Tag Archives: Beatles

VJ-65

50 Years Ago: BEATLES START VACATIONS WHILE LOVE ME DO ISSUED

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The Beatles began well-deserved vacations on May 2, 1964. During the first part of the year, the Beatles had: played three weeks of concerts in Paris, France; conquered America with record-setting appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, successful concerts at the Washington Coliseum and Carnegie Hall, saturation radio air play, incredible record sales and total chart domination; recorded several high-quality original songs; released a new world-wide single, Can’t Buy Me Love; filmed a movie for United Artists; and somehow managed to do numerous television and radio interviews and performances. And that was just the first four months of the year!

Meanwhile, in America, Vee-Jay’s release of Love Me Do on its Tollie subsidiary was moving towards becoming the Beatles next big hit in America. The song, coupled with P.S. I Love You, had been the Beatles first single a year and a half earlier on Parlophone 45-R 4949, which was issued on October 5, 1962. The single did reasonably well for a debut disc, but only reached #17 on the U.K. charts. Capitol Records passed on the single in the U.S., although Capitol of Canada did release the disc in early 1963, which initially yielded sales of less than one hundred units and extremely limited radio air play.

Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You first appeared in the U.S. as album tracks on the first pressings of Vee-Jay’s Introducing The Beatles album, which pulled 12 tracks from the 14-track Please Please Me LP issued in the U.K. Although Vee-Jay had planned to release the album in the summer of 1963, it was not actually released until January 10, 1964. Vee-Jay quickly encountered an unanticipated problem when Beechwood Music Corporation, the publisher of the two songs in America and a subsidiary of Capitol, refused to grant Vee-Jay a mechanical license to release sound recordings of the songs. Beechwood sued Vee-Jay, forcing Vee-Jay to reconfigure its Introducing The Beatles album with the two songs being replaced by Please Please Me and Ask Me Why. Thus, by the end of February 1964, Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You were no longer available for purchase in America.

The void was soon filled in March 1964 when copies of the Canadian Love Me Do single began appearing in stores as an import single. These discs were being sold at prices between $1.25 to $1.75, a hefty premium over the normal 69¢ to 98¢ range for singles. Despite the high price, the Canadian disc began working its way up the American charts and would have continued its rise had Vee-Jay not settled its litigation with Capitol.

During early 1964, Vee-Jay had been pulling songs off its album for release as singles, including Twist And Shout and Do You Want To Know A Secret. Vee-Jay wanted to issue Love Me Do as a single, but could not do so until its legal issues with Capitol and Beechwood were resolved. Under the terms of a settlement reached between Vee-Jay and Capitol/Beechwood on April 1, 1964, Vee-Jay was given permission to issue the single Love Me Do b/w P.S. I Love You on Tollie T-9008. The Tollie single began appearing in stores during the second half of April 1964. Distributors, record stores and consumers shifted to the American single due to its lower cost.

Although Love Me Do had stalled at number 17 on the U.K. charts, things were different in America because the single was issued at a time when anything Beatles was destined to be a huge hit. By May 30, Love Me Do was number one in the Billboard Hot 100. Cash Box and Record World also reported the single at number one. The single would have been certified gold had Vee-Jay allowed the RIAA to examine its accounting records to certify sales. My review of Vee-Jay sales ledgers indicated sales of over 1,175,000 units.

Before turning to this week’s questions, I have an announcement regarding the future of my “50 Years Ago” email articles. Fifty years ago the Beatles went on extended vacation in May 1964. I plan to do the same at this time. I will continue to write and email my “50 Years Ago” articles, but only as events happening 50 years ago merit attention. You can also read my extended “50 years Ago” articles in Beatlefan magazine. If you do not already subscribe to Beatlefan, you should consider doing so. It is well worth the modest subscription price.

Read more in the The Beatles Records on Vee-Jay – Digital Edition

Today’s questions cover the Love Me Do single.

  1. Identify the drummer on the following releases of Love Me Do.

A. Parlophone single
B. Canadian single
C. Please Please Me LP
D. Introducing The Beatles
E. Tollie single
F. Version recorded first time Beatles were at Abbey Road

2. Who took the color photograph that inspired the drawing used on Tollie Love Me Do picture sleeve?
3. Who was the artists that drew the portrait of the Beatles used on Tollie Love Me Do picture sleeve?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. A. Ringo played drums on the version of Love Me Do used for the Parlophone single. B. The Canadian single was dubbed from the Parlophone single, so it also has Ringo on drums. C. The version of Love Me Do used for the Please Please Me LP has session drummer Andy White on drums and Ringo on tambourine. D. Introducing The Beatles was assembled from a master tape for the Please Please Me LP, so it also has Andy White on drums. E. The Tollie single pulled its tracks from Introducing The Beatles, so it also has Andy White on drums. F. The version of Love Me Do recorded at the Beatles first appearance at Abbey Road has Pete Best on drums.
  2. The color photograph (shown below) that inspired the drawing used on the Love Me Do picture sleeve was taken by Dezo Hoffmann.
  3. The artist who drew the portrait of the Beatles used on the Love Me Do picture sleeve was Jim Johnson.

 

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES PERFORM AT NME POLL-WINNERS CONCERT & TAPE TV SPECIAL

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Having completed the filming of their first movie, the Beatles were once again busy with concerts and television appearances. On Sunday, April 26, 1964, the Beatles performed five songs at the New Musical Express 1963 Annual Poll-Winners All-Star Concert held at Empire Pool in Wembley. The group rocked out with She Loves You, You Can’t Do That, Twist And Shout, Long Tall Sally and Can’t Buy Me Love. The concert and award ceremony was broadcast in England two weeks later on ABC Television on May 10.

The following day the Beatles had a dress rehearsal in front of an audience at Wembley Studios for their upcoming TV special Around The Beatles. The show was taped the following day on April 28. In addition to lip-syncing songs previously recorded at IBC Studios on April 19, 1964 (Twist And Shout, Roll Over Beethoven, I Wanna Be Your Man, Long Tall Sally, Can’t Buy Me Love, a medley of their first five singles and Shout), the Beatles, in theatrical costumes, mimed a trumpet fanfare to open the show and took part in a spoof of a Shakespeare play. The hour-long program was broadcast in the U.K. by Rediffusion on May 6. It was broadcast in America by ABC on Sunday evening, November 15, 1964.

On Wednesday, April 29, the Beatles performed at ABC Cinema in Edinburgh, Scotland. Prior to their show, the group gave an interview to BBC Scotland, which was broadcast on the Scottish News that evening. The following afternoon the Beatles were interviewed at their hotel by BBC Scotland for the news program Six Ten, which aired that evening. Later that afternoon the Beatles went to the Royal Theatre Studios of Scottish Television to tape interviews for the program Roundup, which was broadcast on May 5. That evening, the Beatles played two concerts at the Odeon Cinema in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Beatles concluded their busy week on Friday, May 1, with a recording session at BBC Paris Studio in London for another edition of their radio program From Us To You, which was set for broadcast on Whit Monday, May 18. The Beatles performed I Saw Her Standing There, Kansas City, I Forgot To Remember To Forget, You Can’t Do That, Sure To Fall (In Love With You), Can’t Buy Me Love, Matchbox and Honey Don’t, as well as singing Whit Monday To You to the tune of Happy Birthday.

Meanwhile, in America, the Beatles continued their sales and radio domination. In addition to the numerous Beatles singles in the Billboard Top 10 and Hot 100, The Beatles’ Second Album raced past Meet The Beatles! and Introducing The Beatles in just its second week to top the Billboard album chart.

 

Today’s questions cover the final week of April 1964.

  1. What three awards did the Beatles receive at the New Musical Express 1963 Annual Poll-Winners All-Star Concert?
  2. Who presented the awards to the Beatles at the New Musical Express 1963 Annual Poll-Winners All-Star Concert? Hint: He would later star in a movie that contained a song performed by a Beatle.
  3. What Shakespeare play was spoofed by the Beatles in their 1964 TV special Around The Beatles?
  4. In their 1964 TV special Around The Beatles, what role did each Beatle play in the group’s spoof of a Shakespeare play?
  5.  What songs recorded by the Beatles for their May 18, 1964 broadcast of From Us To You were previously recorded by Carl Perkins?
  6. Who sang lead on these BBC recordings of the Carl Perkins tunes performed for the May 18, 1964 broadcast of From Us To You?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Beatles received awards for Best Vocal Group, Best British Vocal Group and Best British Disc of the Year for She Loves You.
  2. Roger Moore presented the awards to the Beatles at the New Musical Express 1963 Annual Poll-Winners All-Star Concert. He would later star in the James Bond film Live And Let Die, which featured the Paul McCartney title song.
  3. The Beatles spoofed the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream in their 1964 TV special Around The Beatles.
  4. In their 1964 TV special Around The Beatles, John played the part of the woman Thisbe, Paul was Pyramus, George was Moonshine and Ringo was the Lion.
  5. The songs Sure To Fall (In Love With You), Matchbox and Honey Don’t were previously recorded by Carl Perkins.
  6. Paul (with backing from John) was the lead singer on Sure To Fall (In Love With You), Ringo sang lead on Matchbox and John sang lead on Honey Don’t. Ringo would later handle the lead vocal on the latter song when it was later recorded for the album Beatles For Sale.

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50 Years Ago: FILMING COMPLETED FOR BEATLES FIRST FILM WHILE “NEW” CAPITOL LP HITS THE CHARTS

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Filming of the Beatles first movie was completed during the week of April 20 – 24, 1964. The first two days of the final week were spent filming a solo sequence for one of the Beatles that would not make the final edit of the film. On Wednesday, April 22, the Beatles were filmed running down a fire escape behind the Hammersmith Odeon cinema in London. This sequence was used for the start of the group’s escape from their day full of rehearsals leading to them running around a field. That afternoon additional police chase footage was shot, followed by more scenes of Ringo on his afternoon of parading.

On April 23, additional footage was shot for the scene of the Beatles running and jumping on a helicopter pad. Rather than bring the boys back to a real concrete pad, the crew prepared a pad designed to match the one previously filmed. At the end of the sequence the Beatles are admonished by the groundskeeper, who says “I suppose you know this is private property,” to which one of the boys replies, “Sorry we hurt your filed, mister.” Filming was completed the following day with a scene in which Ringo tries to be a true gentleman for a lady, but unfortunately causes trouble for her which leads to his arrest.

In the United States, Capitol’s second Beatles album, cleverly titled The Beatles’ Second Album to trivialize Vee-Jay’s Introducing The Beatles, debuted on the Billboard album chart at number 16 in the magazine’s April 25 issue. The album was a Capitol concoction consisting of five leftover R&B covers from With The Beatles mixed with three B-sides, She Loves You and two previously unreleased songs later slated for a British EP. And while this may sound like a recipe for disaster, the album works spectacularly well. In fact, many of the people who crucify Capitol for its treatment of the Beatles catalog begrudgingly admit or glowingly rave that the LP is a rock ’n’ roll classic. With songs like She Loves You, You Can’t Do That, Thank You Girl, I’ll Get You, Roll Over Beethoven, Long Tall Sally, Money, Please Mr. Postman, etc., you know that can’t be bad. The following week the album replaced Meet The Beatles! at the top of the charts, where it remained for five straight weeks.

 

Today’s questions cover the third week of April 1964.

  1. In A Hard Day’s Night, which Beatles does not have a solo scene because his filmed segment does not appear in the film? Bonus: What are the details of the deleted scene?
  2. In A Hard Day’s Night, what song is used for the soundtrack as the Beatles run down a fire escape to escape their day of rehearsals?
  3. In A Hard Day’s Night, which Beatle says “Sorry we hurt your filed, mister” to a grounds keeper?
  4.  In A Hard Day’s Night, what gallant act does Ringo perform for a lady, only to have it backfire and cause him to get arrested?
  5. What two recordings made their world-wide debut on The Beatles’ Second Album?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. Paul is the only Beatles not to have a solo scene in A Hard Day’s Night. His deleted sequence was filmed in a room at the Jack Billings TV School of Dancing, which is supposed to be a rehearsal room in which an actress (played by Isla Blair) is rehearsing her lines. She and Paul engage in a long (and apparently not very funny or entertaining) conversation.
  2. In A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles run down a fire escape while Can’t Buy Me Love plays in the background.
  3. In A Hard Day’s Night, George says “Sorry we hurt your filed, mister” to a grounds keeper.
  4. In A Hard Day’s Night, Ringo gallantly places his coat over a series of puddles so that a lady may walk through the mud without getting her shoes or clothes dirty. Unfortunately for both, Ringo places his coat over an open manhole, which the lady falls into, leading to his arrest.
  5. The Beatles recordings of Long Tall Sally and I Call Your Name made their world-wide debut on The Beatles’ Second Album.

 

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES CONTINUE FILMING AND RECORD TITLE TRACK

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Work on the Beatles first film resumed at Twickenham Film Studios on Monday, April 13. George was filmed as he accidently wanders in the offices of a clothing company where he is mistaken for a male model and asked to give his opinion on some new shirts. George doesn’t like the shirts or the company’s fashion expert who appears on television. That afternoon, George is filmed showing the assistant road manager how to shave. John is filmed taking a bath and “disappearing” when the tub is emptied by the band’s road manager.

The next day filming continued with a scene of the Beatles stuck in a traffic jam. This sequence was not used in the movie. On Wednesday, the Beatles were filmed outside the Scala Theatre and in the near-by streets. That evening, Paul was interviewed for BBC television by David Frost, who in 1968 would feature film of the Beatles performing Hey Jude and Revolution at Twickenham on his TV show.

After day-time filming of the police chase scenes at Notting Hill Gate, the Beatles entered Abbey Road Studio on April 16 to record the title song of the film, A Hard Day’s Night. The song was primarily written by John, who got the title from a statement made by Ringo after a long day of filming. Apparently, Ringo was observing that it had been a hard day when he noticed it was now evening, so he ended up saying “It’s been a hard day’s night.” (The title was also similar to line from a short story in John’s book In His Own Write, which had recently been published. The actual line is “He’d hardly had a days night that day.”) The song A Hard Day’s Night would open and close the film, lead off the U.K. album containing songs from the film and be issued as a worldwide single.

On Friday, April 17, the Beatles returned to Les Ambassadeurs, where they were filmed dancing at a night club when they were supposed to be answering fan mail. That afternoon, the group was interviewed by Ed Sullivan. His interview would be broadcast on May 24, along with film of the Beatles performing a song intended for the movie.

The next day the Beatles were at Twickenham re-recording some of their dialog for scenes where the sound was not properly captured. On Sunday, April 19, the group went to IBC Studios to record songs for an upcoming TV special later named Around The Beatles. They recorded Roll Over Beethoven, I Wanna Be Your Man, Long Tall Sally, Can’t Buy Me Love, a medley of their first five singles and two songs associated with the Isley Brothers, one of which was never recorded for EMI.

 

Today’s questions cover the third week of April 1964.

  1. In A Hard Day’s Night, what word does George use to describe the shirts shown to him by a fashion executive?
  2. In A Hard Day’s Night, what song does John sing while playing with a submarine in the bath tub?
  3. What was the name of John’s short story from his book In His Own Write that may have inspired Ringo’s line “It’s been a hard day’s night”?
  4. In A Hard Day’s Night, what two songs are the Beatles shown dancing to?
  5. What two Isley Brothers songs did the Beatles record for the television special Around The Beatles?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. George describes the shirts as “grotty” (slang for grotesque).
  2. John sings a few lines from Rule Britannia while playing with a submarine in the bath tub.
  3. In his short story “Sad Michael” John writes “He’d hardly had a days night that day.”
  4. In A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles are shown dancing to I Wanna Be Your Man and Don’t Bother Me.
  5. The two Isley Brothers songs recorded by the Beatles for the TV special Around The Beatles were Twist And Shout and Shout.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES CONTINUE FILMING ON THEIR MOVIE

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Work on the Beatles first film at Twickenham continued on April 6 and 7, 1964, with the shooting of the make-up room scenes and the police station scenes. On April 8 the Beatles were given the day off while the opera scene was filmed.

On April 9 work continued on Ringo’s “parading” segment, with filming along the bank of the River Thames. During the scene, Ringo spots a group of young boys who are cutting school. One of them accidentally rolls a tire into Ringo’s path. There is also a scene in which Ringo attempts to take a self- portrait by placing his camera on a rock, only to have the camera fall into the water.

The following day filming resumed at Twickemham with the production office scenes. Unlike the previous day, this time the entire band was involved.

On Sunday, April 12, the group returned to Marylebone Station in London for more filming of the movie’s opening sequence. The screaming fans were not present for these scenes.

Meanwhile, across the pond, the Beatles continued with their domination of the charts, this week with a record 14 songs in the Billboard Hot 100, up from the previous week’s total of 12.

The litigation between Vee-Jay Records and Capitol Records was finally settled at this time, enabling Vee-Jay to proceed with the manufacturing and distribution of Beatles records without interference from Capitol and court injunctions. Vee-Jay sent a telegram (shown below) to its distributors on April 9, 1964, informing them of the settlement. The telegram prodded distributors to get back to pushing Vee-Jay’s Beatles records with a “So, fellows let’s start moving.”

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Today’s questions cover the second week of April 1964.

  1. What Lennon-McCartney song is heard on the film soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night during Ringo’s “parading” scene shot along the River Thames?
  2. What is the title for the song referred to in question 1 as it appears on the United Artists soundtrack album for A Hard Day’s Night?
  3. What artist is given credit for performing the song referred to in question 1 on the American United Artists single of the song?
  4.  What artist is given credit for performing the song referred to in question 1 on the Canadian United Artists single of the song?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Lennon-McCartney song This Boy is heard on the film soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night during Ringo’s “parading” scene shot along the River Thames.
  2. On the United Artists soundtrack album for A Hard Day’s Night, the song is shown as Ringo’s Theme (This Boy).
  3. On the American United Artists single of Ringo’s Theme (This Boy), the recording artist is listed as George Martin and His Orchestra.
  4. On the Canadian United Artists single of Ringo’s Theme (This Boy), the recording artist is listed as The Beatles even though it is an instrumental performed by George Martin and His Orchestra.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES DOMINATE U.S. CHARTS WHILE FILMING CONTINUES ON THEIR MOVIE

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Nowhere was the Beatles dominance of American radio and the American record industry more evident than in the April 4, 1964, issue of Billboard magazine. The group held down the top five spots on the singles charts and the top two spots on the album charts. In addition, seven more Beatles singles were in the Hot 100. It was a record at the time and a record that has yet to be broken and in all likelihood never will be. (And no, this is not an April Fools’ Day joke. It really happened!)

And while this was going on in the States, the Beatles continued with the filming of their still-untitled first movie. On March 31, 1964, the group was filmed performing several songs before a screaming audience at the Scala Theatre in London. Film of four of the songs from this performance was used towards the end of the film in the exciting TV performance scene. The soundtrack for this segment used studio versions of the songs. It was the climatic highlight of the film and one of the definitive representations of what Beatlemania was all about.

After filming the TV concert segment, the Beatles headed over to the Playhouse Theatre in London to tape seven songs for the April 4 edition of Saturday Club. They performed both sides of their current single, Can’t Buy Me Love and You Can’t Do That, along with two songs they had recently recorded but not released, I Call Your Name and Long Tall Sally, one song they would record at Abbey Road later in the year, Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby, and two songs they would never record for EMI, I Got A Woman and Sure To Fall (In Love With You).

On April 1 and 2, the group filmed the press party scenes in the lobby of the Scala Theatre. The following day they returned to Twickenham and filmed a strange promotional trailer for the film. After taking Saturday off, the group was back in action on Sunday, April 5, being filmed at a London’s Marylebone Station (which was normally closed on Sundays). These scenes of the group running and hiding from their fans were used for the opening of the film.

 

Today’s questions cover the last day of March and the first week of April 1964.

  1. What were the five Beatles songs that held down the top five spots in the April 4, 1964, issue of Billboard? Bonus: Name as many of the seven other songs in that issue’s Hot 100 as you can.
  2. What were the two Beatles albums that held down the top two spots in the April 4, 1964, issue of Billboard?
  3. What four songs are the Beatles shown performing for the TV special segment shot at the Scala Theatre for the ending of their first movie?
  4. What additional song was shot for the sequence but was not included in the film?
  5. Who “photobombs” the Beatles TV performance at the Scala Theatre in their first film?
  6. What famous rock drummer and singer was in the audience at the Scala Theatre as a 13-year old child actor?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

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1. The top five songs were, in order, Can’t Buy Me Love, Twist And Shout, She Loves You, I Want To Hold Your Hand and Please Please Me. The other seven were I Saw Her Standing There (#31), From Me To You (#41), Do You Want To Know A Secret (#46), All My Loving (Canadian import single #58), You Can’t Do That (#65), Roll Over Beethoven (Canadian import single #68) and Thank You Girl (#79).

2. The top two albums were Meet The Beatles! and Introducing The Beatles. This pairing held down the top two spots for over two months.

3. The Beatles are shown performing Tell Me Why, If I Fell, I Should Have Known Better and She Loves You before a screaming audience at the Scala Theatre.

4. The Beatles were also filmed performing You Can’t Do That. This segment was later shown on The Ed Sullivan Show on April 17, 1964.

5. During the Beatles performance of She Loves You, Paul’s grandfather sneaks on stage before being shoved away by George.

6.  Phil Collins was one of the 350 screaming teenagers in the audience at the Scala Theatre.

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50 Years Ago: VEE-JAY ISSUES BEATLES SINGLE & EP WHILE BEATLES CONTINUE WORK ON THEIR MOVIE

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In America, Vee-Jay Records continued with its release of “new” Beatles product by simultaneously issuing a Beatles single containing Do You Want To Know A Secret and Thank You Girl and an EP with the songs Misery, A Taste Of Honey, Ask Me Why and Anna. The single gave the Beatles and Vee-Jay another million seller, with the song peaking a number two in the Billboard Hot 100. Although the EP sold reasonably well for an American EP (nearly 78,000 copies), it did not make any of the top 100 listings, with only Record World later listing the disc at number 132 in August 1964.

Work on the Beatles first feature film continued with a switch to the Scala Theatre in London, where the group was filmed from Monday, March 23, through Thursday, March 26. Several of the sequences of the group on the theatre’s stage were shot, but the exciting concert scene would not be filmed until the following week. The Beatles were given an extended Easter holiday from March 27 through March 30, with John and wife Cynthia and George and new girlfriend Pattie Boyd heading to Dromolan Castle in Ireland, Paul remaining in London and Ringo spending time with friends in Bedfordshire.

 

This week’s questions pertain to the Vee-Jay’s March 1964 Beatles releases.

  1. What song blocked Do You Want To Know A Secret from topping the American charts?
  2. Who recorded a version of Do You Want To Know A Secret which peaked at number two on the U.K. charts?
  3. What song blocked Do You Want To Know A Secret from topping the U.K. charts?
  4. What did Vee-Jay name its 1964 Beatles EP?

 

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Do You Want To Know A Secret was blocked from topping the American charts by Louis Armstrong’s recording of Hello Dolly.

2. Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas recorded a version of Do You Want To Know A Secret that peaked at number two on the U.K. charts in 1963.

3. Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas’ version of Do You Want To Know A Secret was blocked from the top of the U.K. charts by the Beatles single From Me To You.

4. Vee-Jay named its EP Souvenir Of Their Visit To America to capitalize on the group’s recent February 1964 visit to the States.

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50 Years Ago: CAN’T BUY ME LOVE RELEASED WHILE BEATLES CONTINUE FILMING FIRST MOVIE

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The Beatles sixth U.K. single and first U.K. single for 1964, Can’t Buy Me Love b/w You Can’t Do That, was released on March 20, 1964. In the United States, the same single was released by Capitol Records four days earlier on March16. The single quickly rose to the top of the charts in both countries, eventually selling over 1.5 million copies in the U.K. and over two million copies in America.

Filming for the Beatles first feature film resumed on Monday, March 16, at Twickenham Film Studios. Ringo was the only Beatles to participate in the day’s filming, which covered the scene in the canteen where he is persuaded to walk out on the group before their big television appearance. On Tuesday, the entire group was filmed at Les Ambassadeurs, a high class club where they catch Paul’s grandfather gambling. On Wednesday it was back at Twickenham for the filming of the dressing room scenes. The next two days were spent filming the movie scenes that take place in the hallways of the theater where the television special is to be broadcast.

In addition to being filmed all week, the Beatles did several interviews for BBC radio. On the evening of March 19, the group lip-synced both sides of their new single for Britain’s most famous television show that featured pop music. Both performances were shown the following week on March 25. On Friday night, the group appeared live on the television show Ready, Steady, Go! They lip-synced both sides of their new single plus the album track It Won’t Be Long. And, if that wasn’t enough, the group attended a luncheon on Thursday at the Variety Club of Great Britain, where they were given the award for Show Business Personalities of 1963.

This week’s questions pertain to the Beatles during the third week of March 1964.

  1. In the film A Hard Day’s Night, who persuades Ringo to walk out on the Beatles before their big television appearance?
  2. What did the individual in the above question tell Ringo he should do?
  3. In the film A Hard Day’s Night, what was the name of the exclusive club visited by Paul’s grandfather?
  4. What was the name of the famous pop music show that the Beatles first appeared on in March 1964?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. In the film A Hard Day’s Night, Paul’s grandfather persuades Ringo to walk out on the Beatles before their big television appearance.

2. Ringo was told that he should go parading.

3. In the film A Hard Day’s Night, the exclusive club visited by Paul’s grandfather is named Le Circle Club. The scene was shot at Les Ambassadeurs.

4. The Beatles first appeared on Top Of The Pops in March 1964.

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50 Years Ago: FILMING CONTINUES FOR BEATLES FIRST MOVIE

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The Beatles spent the week of March 9, 1964, being filmed for their first movie. Monday’s schedule involved finishing the shooting for the scenes on the train. The next day Ringo’s pub scene was shot, during which he orders a sandwich and plays darts with a humorous and near fatal result. On Wednesday, the group made their first trip to a London film studio where several of the movie’s interior scenes would be shot. The Beatles were filmed in a set resembling a baggage car on a train playing cards and performing the song I Should Have Known Better. This scene would be edited into the previously shot train sequences. The following day the Beatles returned to the film studio to shoot their hotel room scenes, which included the group being ordered by their road managers to answer their fan mail and a scene of the group returning from a night out and finding a hotel waiter (minus his uniform) in the room’s closet. The final day of filming for the week took place at Gatwick Airport. The group was filmed entering a helicopter. This would be the final scene in the film where promotional photographs would fall from the helicopter as ascended into the sky. After lunch, the group was filmed from a hovering helicopter running about a helicopter launch pad. This would be incorporated into the scene of the Beatles rollicking about a playground with Can’t Buy Me Love serving as the musical soundtrack.

While the Beatles were off shooting their film, George Martin and the Abbey Road engineers continued with the mixing of the songs recorded by the Beatles before filming began.

During the week EMI and Capitol were pressing copies of the Beatles next single, Can’t Buy Me Love b/w You Can’t Do That, and having the records sent to distribution centers for the single’s upcoming release. EMI had advance orders of 850,000 the week before the disc’s release. Capitol was anticipating orders of 1,700,000 copies.

Beatles records continued to dominate U.S. sales and charts. Capitol’s Meet The Beatles! was still atop the album charts, with Vee-Jay’s Introducing The Beatles at number two. I Want To Hold Your Hand was at number one on the singles chart, with She Loves You at number two and Please Please Me at three. The Beatles incredibly held down not only the top two positions on the album charts, but also the top three on the singles charts. The group’s domination of the American charts would become even greater a few weeks later.

 

This week’s questions pertain to the Beatles during the second week of March 1964.

  1. What was the name of the studio where the Beatles first movie was filmed?
  2. What other Beatles movies were also filmed at the same studio?
  3. Which promotional videos were also filmed at the same studio?
  4. What were the names of the Beatles road managers in the film that insisted that the group answer all of their fan mail?
  5. Which Beatle gets the most fan mail in the film?
  6. In real life, which Beatles got the most American fan mail in 1964?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. The Beatles first movie was filmed at Twickenham Film Studios, which is located in London.

2. In addition to A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles films Help! and Let It Be were filmed at Twickenham Film Studios.

3. Promotional videos for We Can Work It Out, Day Tripper, Help!, Ticket To Ride, I Feel Fine, Hey Jude and Revolution were filmed at Twickenham Film Studios.

4. Norm and Shake were the names of the Beatles road managers in the film that insisted that the group answer all of their fan mail.

5. In A Hard Day’s Night, Ringo is the Beatles that gets the most fan mail.

6. In real life, Ringo got the most American fan mail in 1964.

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The above painting by Eric Cash (copyright 2008) captures the excitement of the Beatles performing Hey Jude before an audience at Twickenham Film Studios on September 4, 1968. A promotional clip of the group’s performance aired in the U.K. on Frost On Sunday, and in the U.S. on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

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50 Years Ago: FILMING BEGINS ON BEATLES FIRST MOVIE

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Filming began for the Beatles first movie on Monday, March 2, 1964, and continued non-stop through the following Friday. As is the case with nearly all movies, the scenes were shot out of sequence with how they would ultimately be edited into the released film. During this week, plus the Monday of the following week, the scenes inside the train were shot. Although the Beatles boarded the train on March 2 at Paddington Station, no filming was actually done at that station.

While the Beatles were being filmed, George Martin and the engineers at Abbey Road were busy preparing mono mixes of the songs recorded the previous week. Although they would not be released on an album for several months, the mono mixes were a priority because United Artists would need them for the soundtrack of the film.

In America, the Beatles triumphant appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show had sparked even more interest in the group, leading to further boosts in record sales. Testimony to the phenomenal sales of Capitol’s I Want To Hold Your Hand single and Meet The Beatles! album appeared in the March 5, 1964, affidavit of Capitol vice-president Voyle Gilmore in a law suit between Capitol and Vee-Jay over the U.S. rights to the Beatles recordings. According to Gilmore, Capitol was selling approximately 500,000 Beatles records a week and had already sold over 6,000,000 copies of their first two releases. During February 1964, Vee-Jay had sold over one million copies of its Please Please Me single. Sales for Vee-Jay’s Introducing The Beatles album would surpass one million units by the end of March. Vee-Jay was so impressed with the performance of its Beatles records that it issued a second Beatles single, Twist And Shout, on a newly formed subsidiary label in late February. Swan Records’ reissue of the She Loves You single was also flying out of record stores, with sales hovering at around two million units by the end of February.

 

This week’s questions pertain to the Beatles in early March 1964.

  1. Which Beatle met his future wife during the first day of filming for the Beatles first movie and what was her name?
  2. What song do the Beatles perform on the train during the Beatles first movie?
  3. While Paul tires to impress some young women on the train, what does Paul’s grandfather describe the Beatles as?
  4. On what subsidiary label did Vee-Jay issue its Twist And Shout single?
  5. Who was the Vee-Jay subsidiary label named after?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. George met his future wife Pattie Boyd during the first day of filming for the Beatles first movie.

2. The Beatles performed I Should Have Known Better during a scene on the train in their first film.

3. Upon seeing Paul trying to impress some young ladies, Paul’s grandfather warns them not to fraternize with his prisoners.

4. Twist And Shout was issued as the first single on Vee-Jay’s Tollie subsidiary label.
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5. Vee-Jay’s Tollie subsidiary label was named after Calvin Tollie Carter, who was head of A&R for Vee-Jay.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES BEGIN RECORDING SONGS FOR FILM AND NEXT ALBUM

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The Beatles returned to Abbey Road Studios on Tuesday, February 25, 1964, to begin recording songs for their upcoming film and next album. The first order of business was to complete their next single, which would pair Can’t Buy Me Love with You Can’t Do That. The former song had been recorded a month earlier in Pairs on January 29. The group added guitar and vocal overdubs. The latter was completed in nine takes, with George playing his new Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar that he was given in New York. The group also recorded two takes of And I Love Her and three takes of I Should Have Known Better. Both songs would be remade later in the week. All in all a production sessions held on Harrison’s 21st birthday.

On Wednesday morning, the mono mixes were made for both sides of the Can’t Buy Me Love single. That afternoon the group returned to and completed I Should Have Known Better. They recorded several takes of And I Love Her, but were not satisfied with the recordings. The next day they finally found the proper arrangement for the song, completing the re-make in two takes. This was followed by the recording of two more songs, Tell Me Why and If I Fell.

The group spent Friday recording their second installment of their BBC radio show From Us To You, which was set for broadcast the day after Easter on March 30. The group performed both sides of their new single, Can’t Buy Me Love and You Can’t Do That, along with several selections from their second album, Roll Over Beethoven, Till There Was You, I Wanna Be Your Man, Please Mister Postman, All My Loving and This Boy.

After having Saturday off, the Beatles returned to Abbey Road on Sunday, March 1. The group recorded I’m Happy Just To Dance With You, another Lennon-McCartney song for the film, with George on lead vocal. The Beatles then knocked out two songs that would not be used in the film or appear on the album, Long Tall Sally and I Call Your Name.

 

This week’s questions pertain to the Beatles first recording sessions for their first film.

  1. When was the first time George played his Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar that he would later use on several of the songs recorded for the group’s first film?
  2. When was the first time George played his Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar with the Beatles?
  3. What guitar did George play on the first takes of And I Love Her and what guitar did he use on the finished master?
  4. On what songs recorded during the first week of sessions for the Beatles film did George Martin play piano?
  5.  What percussion instrument did Ringo overdub on I’m Happy Just To Dance With You?
  6. On what record were Long Tall Sally and I Call Your Name first released?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

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1. Harry Benson took a photograph on the evening of February 8, 1964, of George sitting in bed at the Plaza Hotel playing his new toy, a Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar.

2. George first played his Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar (shown above) with the Beatles during a rehearsal for The Ed Sullivan Show in Miami Beach on February 14, 1964.

3. George initially used his Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar on And I Love Her. For the later takes, including the finished master, George played a Jose Ramirez nylon-stringed classical acoustic guitar.

4. George Martin played piano on Tell Me Why and Long Tall Sally.

5. Ringo overdubbed loose-skinned Arabian Bongo drums onto I’m Happy Just To Dance With You.

6. Long Tall Sally and I Call Your Name first appeared on the Capitol’s The Beatles Second Album.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES VACATION IN MIAMI BEACH BEFORE HEADING HOME

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The Beatles spent the week of February 17, 1963, relaxing in Miami Beach. The group had been scheduled to return to England the day of their second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but Brian decided to let the boys have additional time to enjoy sunny south Florida. On Monday, Sgt. Buddy Dresner arranged for the group to have use of a private home on Star Island. The Beatles were able to run on the beach and frolic in the waves. They also went water skiing for the first time. That evening, the group watched a science fiction television program with Sgt. Dresner, who taught the group a new word when describing an alien weapon seen in the show. John later incorporated the word into a song on The White Album.

On Tuesday, the group attended the workout of Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali), who was in training for his heavyweight championship fight with Sonny Liston. Sgt. Dresner also took the group to a drive-in theater to see a movie. George was the only Beatle to have previously seen a movie at a drive-in, having done so during his trip to America in September 1963.

The group also spent time during the week shopping, speedboating, swimming and snorkeling. Paul recalls a car dealership lending each Beatle his own MG to drive around. Ringo recalls being put behind the wheel of a speedboat and running it into the dock. After an exciting but grueling week in the frigid Northeast, the Beatles enjoyed a week of relaxation in sunny Florida. It was a happy and innocent time.

On Friday, February 21, the group made preparations for their return to England. The group flew in from Miami Beach to New York’s Kennedy Airport, where thousands of fans showed up on a cold winter evening to say goodbye to the Beatles. The scene at the airport was reminiscent of the frenzied reception that had greeted the group two weeks earlier.

The Beatles received a hero’s welcome at London Airport on Saturday morning. Their arrival was heavily covered by the British press, including print, radio, television and newsreel. On Sunday, February 23, it was back to work with the group their appearance on the British ABC Television program Big Night Out. The band mimed All My Loving, I Wanna Be Your Man, Till There Was You, Please Mister Postman, Money and I Want To Hold Your Hand.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Ed Sullivan described the Beatles as “a bunch of nice kids” during his opening remarks of his third consecutive show to have performances by the group. Although he gave the impression to his television audience that the group was appearing live, their performance had been taped two weeks earlier after the dress rehearsal on February 9. The group was shown performing Twist And Shout, Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand. Although the British comedy team of Morecambe and Wise was also on the show, their segment, as well as those of the other performers on the show, was taped at a different time. Ed Sullivan’s gamble of booking a then unknown in America group for three shows at a cost of $10,000 paid off handsomely for all parties involved. Sullivan benefited from getting the hottest act in entertainment history on his show for a bargain price, while the Beatles got tremendous exposure that provided the explanation point in Beatlemania! American style.

 

Today’s questions cover the Beatles time in Miami Beach.

  1. What science fiction television program did the Beatles watch on Monday evening, February 17, 1963?
  2.  What word did the group learn from Sgt. Dresner while watching the program and in what song did John use the word?
  3. What movie did the Beatles see at a drive-in theater during their stay in Miami Beach?
  4. What was the name of the Pam Am jet that took the Beatles from Miami to New York?
  5. What name did Pan Am temporarily assign to the jet that flew the Beatles back to London?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

  1. The Beatles watched The Outer Limits on February 17, 1963. The name of the episode was “The Children of Spider County.” It is available on DVD.
  2. During the program, Sgt. Dresner marveled at an alien weapon and said, “If I had one of those guns, I could zap all the criminals.” The group found the word “zap” interesting. John later used it in The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill in the line “So Capt. Marvel zapped him right between the eyes.”
  3. The Beatles saw the Elvis movie Fun In Acapulco at a drive-in theater during their stay in Miami Beach.
  4. The jet that flew the Beatles from Miami to New York was named Jet Clipper Northern Light.
  5. The jet that flew the Beatles back to London in February 1964 was temporarily named Jet Clipper Beatles.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES PLAY FIRST CONCERTS IN AMERICA

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The Beatles began the week of February 10, 1964, with a series of press conferences at the Plaza Hotel. In addition to answering endless questions, the group received gold record awards for I Want To Hold Your Hand and Meet The Beatles! from Capitol Records, the same label that had previously passed on issuing the group’s records in America an incredible four times. They also met with David Picker of United Artists to discuss their upcoming film and attended a cocktail party held in their honor.

The Beatles were scheduled to fly from New York to Washington, D.C. on the morning of February 11, but balked at the idea when confronted with a winter snow storm. George made it clear he was not going to fly in a “fookin’ blizzard.” Plans were quickly altered and the Beatles, their entourage and the press boarded a train at Penn Station to head to the nation’s capitol. About 2,000 fans were there to great them when the train arrived shortly after 3:00 p.m. The Beatles were then taken by limos to the Shoreham Hotel, where the group freshened up and worked out the set list for the evening’s concert.

The group was then taken to the site of their evening concert, the Washington Coliseum, where they conducted a press conference from the stage. After walking over to WWDC’s satellite studio located by the venue for an exclusive interview with Carroll James, the disc jockey who played I Want To Hold Your Hand weeks before its scheduled release date, the group returned to the Coliseum.

When the group climbed onto the stage just after 8:30 p.m., fans began screaming and photographers (both professional and amateur) started taking tons of pictures. The Beatles knocked out a high-energy 12-song set, with the adrenaline rush brought on by the screaming crowd causing Ringo to push the beat a bit faster on many of the songs. After recovering from the concert, the group headed to the British Embassy to attend a charity ball.

Having played their first American concert the night before in front of over 8,000 screaming fans, the Beatles awoke in an excited mood. They got a mini-tour of the nation’s capitol and then headed back to New York by train. About 1,500 fans were there for the group’s arrival at Penn Station. The boys were smuggled out of the station through a freight elevator and subterranean passageway. Upon arrival at the Plaza, it was more of the same. After relaxing for a spell in their Plaza Hotel suites, the group headed to Carnegie Hall, where they gave two successful concerts before their enthusiastic fans. Later that evening Murray the K took the group to the Headliner Club, where Ringo twisted the night away. After a stop at the Improvisation coffee house, the group went back to the Plaza at 4:00 a.m.

On Thursday afternoon the Beatles flew to Miami, where they were met by a crowd estimated at between 4,500 to 7,000 people. The group got a police escort to the Deauville Hotel. After dinner and a meeting with the staff from The Ed Sullivan Show, they went to the Miami branch of the Peppermint Lounge, where they caught R&B singer Hank Ballard’s show. They stayed till 1:00 a.m. before having a round of the drunks at the Wreck Bar before heading back to the Deauville.

On Friday, the Beatles did a photo shoot for Life magazine and were taken out on the motor yacht Southern Trail. At 6:00 p.m., the group held a rehearsal in one of the Deauville’s lower level rooms. That evening they went to the home of a Miami Beach policeman who had been serving as their protector and guide. They were treated to a family-style American dinner with his family. After returning to the Deauville at about 11:00 P.M., the group headed to one of the hotel’s night clubs to see comedian Don Rickels, who poked fun at them from the stage.

The next day the Beatles spent the morning fishing and swimming before returning to the Deauville for a camera rehearsal for The Ed Sullivan Show, which was set to be broadcast live from the hotel on Sunday night. That evening, they went to a night club to see the Coasters.

Sunday, February 16, began with a morning camera rehearsal. That afternoon, the group took part in the show’s dress rehearsal in front of 3,500 lucky ticket holders in the hotel’s Napoleon Ballroom. After relaxing in their rooms for a few hours, the Beatles were escorted through the hotel’s crowded lobby to the Napoleon Room for the live broadcast. The group’s second Ed Sullivan Show was another triumph, with approximately 72 million viewers tuning in.

After the show, the hotel’s owner held a party for the Sullivan Show staff and guests. While the other Beatles were in an upbeat mood, Ringo appeared sullen. When asked by Sullivan Associate Director John Moffitt why he was feeling somber, Ringo replied, “It will never be any better than this. It’s all straight down from here.” Ringo would soon learn he was wrong. It would get even better.

The full story of the Beatles in America is told in great detail in the book The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.

 

This week’s questions cover the Beatles first concerts in America and their stay in Miami Beach.

  1. What song did the Beatles choose to open their first American concert?
  2. What song did the Beatles close their first American concert with?
  3. What was the Washington Coliseum normally used for?
  4. What was the name of the sleeper car that they Beatles were in during their train ride from New York to the nation’s capitol?
  5.  Who booked the Beatles into Carnegie Hall?
  6. Who was the opening act for the Beatles Carnegie Hall concert?
  7. Who were George’s two different roommates at the Deauville Hotel?

 

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Roll Over Beethoven, a Chuck Berry rocker with George on lead vocal. The Beatles version of the song had yet to be released in America.

2. Long Tall Sally, a Little Richard rocker with Paul on lead vocal. The Beatles had yet to record the song for EMI.  The concert’s set list is shown below.

3. Boxing and wrestling matches. The group performed on a square stage. The Beatles changed the direction they were facing every three songs so that all in attendance would get a front view of the band for part of the show.

4. The King George, named after a British monarch, not George Harrison or George Martin.

5. Sid Bernstein, who would later promote the Beatles historic concert at Shea Stadium.

6. The Briarwood Singers, a folk group from Miami.

7. Murray the K followed the Beatles down to Miami Beach and roomed with George for a few days before heading back to New York. Afterwards, George was joined by their Miami Beach police escort, Sgt. Buddy Dresner.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES WRAP UP 3-WEEK ENGAGEMENT IN PARIS AND INVADE AMERICA

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The Beatles began the week of February 3, 1964, finishing off their three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, France. The final two show performances were held on Monday and Tuesday. After returning to the U.K. on Wednesday, the Beatles prepared for their first visit to America.

On Friday, February 7, 1964, Pan American Airways Flight 101 lifted off the runway at London Airport at 11:00 a.m. and headed across the Atlantic Ocean for New York. On Board the Boeing 707 jetliner were the Beatles and their entourage. When the Beatles exited the plane at Kennedy International Airport shortly after 1:20 p.m. (shown above), they were greeted by over 3,000 teenagers who had cut school and assembled on the airport’s upper arcade to welcome their heroes.

The full story is told in great detail in the book The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America. Here are the highlights of the group’s first weekend in America.

After quickly clearing customs, the Beatles gave their first press conference before the tough-minded New York press. It was a chaotic scene during which the Beatles charmed most of those present. They were then taken by a fleet of limos to the Plaza Hotel on Central Park, where they were once again greeted by screaming fans. The group checked into their rooms and later gathered together to watch themselves on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. They then took part in a telephone interview by Brian Matthew, host of the BBC radio show Saturday Club. The Beatles were visited and interviewed that evening by popular New York disc jockey Murray the K, who brought along the black female singing group Ronettes to ensure he would be welcome. The group discussed going out to sample the New York nightlife, but ultimately decided they were too tired and instead watched TV and listened to the radio.

On Saturday, George was examined by the resident physician at the Plaza Hotel. After requesting an autographed picture of the group, Dr. Jules Gordon determined that George had a strep throat and a fever of 104 degrees. George was ordered to stay in bed and was cared for by his sister, Lou.

While George got some needed rest, the other Beatles went to Central Park for a photo session before heading over to CBS Studio 50 for a rehearsal for The Ed Sullivan Show. The group went through camera blocking with two other people filling in for George. Sullivan, who normally did not attend Saturday rehearsals, was there and somewhat concerned until George showed up late in the afternoon.

After leaving Studio 50, the three healthy Beatles and Brian met with representatives of a California guitar company at the Savoy-Hilton. They later returned to the Plaza to present George with a new guitar. That evening, while George remained in bed and played his new guitar and called up local radio stations, the others and George Martin had dinner with Capitol Records executives at the exclusive 21 restaurant. When they returned to the Plaza, they joined George on the phone with Murray the K, who told listeners that the Beatles had taken over his program. Paul introduced Marvin Gaye’s Pride And Joy and Ringo taught Murray the K a new expression, “It’s the gear, baby.” And it was.

Sunday, February 9, 1964, was the day that the Beatles and all of America had been waiting for. The Beatles were going to be on Ed Sullivan, coast to coast with America’s favorite host. Exactly one year earlier, the Beatles had performed at the Empire Theatre in Sunder, Durham, England, as the sixth and bottom act of a tour headlined by sixteen-year-old Helen Shapiro. Oh my how things had changed. On this day they were headlining The Ed Sullivan Show.

The Beatles took part in a morning camera rehearsal. Afterwards, the group surprised the staff by asking to hear a tape playback of their performance. They explained to the sound crew that they did not want their vocals to overshadow their instrumental backing. They wanted both equally balanced.

The afternoon dress rehearsal, which was in front of a live audience, was total chaos, with screaming young girls and members of the press scurrying around to get pictures of the Beatles. After the rehearsal was completed, the group taped three songs, Twist And Shout, Please Please Me and I Want To Hold Your Hand, for future broadcast.

Finally, at 8:00 p.m. EST, it was time for the live broadcast of The Ed Sullivan Show. After Sullivan’s  introduction, the group opened with All My Loving as girls yelled and bounced in their seats. This was followed by Till There Was You, a slow love song from The Music Man that even adults could appreciate. The relative calm of the ballad was quickly shattered by a rocking rendition of She Loves You that provided a bold demonstration of the big beat sound. They returned later in the show to play both sides of their hit Capitol single I Saw Her Standing There and I Want To Hold Your Hand. The show was watched by a then record television audience of 73 million people.

Although the youth of America embraced the Beatles, some critics were quite harsh in their assessment. Jack Gould of The New York Times called televised Beatlemania “a fine mass placebo.” The New York Herald-Tribune proclaimed “Seventy-five percent publicity, twenty percent haircut and five percent lilting lament.” Even Sullivan Show musical director Roy Bloch failed to see what all the excitement was about, stating, “The only thing different is the hair, as far as I can see. I give them a year.” So much for predictions. Fifty years later, we’re still talking about the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show.

This week’s questions cover the Beatles first weekend in America.

  1. Pan America Airways named the planes in their fleet. What was the name of the jet that brought the Beatles to America for the first time?
  2. Who was the Beatles PR person who served as moderator during the Beatles first press conference at Kennedy Airport?
  3. What two individuals stood in for George during the Saturday, February 6, 1964, camera rehearsal for The Ed Sullivan Show?
  4.  What new guitar was brought to George on February 6, 1964, at the Plaza Hotel?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Jet Clipper Defiance.

2. Brian Sommerville. He was fired by Brian after the first U.S. visit.

3. Beatles road manager Neil Aspinall (see below) and Sullivan production assistant Vince Calandra.

4. A 12-string Rickenbacker electric guitar, which George would use on many of the songs on the group’s next album and first film, A Hard Day’s Night.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES RECORD GERMAN LYRIC SONGS IN FRANCE

BEATLES RECORD GERMAN LYRIC SONGS IN FRANCE

AS BEATLEMANIA GAINS MOMENTUM IN AMERICA

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The Beatles spent the week of January 27, 1964, continuing with their three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, France. The bill included the popular French female vocalist Sylvie Vartan and American folk singer/guitarist Trini Lopez, who burst upon the scene six months earlier with his worldwide hit If I Had A Hammer, as well as acrobats and jugglers. During this week the Beatles played two shows each day. Their set included From Me To You, Roll Over Beethoven, She Loves You, This Boy, Boys, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Twist And Shout and Long Tall Sally.

During their stay in Paris, the Beatles spent time on January 29, 1964, recording German-lyric versions of I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You at EMI Pathe Marconi Studios. The recordings were made at the request of the production manager for EMI’s West German branch, Electrola. A single containing Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich was released in Germany on March 5, 1964. The German lyrics were written by Camillo Jean Nicolas Felgen, who wrote under various names, so the writer credits for the songs falsely give the impression that the songs were co-written by different pairs of German lyricists.

Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand, credited to Lennon-McCartney-Nicolas-Hellmer, is not a direct translation of the Beatles song, but rather German words that fit the music which express similar sentiments. Translating back from German to English shows how different the lyrics actually are. The title translates as “Come, give me your hand.” The first verse opens with “Oh come, come to me, you drive me out of my mind.” You get the idea. Sie Liebt Dich, credited to Lennon-McCartney-Nicolas-Montague, is similar in its lyrical treatment, but at least the title matches up. The end of the chorus changes from “With a love like that, you know you should be glad” to “For with you alone, can she only be happy.”

On the morning of the scheduled session, the Beatles failed to show up and had their road manager tell a furious George Martin that they had decided not to go to the studio. Martin took a taxi to their hotel and demanded they get dressed and get to the studio. The session went so well that the group had time to record an additional song, this one in English.

Meanwhile, over in America, the Beatles were getting saturation air play with not only I Want To Hold Your Hand and She Loves You (the two songs they had redone with German lyrics), but also with Please Please Me. Some radio stations were even playing songs from the albums Introducing The Beatles and Meet The Beatles!  The singles and albums were selling at record rates (pun intended). She Loves You and Please Please Me were chasing after I Want To Hold Your Hand, which sat at the top of all the national charts and most of the charts published by local radio stations across America. Both albums were also beginning their vault to the top two positions on the charts.

By this time word had spread throughout the land. The Beatles are Coming! The Beatle Are Coming!

 

This week’s questions cover the Beatles German-lyric single.

  1. What was the first Beatles German-lyric song released in America?
  2. By what record company and in what format was first German lyric Beatles song released?
  3. By what record company and in what format was the second German lyric Beatles song released?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. Sie Liebt Dich was the first Beatles German-lyric song released in America.

2. Sie Liebt Dich was issued by Swan Records on a 45-RPM single paired with I’ll Get You, which was the B-side of the label’s She Love You single. The label credited the song to “DIE BEATLES.” The disc was issued on or about May 21, 1964. When Capitol sued, Swan agreed to stop manufacturing and distributing the single.

3. Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand was issued by Capitol Records in the LP format on the Something New album, which was released on July 20, 1964.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES IN PARIS WHILE CAPITOL RELEASES MEET THE BEATLES!

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The Beatles spent the week of January 20, 1964, continuing with their three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, France. The bill included the popular French female vocalist Sylvie Vartan and American folk singer/guitarist Trini Lopez, who burst upon the scene six months earlier with his worldwide hit If I Had A Hammer, as well as acrobats and jugglers. During this week the Beatles played two shows each day. Their set included From Me To You, Roll Over Beethoven, She Loves You, This Boy, Boys, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Twist And Shout and Long Tall Sally.

Meanwhile, over in America, Capitol Records pushed the release date of its Meet The Beatles! LP up from mid-February to January 20, 1964. In compiling its debut Beatles album, Capitol decided to base the record off the group’s most recent U.K. album, With The Beatles. There would, of course, be some changes made for the American market.

For starters, Capitol was not excited about the album’s title. The LP was given a more dynamic and descriptive title, Meet The Beatles! The explanation point drove home the point that this was going to be an exciting introduction to the band. And to be sure no one asked about the band’s previous recordings, the front cover described the record as “The First Album by England’s Phenomenal Pop Combo.” Capitol’s art department used the same stunning cover found on the U.K. album, but gave it a blue tint.

In keeping with the American practice of having 11 or 12 songs per album, the 14-track British line-up was reduced to a dozen selections. Because Capitol (as well as other American record companies) believed that hit singles made hit albums, both sides of the recently released Capitol single I Want To Hold Your Hand b/w I Saw Her Standing There were selected to open the album. This was followed by This Boy, which was the British B-side to I Want To Hold Your Hand. None of these three songs were on With The Beatles. After these alterations, there was only space for 9 of the U.K. album’s 14 tracks.

Capitol decided to showcase the songwriting abilities of the group, so the company included all eight of the group’s original compositions on the album, which included seven by Lennon-McCartney plus George Harrison’s Don’t Bother Me. This brought the total number of songs to 11. The line-up became an even dozen with the addition of the ballad Till There Was You, a song that even parents could appreciate. Capitol chose not to alter the running order of the songs that were selected for the album. The five cover songs that were not selected were, in effect, edited out of the sequence.

While Capitol has often been criticized for its handling of the Beatles catalog, Meet The Beatles! stands as an effective album, one that is even stronger than its British counterpart With The Beatles. If you can get past the fact that Capitol tampered with the Beatles carefully crafted albums, you see that the company actually prepared the perfect album to introduce the Beatles to America. Its decision to open the album with the already familiar hit single I Want To Hold Your Hand followed by its rocking B-side I Saw Her Standing There and the passionate ballad This Boy provides an incredible prequel to the original compositions from the U.K. album. What’s not to like? After all, if you were programming an album to introduce the Beatles to America, which song would you rather include, I Want To Hold Your Hand or Devil In Her Heart?

 

This week’s questions cover the Beatles first Capitol album.

  1. Who was responsible for programming the Meet The Beatles! album?
  2. Who took the photograph that appears on the front cover of the Meet The Beatles! album?
  3. Who took the photograph that appears on the back cover of the Meet The Beatles! album?
  4. Who designed the front cover of the Meet The Beatles! album?
  5. How was the group’s name spelled on the Capitol acetate of the album prepared on December 19, 1963?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

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1. Capitol’s Dave Dexter, the same man who passed on the Beatles four times!

2. Robert Freeman.

3. Dezo Hoffmann.

4. George Osaki, head of the Capitol art department.

5. The group’s named was misspelled as “THE BEATTLES.” This is the same misspelling that appeared on the group’s first American single, which was issued by Vee-Jay Records.

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Newseum, Washington, DC Feb. 16, 2014

Inside Media: The Beatles Invade America

“The Beatles are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America”

http://www.newseum.org/programs/2014/0216-inside-media/the-beatles-invade-america.html

Guest: Bruce Spizer
Date: Sunday, February 16, 2014 at 2:30 PM
Location: Knight TV Studio
Note: A book signing will follow the event.

On the 50th anniversary of the arrival of The Beatles in the United States, Beatles historian Bruce Spizer talks about their historic first trip here and the evolution of Beatlemania.

Considered one of the world’s leading experts on The Beatles, Spizer has written eight books on the group, including “The Beatles are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.”

Through images, music and interview clips, Spizer chronicles The Beatles’ rise in the United States and discusses what prompted TV host Ed Sullivan to book them on his popular variety show.

Spizer tells how Beatlemania was ignited by CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, a 15-year-old girl from Silver Spring, Md., and a disc jockey at a Washington, D.C., radio station.

A book signing will follow the event.

The program is free with regular paid admission. Seating is on a space-available basis.

The Newseum — a 250,000-square-foot museum of news — offers visitors an experience that blends five centuries of news history with up-to-the-second technology and hands-on exhibits.

The Newseum is located at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, N.W., Washington, D.C., on America’s Main Street between the White House and the U.S. Capitol and adjacent to the Smithsonian museums on the National Mall.

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50 Years Ago: BEATLES BEGIN THREE-WEEK ENGAGEMENT IN PARIS

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On the evening of Tuesday, January 14, 1964, John, Paul and George left London Airport for Paris, France. Ringo followed the next day. The group was there for a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre. All of the artists for the shows had a rehearsal at Cinema Cyrano on Wednesday. The bill included a popular French female singer and American folk singer/guitarist Trini Lopez, who burst upon the scene six months earlier with his worldwide hit If I Had A Hammer, as well as acrobats and jugglers. The schedule called for two (and occasionally three) shows on 18 days, with only two days off. The Beatles normal set included From Me To You, Roll Over Beethoven, She Loves You, This Boy, Boys, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Twist And Shout and Long Tall Sally.

The opening show on Wednesday, January 16, did not go well for the Beatles. The audience was not full of young admiring screaming female fans, but rather a mix of elite older Parisians and young males. After months of enthusiastic crowds, the sedate greeting from the French was an unpleasant, sobering experience. To make matters worse, the stage wiring at the Olympia was insufficient to support the Beatles powerful amplifiers, causing them to lose power three times. The crowd thought the Beatles equipment was to blame. George suspected sabotage.

After the shows, the group’s spirits were low. But that soon changed when Brian received a cable from New York stating that the upcoming issue of an American music trade magazine was going to list a Beatles song as the number one single in its chart listing of the top 100 hits. To Brian and the Beatles, this was the big payoff. They had the number one record in the biggest record market. They had accomplished something that only a few British artists had done before. The Beatles had a number one record in America.

The news touched off an all-night celebration that included piggyback rides and mass consumption of alcoholic beverages. Paul described the proceedings as “very high hysterics.” Brian remembered asking John, “There can be nothing more important than this, can there?” But there were more important things to come.

This week’s questions cover the Beatles first week in Paris.

  1. Of the songs performed by the Beatles at the Olympia Theatre (see first paragraph above), which is the only one the boys did not perform at their first U.S. concert? (Hint: The answer is in the question.)
  2. What brand of amplifiers did the Beatles use at the Olympia Theatre that caused the power to go out?
  3. What American music trade magazine was the first to list a Beatles song at number one?
  4. What was the first Beatles song to top the American charts?
  5. Who was the female French singer on the bill with the Beatles at the Olympia Theatre in Paris?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

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1. All of the songs performed by the Beatles at the Olympia Theatre were included in the group’s first U.S. concert except for Boys, which was replaced with another song having a Ringo lead vocal, I Wanna Be Your Man.

2. The Beatles used Vox amplifiers.

3. Cash Box was the first American music trade magazine to list a Beatles song at number one.

4. The first Beatles song to top the American charts was I Want To Hold Your Hand.

5. The female French singer on the bill with the Beatles at the Olympia Theatre in Paris was Sylvie Vartan, shown below fiddling with Paul’s bass and sitting on one of the group’s power-draining Vox amplifiers.

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50 Years Ago: FIRST U.S. ALBUM RELEASED

BEATLES HAVE BUSY WEEK IN LONDON WHILE FIRST U.S. ALBUM RELEASED AT WEEK’S END

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The Brian Epstein production The Beatles Christmas Show continued with evening performances at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park, London, from January 6 – 11, 1964. (See posts from the past two weeks for the details.)

On January 7, the Beatles spent the afternoon at the Playhouse Theatre recording seven songs for broadcast on the BBC radio program Saturday Club on February 15, 1964. The group performed All My Loving, Money, The Hippy Hippy Shake, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Roll Over Beethoven, Johnny B Goode and I Wanna Be Your Man.

On Sunday, January 12, the group was once again featured on the popular television program Val Parnell’s Sunday Night At The London Palladium. The Beatles performed I Want To Hold Your Hand, This Boy, All My Loving, Money and Twist And Shout.

Meanwhile, across the Pond, Vee-Jay Records finally issued what would be the first Beatles album released in America. Although the Chicago-based label had planned on issuing Introducing The Beatles in the summer of 1963, financial difficulties forced the company to cancel all of its summer releases. When a new management team was brought in, many of the previously planned albums, including Introducing The Beatles, were permanently cancelled. On August 8, 1963, EMI notified Vee-Jay that they were to immediately cease manufacture and distribution of all Beatles records due to non-payment of royalties. And so, the Beatles tenure at Vee-Jay seemed to be at an end.

But when Capitol began its big promotion of the Beatles in late 1963, Vee-Jay realized that there was money to be made from releasing Beatles records, even if the company’s legal right to do so was somewhat dubious. At a Board of Directors meeting held on January 7, the company’s president and comptroller both recognized that releasing a Beatles album was a calculated risk, but one worth taking as the company desperately needed the cash the record would generate. Executive Vice-President Jay Lasker reported that 30,000 albums could be distributed by January 10. The company began taking orders for the album the day following the meeting on January 8. On January 10, company President Randy Wood sent a telegram to record distributors, describing the album as a “monster” and stating “This is best seller since Presley days.” Copies of the album began showing up in stores on or shortly after Friday, January 10.

 

This week’s questions cover the first Beatles album released in America.

  1. From which British album did all of the songs on Introducing The Beatles come from?
  2. Of the 12 songs on Introducing The Beatles as originally issued, how many had previously appeared on American 45-RPM discs? Bonus: Name the songs.
  3. Of the 12 songs on Introducing The Beatles as originally issued, how many would later be issued on American 45-RPM discs? Bonus: Name the songs.
  4. Who took the photograph used on the cover for Introducing The Beatles?
  5. What were the three different back cover designs used for Introducing The Beatles upon its initial release?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. All of the songs on Introducing The Beatles were from the U.K. album Please Please Me.

2. Although several of the songs on Introducing The Beatles would later appear on American 45-RPM discs, at the time of the album’s release only one track had been previously issued on a single. The song was I Saw Her Standing There, which was released as the B-side of Capitol’s I Want To Hold Your Hand  single on December 26, 1963.

3. Ten of the songs on Introducing The Beatles would later appear on American 45-RPM discs. Twist And Shout and There’s A Place were released on the single Tollie 9001. (Tollie was a Vee-Jay subsidiary). Do You Want To Know A Secret was the A-side to the single Vee-Jay 587; Misery, A Taste Of Honey and Anna were on the Vee-Jay EP Souvenir Of Their Visit To America (VJEP 1-903). (The EP also included Ask Me Why, which was on the revised version of the Introducing The Beatles album.) Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You were released on the single Tollie 9008. Misery was the B-side to Roll Over Beethoven on the Capitol Star Line single 6065. Boys as the A-side on the Capitol Star Line single 6065. So, out of the 12 songs on the original version of Introducing The Beatles, all but Baby It’s You were issued on 45-RPM discs in America during 1964 and 1965.

4. The photo used on the front cover to Introducing The Beatles was taken by Angus McBean. Vee-Jay flipped the negative, so the image on the cover is reversed.

5. The first back cover for Introducing The Beatles showed the images of 25 other albums available on Vee-Jay. This was actually one side of an inner sleeve used by Vee-Jay at the time the album was issued. This back cover is known as the Ad Back cover. After running out of Ad Back slicks, some covers were constructed with a blank white back. This cover is known as the Blank Back. Nearly all of the albums came with a back cover that merely listed the songs appearing on the album. This cover is often described as the Titles on Back cover. Unfortunately for Vee-Jay, they had misplaced the liner notes for the album sent to them by EMI, so they cut corners on the back cover’s design to save time and get the album in stores as quickly as possible.

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50 Years Ago: I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND GETS SATURATION RADIO AIR PLAY

BEATLES CONTINUE WITH THEIR OWN CHRISTMAS SHOW IN LONDON AND APPEAR ON AMERICAN TELEVISION WHILE I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND GETS SATURATION RADIO AIR PLAY IN NEW YORK

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The Brian Epstein production The Beatles Christmas Show continued with performances at the Astoria Cinema in Finsbury Park, London. The show consisted of musical performances by the Beatles, other Brian Epstein-managed Liverpool acts (Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas, Cilla Black, Tommy Quickly and the Fourmost), Australian singer/entertainer Rolf Harris and the satirical pop group Barron Knights with Duke D’Mond, as well as comedy and pantomime sketches, some of which the Beatles took part in. The Beatles set for the show consisted of Roll Over Beethoven, All My Loving, This Boy, I Wanna Be Your Man, She Loves You, Till There Was You, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Money and Twist And Shout. On opening night, there was only one performance.

After taking off Sunday, December 29, there were two performances on December 30 and one on New Year’s Eve. The two-a-days resumed for the first four days of the new year (1964) before having another day off on Sunday, January 5.

Meanwhile, across the Pond, the Capitol single I Want To Hold Your Hand was getting saturation radio air play in New York. WMCA listed the single as a “Sure Shot” on its January 1, 1964 survey. WABC charted the song at 35 on its December 31, 1963 survey. The record was also in heavy rotation in other markets across America. This air play translated to sales, with Capitol reporting that their Beatles single had sold 250,000 copies during its first three days of release.

Vee-Jay Records issued a “new” Beatles single featuring the A-sides of its previous two singles, Please Please Me and From Me To You. Although neither single had significant sales in 1963, Vee-Jay was confident that the interest generated in the Beatles by the Capitol single and Capitol’s Beatles Campaign would ensure a hit Beatles single for Vee-Jay. The disc was packaged with a picture sleeve. Swan Records began receiving substantial orders for its She Loves You single, which had made little impact when originally issued on September 16, 1963. The reissued single was packaged with an attractive picture sleeve.

On Friday evening, January 3, 1964, Americans watching The Jack Parr Show heard the announcer read the guest list for the program, which included “from London, a special film appearance of the sensational rock ’n’ rollers, the Beatles.” After completing his monolog, Paar began his introduction of the Beatles. Paar told viewers that he had never had a rock ’n’ roll act on his show, but that he was “interested in the Beatles as a psychological, sociological phenomenon.” Paar showed film of girls screaming with From Me To You barely audible in the background. During the film, he gave a running commentary, which was often interrupted by laughter from the studio audience. Paar remained silent during the filmed performance of She Loves You, which ended with shots of screaming girls. After his studio audience politely applauded, Paar deadpanned, “It’s nice to know that England has finally risen to our cultural level.” After laughs from the studio audience, Paar informed his viewers that “Ed Sullivan’s going to have the Beatles on live in February.” Apparently feeling the need to justify his broadcast of the Beatles to his sophisticated followers, Paar explained that “our interest was just showing a more adult audience that usually follows my work, what’s going on in England.”

Jack Gould wrote a review of The Jack Paar Program performance for The New York Times. Gould reported that the group “offered a number apparently titled ‘With a Love Like That, You Know You Should Be Bad.’ Also appended were ‘yeah, yeah, yeah’ in a steady beat and then a ‘whooooooo,’ the standard international cue to which all young women in a studio audience mechanically respond with ecstatic approval.” He went on to predict that although the group’s sound might “find favor among indigenous teenagers, it would not seem quite so likely that the accompanying fever known as Beatlemania will also be successfully exported. On this side of the Atlantic it is dated stuff. Hysterical squeals emanating from developing femininity really went out coincidental with the payola scandal and Presley’s military service.”

America would quickly learn that Gould’s prediction that Beatlemania would not catch on in America was even more of a miscalculation that the Bay of Pigs invasion and the U.S.S.R. sending missiles into Cuba. Paar’s recollections of having the Beatles on his show are on You Tube.

This week’s questions cover Beatles events happening in America in early 1964.

  1. Which American radio station offered as prizes a custom picture sleeve for I Want To Hold Your Hand featuring its disc jockeys on one side and the Beatles on the other?
  2. What were contestants instructed to do in order to win a custom picture sleeve?
  3. What are the correct lyrics to the “song title” referred to in Jack Gould’s review of the Beatles appearance on The Jack Paar Show that ran in The New York Times?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

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1. WMCA distributed as prizes 1,000 custom picture sleeves for I Want To Hold Your Hand featuring its disc jockeys on one side (shown above) and the Beatles on the other. The two grand prize winners also got $57. Today, the sleeve is worth over 100 times that amount, with near mint copies valued at $7,500.

2. Contestants in the WMCA Beatles contest were instructed to draw Beatles wigs on photos of their friends or photos taken from newspapers. The station received 86,000 entries to its Beatles wig contest.

3. The song that Jack Gould thought was titled “With a Love Like That, You Know You Should Be Bad” was, of course, She Loves You. The correct lyric is “With a love like that, you know you should be glad.”

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