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German "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" superior to English version
1 March 2013
5.40pm
Funny Paper
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My argument has 4 reasons why I think the German version is superior:

1) The lyrics are actually more touching and poetic in German, elevating the song slightly from its rather puerile pop level (particularly that line "In deinen Armen bin ich glüchlich, un fro…").  Unfortunately, the credit here does not go to John or Paul, but rather to a German from Cologne, Otto Demmlar, recruited to translate the English song and teach John and Paul how to sing it (I wish someone had filmed that!).

2) The little repeated electric guitar lick on a deeper string, played after each time a certain line is sung --

Oh yeah, I'll, tell you something [guitar lick]
I think you'll understand
When I say that something [guitar lick]
I wanna hold your hand… etc.

Oh, please, say to me [guitar lick]
You'll let me be your man
and please, say to me [guitar lick]
etc.

-- is played more crisply and satisfyingly on the German version, whereas on the Engish version it sounds too murky.

3) The "ha – /a-a / a /a-a-and" parts sung on the 2nd "hand" of each set of three "hands" are sung and enunciated more clearly on the German version, bringing out the remarkable skill of John and Paul's singing, and also sounding better. [see my other topic elsewhere on this -- http://www.beatlesbible.com/forum/recording-and-musicology/john-pauls-vocal-skill-in-i-wanna-hold-your-hand/ ]

4) Finally, Paul more clearly penetrates his 2nd-part harmony on those "ha – /a-a / a /a-a-and" parts, which makes them sound more pleasing musically.

My theory for why the German version is better is simple: 

a) it was recorded later -- many months later perhaps -- and John and Paul were the types of artists who were always trying to perfect their craft, refining every song with repeated takes, so they took the opportunity of being asked to re-record this song to refine this song.

b) according to Joe's Songs tab information, the 4 tracks of the original were mixed with a second track recorded live on top of the original, so perhaps in addition to artistic refinement, that guitar riff (see #2 above) became even murkier, and John (or more likely Paul) decided they needed to punch it up to emphasize it, lest it get lost in the sound).

 

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
1 March 2013
5.59pm
vonbontee
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This is an intriguing topic, one I look forward to debating! But I'm confused – are you saying that Joe's article states that a new guitar part was overdubbed? Or am I misunderstanding you?

In any event, I'll have to give both tracks some serious headphone time tonight while mulling the topic over further!

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
1 March 2013
9.13pm
Ron Nasty
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The instruments you're hearing, Funny Paper, are exactly the same as on the original. You refer to Joe's comment on the song when you say: "according to Joe's Songs tab information, the 4 tracks of the original were mixed with a second track recorded live on top of the original, so perhaps in addition to artistic refinement, that guitar riff (see #2 above) became even murkier, and John (or more likely Paul) decided they needed to punch it up to emphasize it, lest it get lost in the sound)."

I've checked what Joe says, he says, "The original four-track tape of I Want To Hold Your Hand, from 17 October 1963, had been mixed down to two tracks, and onto this they re-recorded their vocals in German."

In his entry on the day of recording, 29 January 1964, he says, "They completed it in 11 takes, recording new vocals over the original rhythm track."

Mark Lewisohn says, "First task was to add 'Komm…' vocals to the English rhythm track of '…Hand', mixed down from four-track to two-track. The 'best' versions were takes 5 and 7, with overdubbed handclaps, later edited together."

The music is exactly the same performance, performed on 17 October 1963, copied from take 17 to two tracks by Norman Smith on 24 January 1964, with A.B. Lincoln and Geoff Emerick in 2nd Engineer Chair (Emerick's earliest Beatle session, and his last for a couple of years), and overdubbed with new vocals and handclaps on the 29th.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
2 March 2013
12.17am
RunForYourLife
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The German version features better harmony on the "Einmal so"/"I can't hide" part.

2 March 2013
3.55am
Funny Paper
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vonbontee said
…But I'm confused – are you saying that Joe's article states that a new guitar part was overdubbed? Or am I misunderstanding you?

No, I'm just saying I hear a markedly different guitar tone to the same riff, when comparing the two versions.  Joe doesn't mention a guitar was overdubbed, and the commenter directly below you (forgot his name and I can't scroll out of my drafting box right now) is quite sure there was not a guitar overdubbed.  Still, I can't deny what I hear.

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2 March 2013
3.58am
Funny Paper
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mja6758,

As I commented to von bontee, my ears clearly hear a different tonality to the guitar on the German version.  If it is not an overdubbing, I wonder how they changed the originally murky guitar lick into a nice crisp clear one?

 

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
3 March 2013
12.49am
vonbontee
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Funny Paper, are you talking specifically about the 5-note guitar part that always follows the word "something"? Because I've been listening closely and yes, that particular obbligato DOES sound considerably different. Much more trebly. The article on "Hand" says that that part was an overdubbed second bass part played high up on the neck. I'm wondering if, being an overdub, they could've mixed that individual part somewhat differently for the German song?

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
3 March 2013
9.35am
Funny Paper
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vonbontee said
Funny Paper, are you talking specifically about the 5-note guitar part that always follows the word "something"? Because I've been listening closely and yes, that particular obbligato DOES sound considerably different. Much more trebly. The article on "Hand" says that that part was an overdubbed second bass part played high up on the neck. I'm wondering if, being an overdub, they could've mixed that individual part somewhat differently for the German song?

It seems there are only two explanations -- either something like what you say, or somehow the overdub process brought out the crispness of the original.  But it's pretty clear the two songs' guitar licks are markedly different to the ear.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
4 March 2013
10.08pm
vonbontee
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It almost sounds like the English one was played with an actual bass guitar, and the German played on a regular guitar with tuned-down strings. But that's more likely just my imagination. I wish I had the stereo version of "Komm Gib" I could listen to – my 1988 CD version of "Past Masters" only has the mono.

Which version is superior, the English or the German? Well, I've looked at the English translation of the German lyrics, and yeah, they're a little bit more interesting and less childish than in the original. But other than that, the German vocal hasn't got the same orgasmic reverberations as the English, at least not to my ears. Maybe I need to listen to both songs in stereo (or both in mono) to get a more accurate reading; but until I do, I don't agree that the German is superior. (Plus it's hard to sing along to!)

(As for that other recent "Hold Your Hand" topic, regarding the "SH" sounds…the only "S" that sounds like a "SH" to my ears is during the second bridge. "It's SHuch a feeling…")

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
5 March 2013
6.39am
Ron Nasty
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To my mind it could just be as simple as the copy of the take 17 rhythm track done on 24 January 1964 had a slightly different balance of the instruments than was used in the original mix of "…Hand". That would make sense of all of this.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
7 March 2013
3.15pm
parlance
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All right, 'fess up, which one of you asked Nat the question? a-hard-days-night-george-3

http://www.thebeatlesrarity.co…..your-hand/

parlance

Beware of sadness. It can hit you. It can hurt you. Make you sore and what is more, that is not what you are here for. - George

Check out my fan video for Paul's song "Appreciate" at YouTube and Vimeo.

7 March 2013
3.28pm
Ron Nasty
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Well, it wasn't me. I'm in London, and didn't even know about Nat. Still, was pleased to see Nat agreeing with most of what I've said here.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
7 March 2013
4.02pm
exarctly
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Could the different sound be from different remastering or mixing that took place? I was just commenting on the Let It Be on Past Masters the other day. I was noticing how much different the vocal sounded, and even though both versions were remastered, it seemed the PM version was a little more alive or loud. 

Not that this would prove the German is not as good… but they were very reluctant to actually go and record the German, but it was sort of forced on them todo it. They tried to hide or avoid it, till GM sort of didn't take no for an answer. So they really did a good job considering that. 

 

7 March 2013
5.44pm
Funny Paper
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parlance said
All right, 'fess up, which one of you asked Nat the question? a-hard-days-night-george-3

http://www.thebeatlesrarity.co…..your-hand/

parlance

 

Actually, Nat's explanation does not definitively rule out that a new guitar lick was recorded on top of the "rhythm track" (whatever that is) they recorded their voices over.  The best Nat comes up with is simply that certain individuals who are good authorities attest to the "rhythm track" being used -- but none of them says (nor were asked, it seems) that no new guitar was recorded over (though of course, one would think they would have offered such a detail).

As for the writer of the German lyrics, either Nat or Joe has the name wrong.  Nat says:

"The Beatles recorded new vocals and with the help of a German DJ named Camillo Felgen, were coached to get their pronunciation right… For publishing purposes Camillo used separate pseudonyms for his translation-composition credit. For “Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand” he was Heinz Hellmer and Jean Nicolas. For “Sie Liebt Dich he used Jean Nicolas again along with Lee Montague."

Joe in his notes on the song up in the Songs tab, however, says:

"A translator from Cologne called Otto Demmlar was dispatched to EMI's Pathé Marconi Studios in Paris to teach the group the new words to Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich."

If that major detail has such discrepancies, it's safe to say John and Paul (or George) could have just added that guitar lick, but the reportage on that has gaps.  It makes musical sense:  that lick needed to be emphasized crisply with treble-sounding bass notes of an electric guitar, and that is a glaring deficiency of the English version.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
7 March 2013
7.25pm
vonbontee
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Gonna have to agree to disagree on that last point. To my ears, the lick sounds more…tentative? plodding? something like that, and marginally behind the beat. The fact that it's so much more prominent in the mix brings that hesitating quality into sharper relief. And there's already enough going on sonically that I don't need that one little bit emphasized. But I respect your opinion nonetheless.

Anyways…it seems neither Happy Nat nor Mark Lewisohn have anything to say about this supposed bass overdub which, according to Walter Everett, was played by George. So who's correct? Was it re-recorded for the German version or just higher in the mix? New mysteries to obsess over!

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
7 March 2013
10.37pm
Funny Paper
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vonbontee said
Gonna have to agree to disagree on that last point. To my ears, the lick sounds more…tentative? plodding? something like that, and marginally behind the beat…

I've been a percussionist for decades and I really get into rhythms and beats (particularly Latin percussion).  Sometimes a lick or a riff can sound "behind" the beat, but that's not always bad:  to my ears, that effect is perfect for the purposes of this song at those junctures.  It would not only be an artifact of imperfect recording-over, but if on purpose, can be performed by someone with a subtle sense of rhythm.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
7 March 2013
11.00pm
vonbontee
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Oh, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with being behind the beat – John Bonham and Charlie Watts always seemed to lag just an infinitesimal bit, and they were fabulous drummers. I was mostly just trying to describe all the differences I'm perceiving between the two in addition to the reasons why I have a (slight) preference for one over the other. My main reason for preferring the English one is because of the vocal.

I just want to play. I’d like to think I could work opposite Sinatra, B.B. King, the Beatles, or a polka band... - Jazz musician Rahsaan Roland Kirk, 1967
8 March 2013
6.27pm
Ron Nasty
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Funny Paper, I was wandering around the web after reading your post to Megan in another thread, intrigued by your comment that no other pop/rock group has re-recorded their hits in German. Found this article in The Guardian (10 March 2011), "Readers recommend: foreign language versions – the results", which includes a paragraph on Komm… and Sie Leibt Dich. It includes this interesting line: "The translator, Luxembourger Camillo Felgen, himself had a string of hits. Intriguingly, one was called I Respect Your Grey Hair."

Among the foreign language versions included in their list was "Ganz Allein" (In My Room) by Die Beach Boys.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/musi…..ns-results

I also found another site which has much more on the whole recording, including much that fleshes out the details of those involved, and may clear up some of the confusion about the identities:

"…the German lyrics had been hurriedly written by a Luxembourger named Camillo Felgen (Camille Jean Nicolas Felgen, 1920-2005).

"Camillo Felgen often told the story of how EMI's German producer, Otto Demler, had desperately flown Felgen to Paris and the Hotel George V, where the Beatles were staying. The Beatles, in Paris for a concert tour, had reluctantly agreed to make two German recordings, and Felgen, who was then a program director at Radio Luxembourg (now RTL), had less than 24 hours to finalize the German lyrics and coach the Beatles (phonetically) in German."

The full article is worth a read:

http://german.about.com/librar…..eatles.htm

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
8 March 2013
7.00pm
vonbontee
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Well, he's not a group, but Chubby Checker recorded a German-language version of "Let's Twist Again" (as "Der Twist Beginnt") in 1961.

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8 March 2013
8.57pm
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feature=channel

The guitar tone on that 5-note fill does sound a lot different here than the German version.

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