60 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?
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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