Saturday, June 30, 2012

Teenager's Turn - Here We Go (Again) !!

On June 11 1962, The Beatles made another radio performance on the BBC network. This was the second and last time Pete Best was on drums for a radio performance. The studio were these tunes were recorded was The Playhouse Theatre in Manchester.
Some of the Beatles Fan Club were bused down from Liverpool (for a fee) in order to participate in the clapping, screaming, etc. They recorded three songs that have been released on bootleg: the first one being the only Lennon/McCartney original for the evening: "Ask Me Why" with John on vocal, the second one being "Besame Mucho" which was also auditioned a few days earlier at the first EMI session, this one having Paul on vocal and finally the third song being "A Picture Of You" written by Joe Brown and being sung by George.
This show has been spread out on bootleg LPs with "A Picture Of You"on the LP of the same name, "Besame Mucho" coming from the "Directly from Santa Claus" LP (the picture disc version appearing above) and the entire show being released on "Meet The Beeb" and "The Beatles At The Beeb with Pete Best" LPs. The Great Dane box set has the entire show as well.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Besame Mucho"/ "Love Me Do" Outtakes

Well, not really outtakes as such. More like "unreleased" artist demos. These two selections come from the first time The Beatles entered the EMI Studios in London (now called "Abbey Road" Studios). The date of the artist test was June 06 1962. The band consists of John, Paul, George and Pete Best. The first part of the artist test was conducted with Ron Richards behind the board and George Martin was called in after the second song (according to various sources).
The Beatles performed four tunes on this historic occasion. The first two songs exists but I don't know what happened to the tapes for the last two. The first song recorded was "Besame Mucho". For some reason, I just don't understand why The Beatles would perform the same song that they performed for the Decca Audition earlier in January of that year. The song is latin flavoured and really does not represent the band's direction at the time. Maybe they just liked the song. Paul on vocals for this one.
The next tune recorded was a version of "Love Me Do". An original where John sang the title line at first but it intruded with his harmonica playing so Ron Richards made Paul sing the line. The two last songs recorded were "P.S. I Love You" and "Ask Me Why". All originals with the exception of the first song. Both latter titles would end up on the B sides of the first two singles.
The version of "Besame Mucho" would end up as a possibility for the early 1980s EMI "Sessions" project and be released on the bootleg of the same name. The version of "Love Me Do" comes from an acetate found at George Martin's home in 1994 (WTF ???) and was used on the 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 1" issue.
This is also the first and last time Pete Best recorded at EMI with The Beatles. George Martin was not impressed with his drumming skills. Simply listen to "Love Me Do" on "Anthology 1" and you will see why.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

"Sweet Georgia Brown"/"Swanee River"

The Beatles conducted one last recording session for Bert Kaempfert Productions (as they were contracted with him until the end of June 1962). The contract would be nulled with the condition that the Beatles perform this last recording on this day. It's still not clear to me why the Beatles were in the studio - it has been said that they were there to complete an LP with Tony Sheridan. Interestly, Mr. Sheridan did not attend this session and only two titles were recorded (one which remaims unreleased) !!
"Sweet Georgia Brown" was arranged by Paul McCartney with the line-up of John, Paul, George and Pete as well as pianist Roy Young. The backing tracks were completed on this day and the Tony Sheridan vocals were added on June 07 1962 (all at Rahlstedt Studios in Hamburg, Germany).
A second version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" was recorded on January 03 1964 with a new lead vocal once again over dubbed by Tony Sheridan which alluded to The Beatles Fan Club, their hair, etc.
The first version was issued in mono on the German EP "Ya Ya" in 1962 and not released in stereo until the EP "Hambug Twist" in 1997 !!
The second version with the new lead vocal was first released on a French EP "Ain't She Sweet" in mono in 1964. The stereo version was issued on a 10 inch French LP entitled "Les Beatles".
All of the above "Sweet Georgia Brown" versions can be found on the CD - "Beatles Bop - Hamburg Days" along with the book on Bear Records.
As for the second recording "Swanee River", the tapes has somehow been destroyed or misplaces through time. A different version of the song with Tony Sheridan but not featuring the Beatles backing track has been released unde the moniker "The Beat Brothers".

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Teenager's Turn - Here We Go !!

The first BBC live appearance for the Beatles (with Pete Best) was on March 07 1962 recorded at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester, England.
The Beatles taped three songs for the broadcast (which was conducted the next day). The three songs were all covers: "Dream Baby" by Roy Orbison sung on this broadcast by Paul, "Memphis, Tennesee" by Chuck Berry sung by John and "Please Mr. Postman" by the Marvelettes also sung by John.
This particular broadcast can be heard on the "Wonderful Picture of You" bootleg LP or on the first CD in the Great Dane CD Box set "The Beatles; The Complete BBC Sessions".

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Decca Tapes

On New Year's Day January 01 1962, The Beatles arrived at the Decca Studios in London for a recording audition in order to hear them perform. The head of Decca at the time, a certain Dick Rowe, had asked one of his staff, a certain Mike Smith, to check out the band and have them come down to London if he liked what he saw. Mike Smith liked what he saw and booked the studio. In those days, I suppose New Year's Day was not a holiday like it is today.
Anyway, 15 songs have been issued over the years from this day's work. These tunes are a great example of the early Beatles with Pete Best on drums. The band sound nervous and tired, especially Paul.
14 of the songs first surfaced as seven singles on the "Deccagone" fan club label. All of the singles have picture sleeves.
The entire 15 songs set was eventually released on LP in various forms with my copy being "The Decca Tapes" on the Circuit label and "The Decca Sessions 1.1.62" LP from Topline Records (catalogue number TOP 181. The songs on both of these LPs run slightly fast. The Topline version only contain 12 of the songs (covers) and do not contain the three Lennon-McCartney originals.
The Decca Audition songs include: "Money", "Till There Was You", "Sheik Of Araby", "To Know Her Is To Love Her", "Take Good Care Of My Baby", "Memphis", "Sure To Fall", "Three Cool Cats", "Crying, Waiting, Hoping", "September In The Rain", "Besame Mucho", "Searchin'" plus the originals "Like Dreamers Do", "Hello Little Girl" and "Love Of The Loved". Most of these songs would eventually find their way onto official EMI records, BBC sessions or given away to other artists during the 1960s.
Apple officially released five of the songs on the Anthology 1 compilations:"Like Dreamers Do", "The Sheik Of Araby", "Hello Little Girl", "Three Cool Cats", "Searchin'".