Tag Archives: Beatles

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50 Years Ago: A Rare Beatles Stage Show Flop

BEATLES UPSTAGED AT EMBASSY CINEMA SHOW

On December 2, 1962, the Beatles passed on their usual Cavern Club Sunday night show to appear on a multi-artist bill at the Embassy Cinema in Peterborough, Northants. Although the Beatles had a new record out and were creating a buzz in the north of England, they were not the headline act. Most in the audience were there to see a pop singer who, at the time, had twice topped the charts with singles issued on EMI’s Columbia label. Neither the audience nor the critics were impressed by the four young lads from Liverpool, as evidenced by the brutal review written by Lyndon Whittaker.

Whittaker began by saying that “The Exciting Beatles” failed to excite him. He was particularly hard on poor Ringo, commenting that “The drummer apparently thought that his job was to lead, not to provide rhythm” and that he “made far too much noise.” Whittaker was obviously not a fan of rock ’n’ roll or loud music. He stated that Twist And Shout “sounded as though everyone was trying to make more noise than the others.” He thought that the mellow show tune A Taste Of Honey was much better and that their single Love Me Do was “tolerable.”

Although the poor reception at this Sunday concert appearance was quite sobering for the Beatles, the following week was a return to the now familiar grind of uplifting television and club appearances. On Monday, December 3, the group mined Love Me Do for the ITV show Discs A Gogo, which was broadcast regionally from Bristol, Somerset. The following day they made their London television debut on the ITV show Tuesday Rendezvous, this time lip syncing Love Me Do and part of P.S. I Love You.

On Wednesday, the group played both lunchtime and evening shows at the Cavern. The next night they played at Club Django, a jazz venue in Southport, Lancashire. On Friday, the Beatles played a lunchtime show at the Cavern and headlined a seven-act bill at the Tower Ballroom in New Brighton, Wallasey. After a Saturday appearance at the Oasis Club in Manchester, the Beatles returned to the friendly confines of the Cavern for their usual Sunday night gig. By then, the previous Sunday night failure at the Embassy Cinema was long forgotten.

Today’s trivia questions deal with the pop singer who upstaged the Beatles at the Embassy Cinema.

1. Who was the pop singer who upstaged the Beatles on a multi-artist bill at the Embassy Cinema on December 2, 1962?

2. What song recorded by the artist referred to above was performed by the Beatles and is on the Live! At The Star-Club LP?

3. What were the two songs recorded by the artist referred to above that topped the U.K. charts in 1962?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

Frank Ifield headlined a December 2, 1962, concert at the Embassy Cinema in Peterborough, Northants, during which he upstaged the Beatles. Ifield performed his number one hit I’ll Remember You, which became part of the Beatles extended set list and appears on the Live! At The Star-Club LP recorded later that month during the Beatles final club appearance in Hamburg, Germany. Ifield’s two number one U.K. hits from 1962 were I’ll Remember You and Lovesick Blues. He would have two more U.K. chart toppers in 1963.

The program from the Frank Ifield concert of December 2, 1962. The Beatles were one of the featured acts. A page inside had one of the first publicity shots taken of the group after Ringo joined.

 

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50 Years Ago: The Beatles Record their Second Single

The relative success of the Beatles first disc, Love Me Do, earned the group a session to record a second single, which took place at Abbey Road on November 26, 1962. The result was a powerful platter containing Please Please Me and Ask Me Why.

The Beatles had previously rehearsed and auditioned Please Please Me for George Martin at Abbey Road on the afternoon of September 4, 1962, prior to the group’s first proper recording session. The song sounded drastically different from what would become their first big hit. According to Martin, Please Please Me was “a dreary song” which “was like a Roy Orbison number, very slow, bluesy vocals.” He suggested that the group rearrange the song by speeding up the tempo and working out tight vocal harmonies.

The group returned to Abbey Road on September 11. After recording P.S. I Love You and a remake of Love Me Do with Andy White on drums, there was time available to begin work on a third song. Following Martin’s advice from the week before, the band, with Andy White still on drums, performed Please Please Me at a quicker pace, but failed to nail it down. This early version of the song, which made its debut on Anthology 1, is interesting, but suffers in comparison to the remake the group would later record. Conspicuously absent from this version is John’s harmonica. In addition, John and Paul’s harmonies are not as effective.

Paul described the initial recording of the song in the February 23, 1963, Melody Maker. “After we had recorded Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You, we played Please Please Me over to recording manager George Martin. It was a bit fussy and he told us to smooth it out a bit. Simplify it. We did — and the results speak for itself.”

John told a similar story in the March 8, 1963, NME. “Our recording manager, George Martin, thought our arrangement was fussy, so we tried to make it simpler. We were getting very tired, though, and we just couldn’t seem to get it right. We’re conscientious about our work and we don’t like to rush things. In the following weeks we went over it again and again. We changed the tempo a little. We altered the words slightly. And we went over the idea of featuring the harmonica, just as we’d done on Love Me Do. By the time the session came around we were so happy with the result, we couldn’t get it recorded fast enough.”

The Beatles got their chance to record the song on November 26, 1962. Unlike the prior September sessions for their first single, the group was recorded on twin-track tape instead of mono (one track tape). Rather than first obtaining an acceptable instrumental backing for overdubbing of vocals, the group did the songs live, simultaneously playing their instruments and singing as the tape rolled. All of the instruments were recorded on one track and the vocals on the other. This enabled George Martin and the engineers to achieve a proper balance of the vocals and instrumental backing. This technique would be used up until the recording of the group’s fifth single, I Want To Hold Your Hand, in October, 1963.

After an hour-long rehearsal, the Beatles began work on a remake of Please Please Me. This time the group perfected the song. It was completed in 18 takes, including harmonica overdubs by John. Four days later, George Martin edited the finished master from an unknown number of takes, correcting a vocal flub in the third verse. The song was then mixed for mono.

Please Please Me is an exciting rocker propelled by superb drumming from Ringo. John and Paul share lead vocals backed by George on the chorus and bridge. Unlike the first single, this time both John and George play electric guitars, with John on his Rickenbacker Capri and George on his Gretsch Duo-Jet. Paul plays his Hofner bass. After this recording, Martin knew there would be no need for a session drummer for the band. Speaking from the control room of Studio Two, Martin confidently told the group, “Boys, I’ve just heard your first number one record. Come up and have a listen.”

After hearing the playback and breaking for tea, the band returned to Studio Two to record Ask Me Why. The Beatles had recorded the song at their first visit to Abbey Road on June 6, 1962, although tape of that performance no longer exists. Ask Me Why was part of the group’s stage show at that time, evidenced by their recording of the song before a live audience at the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester on June 11, 1962. This performance was broadcast four days later on the BBC program Here We Go and appears on the bootleg collection The Complete BBC Sessions. The arrangement is very similar to that of the later recorded single, but features Pete Best on drums since it was performed prior to his being replaced by Ringo. The group also ran through the song during their September 4, 1962, pre-recording rehearsal at Abbey Road.

The group’s familiarity with Ask Me Why facilitated its quick recording, with the sixth and final take being the master. John sings the lead vocal, backed by Paul and George. The song features John on Rickenbacker Capri, George on Gretsch Duo-Jet, Paul on Hofner bass and Ringo on drums, providing a Latin beat. The song was mixed for mono on November 30.

Six weeks later, the Beatles second single was in the stores. It hit the charts the following week, and in a little over a month, Please Please Me became the Beatles first number one single. But that’s a story for another time. 

Today’s trivia questions pertain to the Beatles second single, Please Please Me, and the Abbey Road session during which it was recorded.

1. What song, recorded by a famous American crooner, was the inspiration behind Please Please Me?

2. Who was the American crooner who recorded the song that inspired John to write Please Please Me?

3. In addition to Please Please Me and Ask Me Why, what other Lennon-McCartney song was recorded at the Beatles November 26, 1962 session for their second single?

4. What artist recorded and released the song referred to in question 3, above?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

John was inspired to write Please Please Me by his memories of his mother Julia singing a song titled Please. American crooner Bing Crosby’s recording of Please topped the U.S. charts for six weeks in 1932. John was impressed with the word-play in the song’s lyrics, particularly the line, “Please lend your ears to my pleas.” He took it one step further with the line “please please me,” which first uses the word “please” as a request and then as a verb meaning “to pleasure.” John envisioned the song as a slow ballad in the style of Roy Orbison.

Having studio time remaining after recording the two songs required for the next single, Please Please Me and Ask Me Why, the group went to work on a tune written by Paul, Tip Of My Tongue. Although George Martin told Mersey Beat it was a great number, he added, “we’ll have to spend a bit of time giving it a new arrangement. I’m not too happy with it the way it is.” Realizing that the song did not measure up to their standards, it was later given to Tommy Quickly, who was also managed by Brian Epstein. When released as a single in the summer of 1963, Quickly’s version of the song received little attention and was quickly forgotten.

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50 Years Ago: Another full week of concert appearances for the Beatles

The third full week of November 1962 was another full week of concert appearances for the Beatles. After playing a night show at the Cavern on Sunday, November 18, the Beatles returned to the Matthew Street club for a lunchtime engagement the following day. That evening they played two shows in Staffordshire (85 miles from Liverpool), first at the Smethwick Baths Ballroom and then at the Adelphi Ballroom. On Tuesday, they played two gigs at Floral Hall in Southport. Wednesday it was back at the Cavern for lunchtime and evening shows. On Thursday, the Beatles played the Majestic Ballroom in Birkenhead.

The weekend began with a mid-day London audition for BBC TV held at the St. James’ Church Hall on November 23. The Beatles played for ten minutes. The BBC was not overly impressed, failing to book the group for a TV appearance until several months later after the “Please Please Me” single topped the charts. That evening, the Beatles shared the bill with several other acts at a concert held at the Tower Ballroom. Saturday evening was spent in Wales at the Royal Lido Ballroom in Prestatyn, Flintshire. The weekend ended the same way the previous week did, with an evening show at the Cavern Club on Sunday, November 25.

With the new James Bond film tracking the success of the first movie, Dr. No, from 50 years ago, this week’s trivia questions return to the topic of Bond, James Bond.

1. In addition to such memorable names as Pussy Galore and Holly Goodhead, what character in a James Bond film has a name that is taken from the title of a Beatles song? Bonus: Name the film and the actress who played the character.

2. What song from a James Bond film title sequence nearly has the same title as a Beatles song? Bonus: Name the film and the artist who recorded the song.

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

The name of MI6 Agent Strawberry Fields comes from the Beatles song Strawberry Fields Forever. She was played by actress Gemma Arterton in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace. Unfortunately, Strawberry Fields does not last forever in Bond lore. After sleeping with Bond, she meets an untimely death in the film, being covered in crude oil and left naked on a bed in a visual tribute to the third James Bond film, Goldfinger, in which Jill Masterson was found dead on a bed naked and covered in gold paint.

The title sequence song from the 2006 James Bond reboot film was You Know My Name, which is a great title for a theme song re-introducing James Bond. The song’s title is nearly the same as that of the Beatles song You Know My Name (Look Up The Number). The song is from the film Casino Royale and performed by Chris Cornell.

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Beatles and Beach Boys 50th Anniversaries

While the Beatles were at Hamburg’s Star-Club,
the Beach Boys were on a Surfin’ Safari

 

The Beatles wrapped up their two-week engagement at the Star-Club in Hamburg on November 14, 1962, and were about to start another round of club dates in Liverpool and other towns in the north of England. And while America was more than a year away from its first blast of Beatlemania, the country was beginning to catch a wave with the Beach Boys from sunny California.

The Beach Boys had signed with the Beatles future U.S. record company, Capitol Records, in the spring of 1962. Their first single, Surfin’ Safari b/w 409, was released on June 4, 1962. Surfin’ Safari got to number 14 on the charts, with the B-side, 409, stalling at 76. Based on the success of the single, Capitol recorded an album, which was released on October 1, 1962, four days ahead of the Beatles debut single in the U.K., Love Me Do. The Beach Boys album was named Surfin’ Safari to cash in on the popularity of the hit single of the same name. The album reached a respectable 32 on the charts.

During 1963, while the Beatles first three single releases flopped in America, the Beach Boys had three top ten singles, Surfin’ USA (#3), Surfer Girl (#7) and Be True To Your School (#6). Even the B-sides to these singles were hits. The first two singles, as was the case with their debut Capitol disc, had car songs on the B-side, Shut Down (#23) and Little Deuce Coup (#15). The third 1963 disc had the introspective In My Room (#23) on its flip side.

Capitol released three top ten Beach Boys albums in 1963, Surfin’ USA (#2), Surfer Girl (#7) and Little Deuce Coup (#4). This pattern of issuing multiple albums in a single year prepared the label for its 1964 release schedule for the Beatles, which included four studio albums and a documentary 2-LP set.

Although the Beach Boys and the Beatles both enjoyed huge success in 1964 – 1966, the Beatles were the more popular of the two groups, replacing the Four Seasons as the Beach Boys biggest rivals. It was a friendly rivalry, with Beatles and the Beach Boys pushing each other to greater musical heights.

Today’s trivia questions pertain to connections between the Beatles and the Beach Boys, who are both celebrating their 50th anniversaries of their first record releases this year.

Q: What Beatles song has Beach Boys style vocals and an assist in the writing of the lyrics from a Beach Boy?

Q: Which Beach Boy was with the Beatles in India when they studied with the Maharishi?

Q: What Beatles album inspired Beach Boy Brian Wilson to write and produce Pet Sounds?

Q: What Beach Boys album influenced Sgt. Pepper?

Q:  What Beach Boys song did Paul McCartney once call the greatest love song ever written?

Q: What five songs have been recorded and released by both the Beatles and the Beach Boys?

Q: What Chuck Berry song appears on the Beatles Live At The BBC album and on The Beach Boys Concert LP?

Q: What Beatles song did the Beach Boys record, but not release?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

Back In The USSR was written by Paul while the Beatles were in Rishikesh, India, studying with the Maharishi. The song has Beach Boys style vocals and a lyrical assist from Beach Boy Mike Love, who suggested that Paul add the bit about the Ukraine and Moscow girls, giving the lyrics a touch of the Beach Boys’ hit single California Girls.

  

The Beatles album Rubber Soul inspired Beach Boy Brian Wilson to write and produce Pet Sounds, which influenced the Beatles LP Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Paul has called the Beach Boys song God Only Knows one of the greatest love songs ever written.

The Beach Boys recorded and released five songs previously issued on Beatles albums. I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why and You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away were on The Beach Boys Party! LP. The Chuck Berry song Rock ’N’ Roll Music is on 15 Big Ones. With A Little Help From My Friends was issued in 1983 on the Beach Boys Rarities LP.

The Chuck Berry song Johnny B. Goode appears on both the Beatles Live At The BBC album and on The Beach Boys Concert LP.

The Beach Boys recorded the Beatles song Ticket To Ride during the sessions for The Beach Boys Party! LP. It was not included on the album.

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50 years ago: The Beatles and James Bond

The Beatles were in Hamburg and James Bond was in the clutches of Dr. No on Crab Tree Island

As detailed in last week’s edition, the Beatles were playing nightly at the Star-Club in Hamburg from November 1 – 14, 1962. During this time, people back in Merry Old England were enjoying the first James Bond film, “Dr. No.” In fact, the first James Bond film made its world-wide premier in London on October 5, 1962, the same day that the first Beatles single, “Love Me Do,” was released!

This week’s trivia questions pertain to other connections between the Beatles and James Bond.

1. Which Beatles movie contains gimmicks and music mimicking the James Bond craze?

2. Name the three James Bond theme songs produced by Beatles producer George Martin, along with the artist who sang each song.

3. In the film “Goldfinger,” what remark does James Bond make about the Beatles when discussing the proper temperature for drinking Dom Perignon champagne?

4. The James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” has two connections to Ringo and one connection to Paul. Can you describe them? Hint: Two of the connections are linked to the theme song for the film, “Nobody Does It Better.”

5. Actor Richard Vernon appears in both a James Bond movie and a Beatles film. Name the two movies and the roles he played.

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. The Beatles second film, “Help!,” was influenced by the James Bond craze. After confronting the Beatles as they leave their apartment, Klang and Bhuta prepare to follow the Fab Four’s car in a Harrods truck that drops tacks into the street. This “chase scene” parodies the classic scene in “Goldfinger” when the back of James Bond’s Aston Martin car releases smoke and oil slicks in front of the cars in pursuit. The music for this scene in “Help!” is a variation of the “James Bond Theme.” A portion of this music was used to open the Capitol Records soundtrack album for “Help!”

2. George Martin produced the following James Bond theme songs: “From Russia With Love” by Matt Monro, “Goldfinger” by Shirley Bassey and “Live And Let Die” by Wings. Martin also produced the score for the film soundtrack for “Live And let Die.” The book “The Beatles Solo on Apple Records” tells the fascinating and humorous story about how Paul was asked to write the theme song for “Live And Let Die” and the meeting between George Martin and film producer Harry Saltzman during which Saltzman asked Martin who they should get to sing the title song! Saltzman, who had used singers such as Matt Monro, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and Nancy Sinatra for prior Bond films, had female vocalists like Thelma Houston and Aretha Franklin in mind. When Martin explained that they would not get the song unless they used Paul’s recording, Saltzman consented after realizing that having an ex-Beatle sing the theme song could be a plus.

3. After noticing that a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne had lost its chill, James Bond climbs out of bed to get a fresh bottle from the hotel suite refrigerator. He explains to his beautiful female companion, Jill Masterson, “My dear girl, there are some things that just aren’t done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ’53 above the temperature of 38 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s just as bad as listening to the Beatles without earmuffs!” Shortly after insulting the Beatles, Bond was knocked unconscious by Goldfinger’s Korean henchman, Odd-Job. Although he recovered, the girl was painted gold from head to toe, causing her to suffocate from lack of oxygen passing through her skin.

4. The lead Bond Girl in “The Spy Who Loved Me” was Barbara Bach, who later married Ringo. The theme song for the film, “Nobody Does It Better” (performed by Carly Simon), was produced by Richard Perry, who produced the albums “Ringo” and “Goodnight Vienna” for Ringo. Finally, the guitar solo in the song was played by Laurence Juber, who later was a member of Wings with Paul McCartney.

5. Actor Richard Vernon appears in the James Bond film “Goldfinger” as Colonel Smithers and as the Man on the Train in “A Hard Day’s Night.” He is the stuffy businessman who is annoyed by the Beatles playing the radio and opening the train compartment window for fresh air. He’s the one who says “I fought the war for your sort.”

Thanks to Beatle Tom Frangione for Help! with this week’s trivia

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50 Years Ago: Beatles leave for Hamburg

The Beatles leave for a return appearance at the Star-Club

On October 30, 1962, the Beatles flew to Hamburg for a return appearance at the Star-Club. The group was booked for a 14-night engagement. While there, the group shared the bill with Little Richard. During this stay in Hamburg, they spent time hanging out with the organist in Little Richard’s band. Although one of the Beatles asked him one night to join the group on stage, the organist declined because he was worried that doing so would anger Little Richard.

Today’s trivia is related to the Beatles October 1962 appearance at the Star-Club and their friendship with the organist in Little Richard’s band.

Who was the organ player in Little Richard’s band that the Beatles spent time hanging out with in Hamburg?

Which Beatle asked the organ player in Little Richard’s band to join the group on stage at the Star-Club?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

Billy Preston was the organist in Little Richard’s band. The Beatles spent time hanging out with Preston during their November 1962 appearance at the Star Club. George asked Preston to join the Beatles on stage, but he refused because he did not want to upset Little Richard. Six years later, George would ask Preston to play keyboards with the Beatles during the group’s January 1969 “Get Back” sessions. This time, Preston accepted and became the first and only musician to be credited on the record label of a Beatles single (“Get Back” b/w “Don’t Let Me Down”). Towards the end of the sessions, Preston played electric piano with the Beatles during the January 30, 1969 rooftop concert. He would soon be signed to Apple Records, releasing two albums (produced by George) and four singles. Preston also played keyboards on solo recordings by George, John and Ringo. In 1971, George asked Preston to participate in the Concert for Bangla Desh, during which he took the spotlight for “That’s The Way God Planned It.”

Although Billy Preston declined George’s invitation to play with the Beatles at the Star-Club in 1962, he later accepted George’s requests for him to play with the Beatles for their final concert appearance on the rooftop of Apple headquarters on January 30, 1969, and to play with an all star cast for the Concert for Bangla Desh at Madison Square Garden on August 1, 1971.

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50 Years Ago: Beatles played at Queen’s Hall

Another busy week for the Beatles

On Monday, October 22, 1962, the Beatles played at Queen’s Hall in Windes. The show was put together by Brian Epstein’s NEMS Enterprises and featured other acts, including a group with Pete Best on drums. This was followed by a rare two-day break from preforming.

On Thursday, October 25, the group traveled to the Playhouse Theatre in Manchester to record songs for the BBC radio show “Here We Go.” Four songs were recorded before a live audience, including two written by John and Paul, a show tune that would later be recorded for an album and a fourth that was a current hit by an American artist that the Beatles would later tour with. The first three songs were broadcast the following evening. The fourth was cut from the program due to time constraints.

Friday, October 26, was typical on the hectic schedule the Beatles faced at the time. The group performed a lunchtime show at the Cavern, was able to hear their performance on the BBC’s “Here We Go” program at 5:00 pm and traveled 30 miles for an evening concert at the Public Hall on Lune Street in Preston, Lancashire.

This, of course, was followed by evening concerts on Saturday and Sunday, October 27 and 28. The Saturday show was at Hulme Hall, Port Sunlight, Birkenhead. On Sunday, the Beatles were on the bill as part of an eight-act NEMS concert featuring an American R&B artist idolized by the group. The show was at Liverpool’s top theatre, the Empire.

This week’s trivia questions cover this fabulous week for the Beatles.

1. What group did Pete best join shortly after being fired by the Beatles?

2. What two original Lennon-McCartney songs did the Beatles perform for the October 26, 1962 BBC radio program “Here We Go”?

3. What show tune, later recorded for an album, did the Beatles perform for the October 26, 1962 BBC radio program “Here We Go”?

4. What song, then a current hit by an American artist that the Beatles would later tour with, did the Beatles record for the October 26, 1962 BBC radio program “Here We Go” that was not broadcast?

5. What American R&B singer, idolized by the Beatles, headlined the October 28, 1962 NEMS concert at the Empire Theatre that also featured the Beatles?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

1. A couple of weeks after being fired by the Beatles, Pete best joined Lee Curtis & the All-Stars. Curtis would soon part from the group, which was re-named Pete Best & the All-Stars. The group was later signed by Decca Records, who had previously turned down Pete’s previous group, the Beatles.

2. On the October 26, 1962 BBC radio program “Here We Go” the Beatles performed both sides of their recently released single, “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.”

3. On the October 26, 1962 BBC radio program “Here We Go” the Beatles performed the show tune “A Taste Of Honey,” which would be recorded in a few months at Abbey Road Studios for the group’s debut album, “Please Please Me.”

4. Although recorded for the October 26, 1962 BBC radio program “Here We Go,” the Beatles performance of Tommy Roe’s “Sheila” was not broadcast.

5. The October 28, 1962 NEMS concert at the Empire Theatre was headlined by Little Richard. Although idolized by the group, the Beatles would only record one of his songs, “Long Tall Sally,” at Abbey Road Studios.

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50 Years Ago: The Beatles First Television Appearance

The Beatles make their first television appearance

By mid-October 1962, the Beatles first single had been in the stores for less than two weeks. At that time, the record was not getting any radio airplay in the UK. British radio in the early sixties was limited to the BBC, which broadcast on three national radio stations. Of these, only Light Programme had some shows that featured pop music, but the station rarely played records due to needletime restrictions limiting the amount of music that could be played from records. This meant that bands could not count on radio to play their records to generate interest. Records sales came from playing the clubs and getting the word out through newspapers, music magazines and television.

The Beatles first television appearance was on October 17, 1962. The group played live on Granada’s “People And Places,” which was a magazine-style program that was broadcast in the northern part of England. The band drove to Manchester for the show, which originated from Granada TV Centre on Quay Street. They rehearsed twice that afternoon for the show, which ran from 6:35 to 7:00 pm. The Beatles played two songs.

In keeping with their hectic performance schedule, the group had played a lunchtime concert earlier in the day and would leave the studio after the show to head for an evening concert.

Today’s trivia questions are about this historic day for the Beatles.

What two songs did the Beatles play during their first television appearance on October 17, 1962?
At what venue did the Beatles play that afternoon and at what venue did the Beatles play that evening after the show?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

 

 

As one would expect, the Beatles promoted the A-side of their single, “Love Me Do.” In addition, the group played one of their concert favorites, “Some Other Guy.” That song was recorded by Richie Barrett, who co-wrote the song with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Although the song was not a hit, it was included in the repertoire of several Liverpool bands. Granada TV had previously filmed the Beatles playing “Some Other Guy” at the Cavern Club on August 22, 1962, intended for inclusion on the program “Know The North.” Granada decided against using the filmed performance due to its poor quality brought about by the dark and humid conditions in the Cavern. After the Beatles rise to fame, Granada broadcast the performance on November 6, 1963. As for the group’s other activities on the day of their first television appearance, the Beatles played a lunchtime concert and an evening concert at the Cavern Club.

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Happy Birthday John

John Lennon celebrated his 22nd birthday

On October 9, 1962, John Lennon celebrated his 22nd birthday. It was a rare “day off” for the Beatles, at least for public performances. While during this time the Beatles often played lunchtime and/or night performances at the Cavern Club and other Liverpool venues on a near daily basis, on this day they had no engagements.

The day was spent in London, where the group had spent the previous day at EMI’s headquarters at Manchester Square. On October 8, 1962, the Beatles were taped before an audience of about 100 people in one of the building’s small studios miming both sides of their new single, “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.” The group was also interviewed. The taping was for an EMI show titled “The Friday Spectacular,” which was broadcast weekly on Radio Luxembourg. The show featuring the Beatles new single, accompanied by audience applause at the end of each song, along with bits of the interview, was part of the show broadcast on October 12, 1962, from 10:00 – 11:00 pm British time. Because the BBC rarely played records in those days, EMI paid Radio Luxembourg to broadcast the weekly show featuring the latest records by its recording artists.

As for his birthday in London, John and the other Beatles spent the day visiting with music journalists to promote their first single, which was released the previous Friday.

In addition to being John’s birthday, today is the official release date for the remastered version of the Beatles film “Magical Mystery Tour” on DVD and blu-ray disc. The film looks and sounds terrific. Although “Magical Mystery Tour” was brutally attacked in most reviews published shortly after the film’s broadcast in black and white on December 26, 1967, the color film is an interesting period piece that has aged better than one would expect. And, of course, the music videos of the Beatles songs make it all worthwhile even for those who find the story (or lack thereof) unexciting. If you don’t want to engage in repeated viewings of the entire film, you can always go to the menu and select only the songs.

The disc has several cool extra features, including a director’s commentary by Paul McCartney and an informative short film on the making of “Magical Mystery Tour.” There is also a separate interview with Ringo on his acting and a feature titled “Meet The Supporting Cast.” The disc contains alternate videos for the film songs “Your Mother Should Know,” Blue Jay Way” and “The Fool On The Hill,” as well as the black and white promotional film for “Hello Goodbye” that was broadcast by the BBC on “Top Of The Pops.” The latter promo film was put together by the BBC as a substitute for the color promo films produced by the group for “Hello Goodbye” that were deemed unsuitable because they violated the Musician’s Union ban on the television broadcast of mimed performances by musicians and singers.

Other interesting extras include bits that did not make the final cut of the film. “Nat’s Dream” features a scene produced by John with Happy Nat the Rubber Man (actor Nat Jackley) chasing women around an outdoor swimming pool and on the cliffs at Holywell. The segment also includes accordion music by Shirley Evans. “I’m Going In A Field” is a song performed by singer/organist Ivor Cutler. The final clip is a video of Traffic performing their single “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush.”

The disc has three audio options: PCM Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. If your audio/video system is set up for 5.1 surround sound, be sure to go to the audio option menu to select DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. (The default option is PCM Stereo, so if you don’t select 5.1 you will only get stereo.) If you have a blu-ray player or intend to buy one soon, be sure to get the blu-ray disc. This format is the best-sounding home audio format (even superior to Super Audio CD). The film songs sound incredible on 5.1 blu-ray, revealing instruments and subtleties not heard in the stereo or mono mixes. The clarity of the instruments and voices is stunning. (Unfortunately the “Hello Goodbye” video is presented only in stereo.) One can only hope that the Beatles song catalog will one day be released in 5.1 blu-ray audio.

In addition to DVD and blu-ray versions, there is a deluxe box that contains both DVD and blu-ray discs, a special booklet and a reproduction of the original EP, complete with two 45-RPM vinyl discs and the original MMT booklet with photos, a cartoon of the story and lyrics to the songs.

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Today’s trivia pertains to the “Blue Jay Way” video segment from the film “Magical Mystery Tour.”

In the “Blue Jay Way” video from “Magical Mystery Tour,” what instrument does George Harrison pretend to play at the beginning of the song? Bonus: What message is written in chalk close to the left side of George’s body?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

George pretends to play a keyboard instrument, which he has drawn in chalk on the pavement of the street where he is sitting. The chalk message says “2 wives and kid to support.”

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50 Years Ago: EMI Releases First Beatles Single

EMI Releases First Beatles Single

Next Friday, October 5th, 2012, will be an important day for faithful followers of THE BEATLES. Fifty years ago, on October 5, 1962, EMI released the Beatles first single, Love Me Do c/w P.S. I Love You. A review in the October 4 British trade magazine Record Retailer noted the single’s sales potential in a brief review: “A new group from the Liverpool area. Their first record but they already have a strong following and this seems to be the strongest outsider of the week.” The Beatles would not remain “outsiders” for long.

Love Me Do entered the Britain’s Top 50 chart published by Record Retailer at number 49 on October 11, 1962, eventually peaking at number 17, first on December 27, 1962, and then on January 10, 1963. Other British magazines charted the single, with Melody Maker reporting the disc at number 21, New Musical Express at 27, Disc Weekly at 24 and New Record Mirror at 17. The latter publication reviewed the single in its October 13 issue, noting the group’s peculiar name and commenting on the song’s unusual vocal combinations. The reviewer thought the song dragged in the middle and characterized the B-side as poorly arranged.

Not surprisingly, the group’s debut disc was met with more enthusiasm in Liverpool, where the city’s largest evening newspaper, The Liverpool Echo, ran the following review under the headline BIG DATE FOR THE BEATLES:

“Next Friday, October 5th, will be an important day for that talented Liverpool group THE BEATLES and thousands of young Merseysiders who have become their faithful followers. Parlophone will be issuing the quartet’s debut single on that day.

“On the A side lead vocalists John Lennon and Paul McCartney chant out their self-written lyrics of ‘Love Me Do’, an infectious medium-paced ballad with an exceptionally haunting harmonica accompaniment which smacks home the simple tune and gives the whole deck that extra slab of impact and atmosphere so essential to the construction of a Top Twenty smasher.

“There’s nothing startlingly distinguished about the simple, repetitive lyrics but a disc like ‘Love Me Do’ relies more upon punchy, ear-catching presentation and on this score The Beatles come out with flying colours.

“Flip ‘Love Me Do’ to hear another, slightly faster Lennon/McCartney number entitled ‘P.S. I Love You’. This bright ditty has a tingling Latin taste to it.

“There’s a refreshing do-it-yourself approach to this single by The Beatles. They have written their own material and provided their own vocal performance. I wish these four go-ahead young men the very best of good fortune with their initial Parlophone release.”

The above review appeared in the newspaper’s Off The Record column by Disker, a pen name used by Tony Barrow, who would soon by hired by Beatles manager Brian Epstein to serve as press and publicity officer for Epstein’s NEMS Enterprises.

Liverpool’s music newspaper, Mersey Beat, charted Love Me Do at number one in its October 18, 1962, issue. Although a writer described the song as “rather monotonous,” he recognized it was “the type of number which grows on you,” stating that while he was disappointed when he first heard it, he enjoyed it more and more with each play. Reviews of later Beatles releases often contained similar expressions of initial disappointment replaced by admiration after repeated listens. This was due in part to the higher and higher expectations for each new record issued by the group.

Despite respectable chart action, EMI was disappointed with the initial sales of the single, which stood at about 17,000 units by the end of 1962. After the group’s popularity spread beyond Liverpool with each successive release, Love Me Do sold an additional 100,000 units before its deletion from the EMI catalog in the mid-sixties.

EMI issued a 20th anniversary edition of the Love Me Do single with red labels in 1982. The reissue disc is easily distinguishable from the original as the labels have ‘A’ SIDE and ‘B’ SIDE designations at nine o’clock. The 1982 anniversary edition of Love Me Do sold an impressive 165,000 copies, which was considerably more than it sold in the sixties.

The above ad appeared in issue No. 6 of Pop Weekly magazine (cover dated October 6, 1962).

To mark the 50th anniversary of the release of Love Me Do, EMI is issuing a limited edition red label vinyl pressing of the single packaged in the same “beach towel” sleeve that the disc originally appeared in. The record is easily distinguishable from the original single as it has a solid center with a small center hole. It is sure to sell out quickly and become a collector’s item. The record is currently available from the website for The Fest for Beatles Fans.

 

Today’s trivia question covers other songs that were popular in Great Britain at the time Love Me Do was released.

The Beatles single was number one on the Merseyside Tops chart published by Mersey Beat magazine in its October 18, 1962, issue. Name the songs occupying the next four spots of the chart.

If you want some hints, here they are: The number 2 song was an instrumental by a British group that topped the U.S. charts. The number 3 and 4 songs were both co-written by Carole King. The number 5 song was by someone who would soon share a concert bill with the Beatles and later be an opening act at their first U.S. concert. Additional hints: The number 2 song was named after a communications satellite. The number 3 song was a dance song sung by Carole King’s baby sitter. The number 4 song has a month in its title. The number 5 song has a Buddy Holly sound to it.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of the Beatles first single on Parlophone, the book BEATLES FOR SALE ON PARLOPHONE RECORDS is on sale for $50 for the entire month of October. In addition, clearance copies of the book, which have scuffed covers but perfect interior pages, are available for just $30. If you’ve put off buying the Parlophone book or want a second “reading” copy, now is the perfect time to buy the book. You’ll learn the stories behind not only the Beatles first record, but also all of the records released in the U.K. from 1962 – 1970.

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

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50 Years Ago: EMI Prepares for Release of First Beatles Single

In mid-September 1962, EMI scheduled the release of the Beatles first single for October 5. By this time George Martin had determined that a Lennon-McCartney original, “Love Me Do,” would be the group’s debut disc.

Although EMI initially pressed only a few thousand copies of the single for distribution to record stores, the company devoted a full page of its weekly two-page new releases ad to the disc in the September 27, 1962, Record Retailer (shown above). This unprecedented move was most likely done to curry favor with Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who was an important customer of EMI through his NEMS record stores. While EMI was not willing to risk the cost of a large press run on an untested group, the full-page trade magazine ad, complete with pictures of the members of the group, was a way for EMI to demonstrate to Brian its support of the Beatles without incurring additional expenses.

 

EMI prepared approximately 250 promotional copies of the Beatles first single for pre-release distribution to selected media and radio stations. This so-called demonstration record has white labels with black print and a large red A on the Love Me Do side. The arrival of the disc at Brian’s NEMS office should have been a red-letter day for the aspiring manager, but instead Brian exploded in red-faced rage when he noticed that Paul’s last name was misspelled in the songwriters credit as “McArtney.” When he called EMI to complain about the error, he was told that the labels of the commercial copies would have the correct spelling. This failed to calm him down and he curtly replied, “Not the point, journalists and producers and deejays have the wrong name on their copies.” While Brian was understandably upset over the spelling error, the mistake made what was destined to be a highly collectible disc even more desirable.

Not willing to rely entirely on EMI to promote the Beatles, Brian hired a Liverpool native who wrote liner notes for a major record company to prepare a press kit for the Beatles. This individual also wrote record reviews for a Liverpool newspaper. This week’s trivia questions are about this person.

Who did Brian Epstein hire to prepare the first Beatles press kit?

What record company did this person write liner notes for?

What newspaper did this person write record reviews for?

What pen name did he use for his Off The Record column in the newspaper?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

Brian Epstein hired Tony Barrow to prepare the first Beatles press kit. Barrow, a Liverpool native, wrote liner notes for EMI’s biggest rival, Decca Records. He also wrote record reviews for The Liverpool Echo. He used the pen name “Disker” for his Off The Record column appearing in the newspaper.

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Happy Birthday Brian

Today is Brian Epstein’s birthday. The Beatles manager was born in Liverpool on September 19, 1934.

Although there are conflicting accounts on how Epstein first learned of the Beatles, it is well established that he first saw the group perform on November 9, 1961, at the Cavern Club. At the time Epstein was well known in Liverpool as the manager of his family-owned record store, NEMS.

Epstein was impressed by what he saw and told assistant Alistair Taylor that he wanted to manage the group. Epstein met with the group a few times in December before an agreement was reached. He cleaned up their image by insisting that the group wear matching suits on stage. He also worked hard to get the group a recording contract, eventually landing the Beatles a five-year deal with EMI’s Parlophone label, which was run by producer George Martin.

The Beatles had an artist’s test at Abbey Road Studios on June 6, 1962, and on the following September 4 and 11 recorded the songs that would be released as their first single. (Details of these sessions have been covered in previous posts.)

On September 19, 1962, Brian turned 28 years old. He had been managing the Beatles for less than a year, but was confident success was just around the corner. EMI was preparing the release of the group’s first single, which would contain two original compositions written John and Paul, “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.” The Beatles were playing one of their many concerts at the Cavern. It was a time of high expectations, which would soon be met thanks in large part to Epstein’s guidance and belief that the Beatles would one day be bigger than Elvis.

So today let’s raise a toast to Brian Epstein on the 50th anniversary of his 28th birthday.

THIS WEEK’S TRIVIA

Prior to reaching an agreement to become the Beatles manager, Brian Epstein contacted a Liverpool club owner who had previously promoted the band. Epstein wanted to be sure that the man was no longer managing the group. Who was this individual and what advice did he give Brian regarding the Beatles?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

Prior to reaching an agreement to become the Beatles manager, Brian Epstein contacted Allan Williams, a Liverpool promoter who had previously handled the Beatles. Williams was the owner of the Jacaranda music club and had booked the Beatles to play in Hamburg, Germany. He assured Epstein that he no longer had anything to do with the Beatles and gave him the following advice: “Don’t touch them with a fooking barge pole, they will let you down.” Williams had severed ties with the group after they refused to pay him his commission for a series of club dates in Hamburg. Fortunately, Brian did not heed the warnings of Allan Williams.

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50 Years Ago: The Beatles 2nd Recording Session for their 1st Single

On September 11, 1962, the Beatles returned to EMI’s Abbey Road studios to re-record their first single. One week earlier, the group had recorded “How Do You Do It,” a song written by tunesmith Mitch Murray, and “Love Me Do,” a Lennon-McCartney original, for possible release as their first single. But upon repeated plays of the acetates of both songs, George Martin was not convinced that the recordings were worthy of becoming the band’s debut single. Although the Beatles had competently performed “How Do You Do It,” he knew the group wanted to release their own songs on the single. As for “Love Me Do,” Martin thought it could be improved.

Martin booked studio time on September 11, 1962, for the Beatles to record a remake of Love Me Do, along with one of their own compositions for the flip side. Due to a scheduling conflict, Martin had to miss the start of the session. He arranged for Ron Richards to produce the session until his arrival. Although Ringo’s drumming was an improvement over that of Pete Best, neither Martin nor Richards was satisfied with the drum sound on Love Me Do. Without consulting or warning the Beatles or their manager, Richards hired Andy White, a reliable studio drummer, to sit in with the band for the session.   The first song recorded on September 11 was P.S. I Love You, which features Paul on lead vocal and bass, supported by John and George on backing vocals and guitars. To the surprise and disappointment of the group, Richards insisted that Andy White play the drums. Ringo, making the best of a humiliating situation, dutifully shook maracas. White’s rhythm on the wood block and Ringo’s maracas give the song a Latin flavor. The tenth and final take was used for the finished master. For the remake of Love Me Do, Andy White was once again behind the drums, while Ringo was relegated to tambourine. The group took 18 takes to obtain a satisfactory recording of the song. The main difference between the September 4 recording and the September 11 remake is the presence of tambourine on the later recording.

From the four songs recorded on September 4 and 11, Martin selected one of the versions of “Love Me Do” to be the A-side of the Beatles first single and “P.S. I Love You” to serve as the B-side. The following questions pertain to the various records that contain one of the two released versions of “Love Me Do.” Version One from September 4, 1962, has Ringo on drums. It shall be identified as “Ringo on drums.” Version Two from September 11, 1962, has Andy White on drums and Ringo on tambourine. It shall be identified as Ringo on tambourine.

What version of “Love Me Do” appears on:

1.  The A-side of the Beatles first single issued on Parlophone Records ?

2.  The Beatles “Please Please Me” album?

3.  The single issued by Capitol of Canada?

4.  “The Beatles’ Hits” EP?

5.  The “Introducing The Beatles” album released by Vee-Jay records?

6.  The Tollie single that became a number one hit in America?

7.  “The Early Beatles” LP issued by Capitol Records?

8.  Capitol Star Line single issued in 1965?

9.  “The Beatles 1962 – 1966” hits collection?

10.  The Capitol “Rarities” LP?

11.  The Capitol single issued on the 20th anniversary of the release of the “Love Me Do” single?

12.  The Capitol album “20 Greatest Hits” issued in 1982?

13.  The Capitol single issued on the 30th anniversary of the release of the “Love Me Do” single?

14.  The “Past Masters” collection?

15.  “The Beatles 1” collection of number one hits?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

George Martin selected the version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo on drums to serve as the A-side for the Beatles debut single. However, when it came time to compile the “Please Please Me” LP, Martin chose the version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo on tambourine. The Capitol of Canada single was dubbed from the U.K. single, so it has the version with Ringo on drums.“The Beatles’ Hits” EP has the version of the song with Ringo on tambourine even though the hit single had the version with Ringo on drums. The “Introducing The Beatles” album was made from the master tape of the “Please Please Me” album, so it has the version with Ringo on tambourine. Vee-Jay pulled “Love Me Do” from its “Introducing The Beatles” album when it mastered the Tollie single, so that single has Ringo on tambourine.

Prior to the issuance of the Tollie single in Aptil 1964, some stores in the U.S. sold imported copies pf the Canadian single of “Love Me Do.” Thus, those who purchased the Canadian single got Ringo on drums and those who purchased the American single got Ringo on tambourine. In all likelihood, no one noticed the difference.

The Capitol LP “The Early Beatles” has the version with Ringo on tambourine, as does the Capitol Star Line single issued in 1965. The 1973 album “The Beatles 1962- 1966” also uses the Ringo on tambourine version.

The 1980 Capitol “Rarities” album marked the first time the Ringo on drums version of “Love Me Do” was officially issued in the U.S. Oddly enough, the Capitol (and Parlophone) single issued on the 20th anniversary of the release of the “Love Me Do” single used the Ringo on tambourine version even though the original single had the Ringo on drums version. The Capitol album “20 Greatest Hits” also has the Ringo on tambourine version.

Capitol correctly used the version with Ringo on drums for the single issued on the 30th anniversary of the release of the “Love Me Do” single. The “Past Masters” collection has the version with Ringo on drums because that version did not appear on any of the core Beatles albums. “The Beatles 1” collection has the Ringo on tambourine version because that was the version on the U.S. single that topped the charts.

With the exception of the original U.K. single issued in 1962, all subsequent releases with Ringo on drums were dubbed from copies of the 1962 U.K. single because the master tape of “Love Me Do” with Ringo on drums no longer exists. It is speculated that the master tape was destroyed in the mid-sixties to ensure that it would not accidently be used on subsequent pressings of the “Please Please Me” album and “The Beatles Hits” EP.

 

 

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50 Years Ago: Beatles First Proper Recording Session

On September 4, 1962, the Beatles entered EMI Studios at Abbey Road for the group’s first proper recording session. The band was there to record two songs intended for the Beatles debut single. Because Pete Best had been replaced a few weeks earlier, George Martin did not book a session drummer, instead opting to see what the band’s new drummer, Ringo Starr, could do. That afternoon, the group, primarily under the supervision of Ron Richards, rehearsed six songs in Studio Three, including “Love Me Do,” “P.S. I Love You,” “Ask Me Why,” “Please Please Me” and a song given to them by Martin that had been written by a professional songwriter.

After taking a break for dinner, the Beatles entered Studio Two, where they would later go on to record the majority of their singles and album tracks. As would be the case for nearly all of their future sessions, George Martin served as producer.

The first order of business was to record an instrumental backing track for the song Martin insisted they do. This was apparently achieved in a single take featuring John on rhythm guitar, George on lead guitar, Paul on bass and Ringo on drums. John and Paul then overdubbed their lead vocals and the group added hand claps over the instrumental break to form Take 2.

Having completed Martin’s choice for the A-side, the Beatles were allowed to record one of their original compositions, “Love Me Do,” for the B-side. The recording of the instrumental backing did not go smoothly, with Ringo having trouble nailing down his drum part. Although studio logs no longer exist, it is believed that the group ran through over 15 takes. John and Paul then overdubbed their lead vocals and the group added hand claps during the song’s harmonica solo. The finished master most likely is an edit of two or more takes.

Both songs were mixed for mono by George Martin and Norman Smith at the end of the session. Martin also had acetates cut for each song so that he and Brian Epstein could listen to and evaluate the performances the following morning. Although the Beatles went back to Abbey Road a week later for a second recording session, the version of “Love Me Do” recorded on September 4 was eventually chosen to be the A-side of the group’s first single.

Today’s trivia questions cover the non-Lennon-McCartney song recorded on September 4, 1962, but not released until “Anthology 1” in 1995.

1. What song, written by a professional songwriter, did George Martin insist that the Beatles record at their first proper recording session?
2. Who wrote the song?
3. Who was the lead singer on the demo of the song given by George Martin to the Beatles?
4. Who was the backing band on the demo?
5. What group later recorded the Beatles arrangement of the song with George Martin serving as producer?
6. What was the highest chart position reached by this version of the song?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

Because George Martin was not convinced that the Beatles could write a hit single, he insisted that the group record a song written by a professional songwriter for their first recording session. The song, “How Do You Do It,” was written by tunesmith Mitch Murray. The demo of the song given to the Beatles featured Barry Mason on vocals backed by the Dave Clark Five, who at the time were virtually unknown. Although Martin capitulated to the Beatles wishes to have their original compositions featured on their single, he had Gerry and the Pacemakers, another Brian Epstein-managed band, record the song. Their version of the song, which closely followed the Beatles arrangement, went to the top of the U.K. charts, knocking the Beatles “Please Please Me” from the number one position.

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The Beatles first U.S. concert appearance

Once upon a time rock concert tickets were affordable to all fans. Although the prices for Beatles concert tickets were towards the top of the price range, they were still quite reasonable. In those days, the headline act often played for 30 minutes or less. There were often multiple warm up acts on the bill. Today’s questions pertain to the Beatles first U.S. concert appearance, which took place on February 11, 1964, in Washington, D.C.

What was the name of the venue where the Beatles played their first U.S. concert?

What were the three prices charged for tickets to the show?

What were the names of the warm up acts on the bill with the Beatles?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

The Beatles played their first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum on February 11, 1964. Tickets prices were $2, $3 and $4. The exact lineup for the evening remains a mystery. A fake poster for the show lists the Caravelles, Tommy Roe and the Chiffons as being on the bill. While I have been able to confirm that Tommy Roe and the Chiffons were definitely on the bill, I have not been able to do so for the Caravelles. The fact that they are listed on the poster seems to indicate they were on the bill, but this may not be the case as other acts who performed that night are not listed on the poster.  Reliable sources state that the Righteous Brothers and Jay & the Americans also played. There is also a possibility that Donna Lynn was there. In an interview with Carroll James before the show, the boys congratulate the singer for her song “My Boyfriend Got A Beatle Haircut.”  If anyone has more definitive information on the warm up acts for the concert, please email it to me.

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Abbey Road on the River – Washington, DC – Aug. 31-Sep. 2, 2012

Bruce will be appearing at the Washington, D.C. Abbey Road on the River, which runs from August 31 through September 2, 2012 at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, Maryland.

Bruce will be selling and signing copies of his books. He will also be giving two audio/visual presentations in the hotel’s Potomac Ballroom. On Saturday, September 1, at 11:00 AM, Bruce will cover the 50th anniversary of the Beatles focusing on the music recorded and released by the group in the U.K. during 1962 – 1963. On Sunday, September 2, at 3:00 PM, Bruce will give his popular presentation “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America,” which tells the convoluted story of how Beatlemania happened in America, culminating with the group’s first U.S. visit, which included the Beatles first U.S. concert at the Washington Coliseum.

Liverpool – International Beatles Week – Aug. 22-28, 2012

Bruce Spizer to be Featured Speaker at Liverpool’s International Beatles Week

Bruce Spizer will be making two audio/visual presentations at the upcoming International Beatles Week Festival taking place in Liverpool from August 22 – 28, 2012.

Bruce’s presentation will be at the Adelphi Hotel on Sunday, August 26. His first presentation shall be at noon and will cover the 50th anniversary of the Beatles focusing on the music recorded and released by the group in the U.K. during 1962 – 1963. Highlights include the group’s failed Decca audition, EMI commercial test and initial sessions during which the Beatles first single, “Love Me Do,” was recorded. According to Spizer, “Although the Beatles were disappointed at the time, it’s a good thing they failed the Decca audition. Had they passed, they would have been produced by Mike Smith. While Smith was a competent producer, he was no George Martin. There may have been no British Invasion had the Beatles been on Decca.” Bruce’s second presentation is scheduled for 7:00 PM and is titled “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America.” Bruce will inform Beatle fans from across the pond the convoluted story of how Beatlemania happened in America.

Bruce will be selling and signing his books at the Adelphi Hotel all day Sunday. Look for him this year in the hotel’s main room set up next to “Liddypool” author David Bedford.

Bruce will also be at the Beatle Days show at the Marriott Hotel on Friday and Saturday. This will give people the opportunity to chat with Bruce in a less crowded environment. He will also have books for sale at the Marriott.

Check out today’s trivia questions about the Beatles failed Decca audition.

 

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There may have been no British Invasion had the Beatles been on Decca

Although the Beatles were disappointed at the time, it’s a good thing they failed the Decca audition. Had they passed, they would have been produced by Mike Smith. While Smith was a competent producer, he was no George Martin. There may have been no British Invasion had the Beatles been on Decca.

Out of the 15 songs performed by the Beatles at their January 1, 1962 Decca audition, how many were written by Lennon-McCartney?

What were the names of the Lennon-McCartney songs performed at the Decca audition?

Who were the first artists to record and release singles of the Lennon-McCartney songs recorded at the Beatles Decca audition?

What two songs performed by the Beatles at their Decca audition were later recorded and released by the Beatles on Parlophone albums?

[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]

There of the 15 songs performed by the Beatles at their Decca audition were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The songs were “Like Dreamers Do,” “Hello Little Girl” and “Love Of The Loved.” They were among the first songs written by the duo, with “Hello Little Girl” being John’s first. Because these songs were not John and Paul’s best work, the Beatles never recorded them. Instead, they were given to other British artists. The Applejacks version of “Like Dreamers Do” peaked at #20 on the U.K. charts. Michael Leander served as musical director for the single’s arrangement. He later arranged the strings on the Beatles Sgt. Pepper song “She’s Leaving Home.” The Fourmost’s recording of “Hello Little Girl” peaked at #9 on the U.K. charts. It was also recorded by Gerry & the Pacemakers, but their version was not released until several years later. Both of these versions were recorded at Abbey Road and produced by George Martin. Cilla Black’s recording of “Love Of The Loved” peaked at #35 on the U.K. charts. It was also recorded at Abbey Road and produced by George Martin. The Beatles Decca audition performances of “Like Dreamers Do” and “Hello Little Girl” were later released on “Anthology 1.”

The only two songs performed by the Beatles at their 1962 Decca audition to be recorded and released on a Parlophone album were “Money” and “Till There Was You.” Both songs appeared on the group’s second U.K. album, “With The Beatles.”

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FEST FOR BEATLES FANS COLLIDES WITH CHICAGO COMIC CON

This weekend’s Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago was a true blast from the past. As usual,  it was a great time to relive the glorious music and culture generated by the Beatles. And with the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con next door at the Rosemont Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency O’Hare was ground zero for spotting celebrities and costumed fans. I spotted Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee (co-creator of the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor, Hulk, Iron Man, the Avengers, Daredevil, etc.), Lou Ferrigno (who played the Hulk on the TV series) and artist Neal Adams (known for his great work on Batman, X-Men and other comic classics). And of course, there were women dressed up as Wonder Woman and Super-Girl and men in authentic looking Spider-Man and Batman costumes.

I got into the spirit and spent a few hours at Comic Con before the Fest got going. I purchased a Flash T-shirt and wore it for my A/V presentation on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles, which covered the years 1962 – 63 in the U.K. Just for a laugh, I began my talk saying it was great to be at Comic Com 2012 and followed that with some historical background about how DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz brought back the super heroes to comics in 1956 with his reboot of the Flash at a time when the only super heroes still having their own books were Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. I wonder how many people in the audience thought I was truly at the wrong place before I said, “Wait a minute, this isn’t Comic Con. Well I guess I should talk about the Beatles.” For my Sunday presentation on Beatlemania in America, I had a guy in a incredible-looking Adam West mid-sixties style Batman TV series costume join me on stage at the end. (After all, the mid-sixties TV series Batman is the Batman of the Beatles era.) Batman commented on the great detective work done for my Beatles presentation. High praise, indeed, from the world’s greatest detective! Afterwards, Batman dropped by my table to inspect my books.

Upon my return to New Orleans, I was thrilled to see that I had a package from Amazon that contained the DC Archives of The Flash, Volume 6. The book contains several classic stories of the Flash that were originally published in 1964. To get in the proper spirit, I listened to “Meet The Beatles!” and “The Beatles’ Second Album” while reading the first few stories in the book. I felt like I was nine years old again! See my review of the book on Amazon, as well as my review of other Flash archive.

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Seeing Stan Lee at the hotel reminded me of a classic story credited to “Swingin’ Stan Lee” in a March 1965 comic book.

And that leads to this week’s trivia questions.

What pair of Marvel super heroes attended a Beatles concert in a Marvel Comic written by Stan Lee for a comic book cover-dated March 1965?

Bonus question: What was the title of the story in which they appear and in what magazine did the story run?

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The Human Torch and the Thing attended a Beatles concert in a Marvel comic written by Stan Lee and cover-dated March 1965 (meaning the comic probably went on sale in late 1964). The story was titled “Meet The Beatles!” and appeared in Strange Tales. I guess any story featuring half of the Fantastic Four and the Fab Four is a strange tale, indeed! The cover shows the Human Torch and the Thing each wearing a Beatles wig. Seeing the Thing with a Beatles wig on his head is priceless. Never mind the fact that the Human Torch’s flame would burn the wig off in seconds.

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Beatle connection to the Super Bowl

The start of the 2012 National Football League preseason began on Sunday, August 5, with the New Orleans Saints defeating the Arizona Cardinals 17 – 10 in the Hall of Fame game. Prior to the start of the season, every team is undefeated and dreams of playing in the Super Bowl. The 2013 Super Bowl will be in New Orleans. One former Beatle has actually played twice at the Super Bowl, which is one more time than my home team, the New Orleans Saints.

Today’s trivia covers the Beatle connection to the Super Bowl. It starts with an easy one and gets progressively harder.

Which Beatle has twice played at the Super Bowl?
What part of the game day program was he part of for each appearance?
What songs did he play at each Super Bowl?
Where were the games located and who were the participating teams?
What were the final scores of the games?
OK, so the last question is for the serious NFL fans, but hey, I’m ready for some football.

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The former Beatle who has twice played at the Super Bowl is Paul McCartney. For his first appearance, he was part of the pre-game program; the second time he was the featured artist for the halftime show. Paul played the pre-game show before the first Super Bowl held after 9/11, performing his song inspired by the tragic events of that day, “Freedom.” He was interviewed after the halftime show (during which U-2 performed) and sang an impromptu version of “A Hard Day’s Night” with former quarterback  and broadcaster Terry Bradshaw. For his halftime show, Paul performed “Drive My Car,” “Get Back,” “Live And Let Die” and “Hey Jude.” His first Super Bowl appearance was in New Orleans, Louisiana, for Super Bowl XXXVI held on February 4, 2002, featuring the New England Patriots and the St. Louis Rams. His second appearance was in Jacksonville, Florida, for Super Bowl XXXIX held on February 7, 2005, featuring the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The final score for Super Bowl XXXVI was New England 20 St. Louis 17. Paul was pulling for New England because he thought it would be appropriate for a team called the Patriots to win the first post 9/11 Super Bowl. The final score for Super Bowl XXXIX was New England 24 Philadelphia 21. Enjoy the shows at these links!

Paul McCartney Freedom Super Bowl XXXVI

Paul McCartney Halftime Super Bowl XXXIX

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