Although their short tour of Sweden didn’t start until the following day, The Beatles recorded a radio appearance for producer Klas Burling’s Sveriges Radio (Swedish National Radio) show Pop ’63.
In the morning they had attempted to do some sightseeing in Stockholm. Beatlemania had already broken out in Sweden, and they were soon swamped by hundreds of fans. They also held a press conference which was barely more orderly.
The recording took place at the Karlaplansstudion – later the Maximteatern – in Stockholm, in front of a studio audience of teenage girls. A hundred tickets were given away, but more than twice as many people turned up in the hope of seeing the performance.
The Beatles played a spirited set of seven songs: I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You, Money (That’s What I Want), Roll Over Beethoven, You Really Got A Hold On Me, She Loves You and Twist And Shout.
Between Money and Roll Over Beethoven the group took a short break, and local band Hasse Rosén and the Northmen performed three songs.
This edition of the radio show was subtitled ‘Popgrupp från Liverpool på besök i Stockholm’, which translates as ‘Pop group from Liverpool visiting Stockholm’. It was recorded from 5pm and broadcast on Monday 11 November 1963 from 10.05-10.30pm.
Studio engineer Hans Westman had trouble attempting to limit the distortion on The Beatles’ recordings, a problem caused by the lack of a rehearsal and sound check. There were also problems converting the group’s UK cables to Swedish electrical outlets.
Westman used six RCA and Velocity microphones to record The Beatles: two for vocals, one for the drums, a fourth by Paul McCartney’s bass amplifier, and two more for John Lennon and George Harrison’s guitar amps. Four more were used to pick up ambient noise including sounds from the audience.
Although he later described it as “the worst recording I’ve ever made”, The Beatles later expressed delight at the results. Indeed, five of the songs – I Saw Her Standing There, From Me To You, Money, You Really Got A Hold On Me and Roll Over Beethoven – featured on 1995’s Anthology 1.
I wasn’t satisfied with the recording and I apologised The Beatles for the high distortion. But they seemed very delighted.
I lost control over the height of the sound. The amplifiers couldn’t make it when The Beatles started to play. It was the highest recording level I had seen and certainly the worst distortion I ever had heard.
Now, when I’ve seen the result, I can understand why The Beatles was so delighted. They had, already way back in 1963, started to use the distortion to create a very special sound.
Afterwards The Beatles left the studio through the front doors, as there was no stage exit. They boarded a blue Fiat 1500 parked outside the studio, and were promptly besieged by fans.
Also on this day...
- 2015: Ringo Starr live at Grand Theater, Mashantucket, Connecticut
- 1969: Paul McCartney denies reports of his death
- 1968: George Harrison produces Is This What You Want? by Jackie Lomax
- 1965: Recording: I’m Looking Through You
- 1964: Live: Granada Cinema, Walthamstow, London
- 1961: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.