On this day in music history: October 17, 1963 – The Beatles record “I Want To Hold Your Hand” at Abbey Road Studios in London. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the fifth UK single release for “The Fab Four”. The song is written in the Fall of 1963 while Paul McCartney is living at the home of his girlfriend, actress Jane Asher and her family, with John and Paul writing it together on the piano. “Hand” is recorded during sessions for the band’s second album “With The Beatles”, and is completed in seventeen takes. It is the first Beatles song recorded on Abbey Road’s four track multi-track tape machine, with previous recordings by the band being recorded using a two track machine. When it is released in the UK on November 29, 1963, it is an immediate smash, receiving advance orders of over one million copies. The single enters the chart at #2, at first unable to dislodge their previous release “She Loves You” from the top, finally taking the top spot two weeks later on December 12, 1963, spending five weeks at number one. The UK single is backed with the ballad “This Boy” which is recorded during the same session as “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. “Hand” becomes one of the best selling singles in history, selling over twelve million copies worldwide.
On this day in music history: October 16, 1965 – The Beatles record “Day Tripper” at Abbey Road Studios in London. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is recorded early in the sessions for the “Rubber Soul” album with Lennon and McCartney under pressure to come up with a new single for release at Christmas. The pair write it at Lennon’s home in Weybridge, Surrey, with Lennon coming up with the initial idea for the title as being a word play on the term “day trip”, and a tongue in cheek reference to drugs. McCartney helps with the lyrics, with both shaping it into the final result. The recording takes place in Studio Two at Abbey Road and is completed in three takes (w/ additional overdubs). The song is recorded during the same session that also produces basic track for “If I Needed Someone” (written by George Harrison). It is released as a double A-sided single with “We Can Work It Out” on December 3, 1965. US release is on December 6, 1965, and peaks at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 22, 1966.
On this day in music history: October 12, 1969 – “The Paul Is Dead” urban myth is born. A student at Eastern Michigan University named Tom Zarski calls up DJ Russ Gibb at radio station WKNR, and tell him of a rumor that Beatle Paul McCartney had died in a car crash in November of 1966. He’ll say that there are clues in the “White Album” track “Revolution #9”, claiming that when a certain section is played backwards that it says “turn me on, dead man. Gibb goes on air with the rumor and it immediately snowballs from there. Fans also believe that there are further clues hidden in the album cover artwork to "Yesterday & Today”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, “Magical Mystery Tour” and the then just released “Abbey Road” album. However, the rumors prove to be false. McCartney is found alive and well at his farm in rural Scotland when Life Magazine sends a correspondent and photographer to his home. McCartney is initially furious at the intrusion on his privacy, hurling expletives at the reporters and throwing a bucket of water at them. The photographer snaps pictures of the encounter and quickly take off. Paul chases them down and offers to be interviewed in exchange for the film taken of him during the angry confrontation. He sits down for an interview and poses for pictures with Linda step-daughter Heather and new baby daughter Mary, which appear in a cover story for Life published on November 7, 1969.
On this day in music history: October 9, 1965 – “Yesterday” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 4 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the tenth US chart topper for “The Fab Four”. The song is actually written entirely by Paul McCartney, but is credited to “Lennon/McCartney” as are all original Beatles compositions written by John or Paul. The melody comes to McCartney in a dream while he is living at his girlfriend Jane Asher’s family home in London. Waking up and quickly going to the piano, he begins playing the melody to avoid forgetting it. Initially dubbing the song “Scrambled Eggs”, he quickly improvises temporary lyrics to further embed it into his memory. They read “scrambled eggs, oh, my baby how I love your legs”. Then for the next couple of weeks, Paul plays the song for others asking them if they had ever heard it before when he thinks he may have subconsciously plagiarized it from another song. When he realizes he hasn’t he finishes writing it during the Spring of 1965. Playing the finished composition for producer George Martin, both agree that a traditional band arrangement does not work for the song. Martin suggests that McCartney record it by himself with just an acoustic guitar, scoring it with a string quartet. The track is recorded on June 14, 1965 at Abbey Road Studios in Studio Two, with the master version being completed in two takes. Three days later, the strings are overdubbed on to the track. Originally issued on the non-soundtrack side of “Help!” in the UK, Capitol Records in the US withholds the song from the album for a stand alone single release (b/w “Act Naturally”) releasing it on September 13, 1965. McCartney performs “Yesterday” on The Beatles fourth and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show airing on September 12, 1965 (though taped one month earlier on August 14, 1965). Entering the Hot 100 at #45 on September 25, 1965, it leaps to the top of the chart two weeks later. However it is not issued in the UK on a 45 until 1976. “Yesterday” goes on to become one of the most covered pop songs in history with over 2,200 recorded versions, earning it a place in the Guinness World Book Of Records. Since its release in 1965, The Beatles version of yesterday has been broadcast on US radio over seven million times, putting it in third place behind The Association’s “Never My Love” and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. The Beatles recording is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1997. “Yesterday” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 6, 1969 – “Something” b/w “Come Together” by The Beatles is released (UK release date is on October 31, 1969). Written by George Harrison/John Lennon & Paul McCartney, it is the eighteenth US chart topper for the Fab Four. The lone single issued from the bands recently released album “Abbey Road”, for the first time a song not written by Lennon/McCartney is released as the A-side of a Beatles single (sanctioned by the band). The ballad “Something” is written by George Harrison while the flip side “Come Together” is actually written by John Lennon but is credited to Lennon/McCartney. By the time the single reaches #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 29, 1969, both sides are listed at the top (w/ “Come Together” listed first) due to a change in chart policy. Billboard begins listing the A and B sides of a single receiving radio airplay and generating sales in the same chart position rather than separately. Initially, the two sides debut on the chart separately with “Something” entering the Hot 100 at #20 and “Come Together” at #23 on October 18, 1969. “Come Together” climbs as high as #2 and “Something” at #3 before “Come Together” slips back to #7 and “Something” holds at #3. Billboard then combines the airplay and sales chart information for both sides of the single, providing the momentum for both to ascend to number one. “Come Together/Something” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: October 5, 1962 – “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” by The Beatles is released. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the debut single by the Liverpool, UK based rock quartet. “Love Me Do” is one of the earliest songwriting collaborations between Lennon and McCartney, written circa 1958 – 59 while the two are playing hooky from school. Paul writes the main body of the song and John writes the songs middle eight. The original UK single release of “Love Me Do” is recorded on September 4, 1962 at Abbey Road Studios in London with Ringo Starr on drums. The band re-records the song a week later on September 11, 1962 with session drummer Andy White playing drums as producer George Martin is not thoroughly satisfied with Ringo’s drumming on the initial recording. He is regulated to playing tambourine on the second version as well as the B-side “P.S. I Love You”. Martin eventually changes his mind, and the first version with Ringo on drums is released as the bands first UK single. However, when their first album “Please Please Me” is released in March of 1963, the Andy White version is included. The original September 4, 1962 session tape of “Love Me Do” is erased following the song being mixed down to mono. In time, the two-track session master tape with the second version is also lost, making the September 11, 1962 mono mix with Andy White the standard version by default. The original version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo Starr on drums is reissued by EMI Records in the early 80’s, dubbed from a mint copy of the original 1962 red UK Parlophone 45. “Love Me Do” peaks at #17 on the UK singles chart.
On this day in music history: September 28, 1968 – “Hey Jude” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the biggest hit for the iconic British rock band. The first release on the bands Apple Records label, the single clocks in at an unprecedented 7:11, more than twice the length of the average record played on the radio during this time. At the time of its release, it has the highest chart debut in the history of the Hot 100 by entering at #10 on September 14, 1968. “Hey Jude” moves swiftly upward, jumping to #3 the following week, then to #1. Jude’s B-side “Revolution” also charts, peaking at #12 on September 21, 1968. Shortly after the track is recorded, the band video tape promotional clip for the song. The video is directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had previously worked with The Beatles on the clips for “Paperback Writer” and “Rain” two years earlier. The clip is shot at Twickenham Studios in London on September 4, 1968, with an audience present, who appear in the background and sing the songs’ epic chorus with the band. British TV host David Frost also tapes introductions for the clip, which are shown on his talk show “Frost On Sunday” on September 8, 1968. The band also shoot a promo clip for the B-side “Revolution” on the same day, which is also aired on Frost’s progam. Both clips feature The Beatles singing live to the pre-recorded instrumental tracks, to avoid the “miming ban” imposed by Musician’s Union in the UK. In the US, both promotional clips are shown on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on October 6, 1968, with George Harrison making a guest appearance on the show. “Hey Jude” becomes The Beatles biggest selling single of all in the US, selling more than four million copies, and is ranked the number one record of 1968 by Billboard Magazine. “Jude” is widely covered by numerous other artists including Elvis Presley and Wilson Pickett. The Beatles’ original version is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2001. “Hey Jude” is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: September 26, 1969 – “Abbey Road”, the eleventh album by The Beatles is released (US release is on October 1, 1969). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at EMI Abbey Road Studios and Trident Studios in London from February 22 – August 20, 1969. Following the acrimonious recording sessions for “Get Back/Let It Be” earlier in the year, the band decide to put aside their personal differences, to record one more album free of the conflict that marred those sessions. Though it isn’t exactly like their past working relationship, the sessions are productive and largely problem free. The first half of the album consists of individual songs, while the second half comprises mostly of a nearly side long medley running nearly sixteen and a half minutes with most of the songs written by Paul (“You Never Give Me Your Money”, “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”, “Golden Slumbers”, and “Carry That Weight”, with “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam” being written by John). The end result of the sessions is one of the strongest albums of the bands career. Though at the time of its releases, it receives mixed reviews from critics who also complain about its then record high list price of $6.98. The albums iconic cover by photographer Iain Macmillan (with graphics designed by John Kosh “aka Kosh), is taken in the zebra crossing in front of the famed recording studio. It spins off the double A-sided single "Come Together/Something” (#1 Pop). “Abbey Road” spends eleven weeks at number one (non-consecutive) on the Billboard Top 200. It is the first of The Beatles albums to pass the ten million mark in sales worldwide in 1980, becoming their largest selling studio album. It is the first Beatles album to be issued on CD, when it is released by EMI/Odeon in Japan in 1983 as part of the “Black Triangle” disc series. However, it remains in the marketplace for only a brief time before it is withdrawn, as it has been released without legal clearance from Apple Corps. “Abbey Road” is officially released on a worldwide basis in 1987, and is remastered and reissued in 2009. The vinyl release of the album, out of print since the mid 90’s is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2012. "Abbey Road" is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1995, and is certified 12x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, receiving a Diamond Certification.
On this day in music history: September 25, 1965 – “The Beatles” animated cartoon series makes its debut on the ABC television network. Co-created and executive produced by Al Brodax through King Features Syndicate, the series features voice actors Paul Frees (as John and George) and Lance Percival (as Paul and Ringo). The show is an immediate hit, and thirty nine first run episodes of the series are produced through 1967. Two more seasons of reruns follow before the last broadcast on September 7, 1969. Other than The Beatles music being featured in the show, the band themselves have no involvement in its creation whatsoever. Initially, they have a generally negative opinion of the series, being unhappy with the cheap look of the animation and overly “cartoony” depiction of their personalities. When Broadax spearheads the making of the animated feature “Yellow Submarine” after production on the series ends, The Beatles have little to with it at first. Their feelings toward the film change when they see the work in progress, as does their opinion of the series over time. “The Beatles” are rebroadcast during the 80’s on MTV and the Disney Channel. The Beatles’ company Apple Corps, LTD. purchases the rights to the series in the 90’s. Though fans have expressed a desire for it to be restored and released on DVD, Apple currently do not have any plans for the series to be released on home video at this time.