1962 ) the songs were sung in English and were successful in Germany. So....I dunno. I still don't know why The Beatles agreed to this exercise as it was rather pointless. I suppose Mr. Brian Epstein - their manager at this point - had agreed to it for who knows what and it basically forced the Beatles to do it.

Regardless, two songs exist in the Beatles catalogue with German language vocals. The first of these is "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" which is "I Want To Hold You Hand" in German. The song was recorded in Paris, France at the EMI Pathe Marconi Studios on January 29 1964. Eleven takes were required for the vocal part as the rhythm track and the instrumental part of the song was simply taken from the existing original four track. Only vocals and eventually handclaps were overdubbed to this original backing track. "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" was mixed for mono on March 10 1964 back at EMI Abbey Road in studio two. It was mixed for stereo two days later on March 12 1964 in the control room of studio three.

"Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" was released in Germany on a single by Odeon, of course. The song was also picked up by Capitol records in North America and strangely enough is available on the US/Canada Capitol LP/CD: "Something New". It's also available on the EMI UK version of the LP "The Beatles Rarities" and was included on the Apple 2-LP/ CD: "Past Masters Volunme 1" and the remastered series in mono and stereo both contain the track.


  1. Most fans think that there are experts on the Beatles because they have a little bit of knowledge, this is the precise self delusion from which you suffer!

  2. Not all true. Hamburg certainly was not pointless. George and Brian both knew that the Fabs needed to hone their chops and work out the live gig kinks. Also, I appreciate your opinions but maybe don't play so fast and loose with the facts.

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