Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: Ron Richards
Engineer: Norman Smith
Following their studio session on 4 September, where The Beatles recorded ‘How Do You Do It’ and ‘Love Me Do’, EMI hastily arranged for them to return to London for a third attempt to complete their debut single.
George Martin was concerned with the quality of Ringo Starr’s drumming on the original ‘Love Me Do’, and so arranged for an experienced session drummer, Andy White, to play on the session. White was paid a standard fee of £5 15s (£5.75).
I had already heard of them because I was married to Lyn Cornell of the Vernons Girls, themselves a Liverpool group. They could have been cold towards me but in fact they were very nice, and kidded about. I was impressed because they were doing their own material, whereas most groups at the time were doing covers of American songs or Tin Pan Alley stuff.
The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn
The session, which lasted from 5pm to 6.45pm, was produced by Ron Richards, although George Martin arrived halfway through. Ringo Starr was relegated to playing the maracas on a remake of ‘PS I Love You’, and tambourine on ‘Love Me Do’.
I was working in London and doing a lot of TV. One Friday I got a call asking if I could do a three-hour job at EMI on the Monday.
That’s all I knew about it. I had heard of The Beatles by then because my first wife Lyn was from Liverpool and had mentioned the name, but I didn’t know much about them.
But those guys were great, and I worked closely with John and Paul while we tried to get the routines all worked out. They hadn’t written anything down as music, so we just worked through it together.
They were great. Ringo and I didn’t have much between us, all my time was taken up learning the routines and he was playing the tambourines so he was only there for the take. I mostly spoke to John and Paul because they were the writers.
It was a really enjoyable experience, and what impressed me was they were doing some really good stuff, but it was all their own stuff and was really new. Everything else at the time was a copy of music from the States, which was very successful, but they were doing something new and you could tell it was something different and very special. But I didn’t know just how special it would become.
The band recorded 10 takes of ‘PS I Love You’, and 18 of ‘Love Me Do’. They also attempted a version of ‘Please Please Me’ with White on drums. They had rehearsed the song during the 4 September session, but George Martin disliked the slow tempo and Roy Orbison-style arrangement.
The Beatles came up with a new arrangement, which was recorded on this day. Although at the time EMI had a policy to destroy unneeded outtakes, a version of Please Please Me from the session was rediscovered in 1994, and released on Anthology 1.
After the session ended, the best takes were mixed into mono and EMI began pressing ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘PS I Love You’ as The Beatles’ debut single. Initial pressings featured Ringo Starr on drums from the 4 September session, although these were later replaced by the Andy White version.
Also on this day...
- 2018: Ringo Starr live: Fraze Pavilion, Kettering, Ohio
- 2017: Paul McCartney live: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
- 1969: Mixing: What’s The New Mary Jane
- 1968: Recording: Glass Onion
- 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
- 1964: Live: Gator Bowl, Jacksonville
- 1964: George Harrison buys Mornyork Ltd
- 1963: Recording: I Wanna Be Your Man, Little Child, All I’ve Got To Do, Not A Second Time, Don’t Bother Me
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.