60 Years Ago: George Martin Prepares Album; Beatles Resume Helen Shapiro Tour

On Monday, February 25, 1963, George Martin and his engineers at Abbey Road prepared the mono and stereo masters for the recently recorded Beatles album. The 14 songs selected for the album were mixed and banded in their running order. Although Martin has been quoted as saying the stereo album was prepared several weeks after the mono album, that is not correct. Both mono and stereo master tapes were prepared that day.

As was the case in the early days, the Beatles were not present for the mixing and banding session. Instead, they were heading to Lancashire for a concert at the Casino Ballroom in Leigh.

The Helen Shapiro tour resumed on Tuesday with a concert at the Gaumont Cinema in Taunton, Somerset, although Shapiro had a severe cold and was unable to perform. Danny Williams took her place as the headliner. (Although the Please Please Me single was moving up the charts, the promoter did not think the Beatles were ready for headline status.) Shapiro also missed the Wednesday night show at the Rialto Theatre in York, Yorkshire.

On February 28, 1963, John and Paul wrote From Me To You while riding on the artists’ tour bus. The song would be recorded less than a week later at Abbey Road. That evening, Shapiro returned for the show at the Granada Cinema in Shrewsbury, Shropshire. The following night the tour was in Southport, Lancashire for a concert at the Odeon Cinema.

On Saturday, March 2, the Beatles were on the bill for the tour’s concert at the City Hall in Sheffield, Yorkshire. Later that evening, the group and Brian Epstein traveled to Manchester for an interview on the ABC TV program ABC At Large, which was broadcast live that evening from 11:00 – 11:50 p.m. The group did not perform, but was shown miming Please Please Me on a video clip previously broadcast on Thank Your Lucky Stars. The Helen Shapiro tour concluded on Sunday with a concert at the Gaumont Cinema in Hanley, Staffordshire.

Today’s trivia questions pertain to the mixing and banding of Please Please Me album.

  1. What songs did George Martin select to open and close the Please Please Me album?
  2. What two songs appear in fake stereo on the stereo version of the Please Please Me album?
  3. Was the Love Me Do single included on the Please Please Me album?
  4. What song on the stereo Please Please Me album is noticeably different than its version on the mono album?
  5. What word did George Martin use to describe the type of rocker he used to open and close the Please Please Me album?

  1. I Saw Her Standing There and Twist And Shout.
  2. Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You were given a fake stereo mix because the two-track tapes from the session were no longer available, most likely having been recorded over.
  3. Although the song Love Me Do is on the album, the actual recording used for the single release of the song is not. Rather than using the September 4, 1963, recording of the song with Ringo on drums that had been used for the group’s first single, Martin selected the September 11 version with Andy White on drums and Ringo on tambourine.
  4. The stereo version of Please Please Me differs from the mono version appearing on the single and the mono LP. The single was edited from an unknown number of takes. When stereo mixes were being made for the album, apparently the engineers were able to locate only the later takes of the song. The stereo master is an edit of Takes 16, 17 and 18, whereas the single most likely contains edits from earlier takes. The most noticeable difference between the mono and stereo versions of the song is the flubbed lyrics in the final verse.
  5. George Martin decided to open and close the Beatles first album with hard rocking songs, which he described as “potboilers.”

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