Category: the beatles

On this day in music history: May 22, 1965 – &…

On this day in music history: May 22, 1965 – “Ticket To Ride” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the eighth number one single in the US for “The Fab Four”. Written primarily by John Lennon, the song carries a dual meaning. In part, it is a play on the phrase “ticket to Ryde”, meaning a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde on the Isle Of Wight in England. Lennon also makes it a sly reference to The Beatles days of performing in Hamburg, Germany. In this case, the “tickets” being cards carried by prostitutes indicating they had been given a clean bill of health, with “ride or riding” being a euphemism for sexual intercourse. The track is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London on February 15, 1965, and features Paul McCartney playing lead guitar on a Beatles single for the first time. McCartney is also instrumental in arranging the songs unique rhythm pattern, suggesting it to Ringo Starr. Released on April 9, 1965, it is the first release from the bands second film “Help!”, set to be released in July. However, when the record is released in the US, Capitol Records erroneously lists on the label that the song is from the film “Eight Arms To Hold You” which is the original working title of the film while it is in production. The single is also backed with the initially non-LP B-side “Yes It Is”, recorded the day after “Ride” on February 16, 1965. The song is added to the US album “Beatles VI” in June of 1965, though in the UK it does not surface on an album until the release of the compilation “Love Songs” in 1977. Entering the Hot 100 at #59 on April 24, 1965, “Ticket To Ride” streaks to the top of the chart four weeks later. “Ticket To Ride” is covered by The Carpenters on their 1969 debut album “Offering”, and becomes their first chart single.  The album is re-titled “Ticket To Ride” in late 1970 after the group makes their breakthrough with the single “(They Long To Be) Close To You”. The original Capitol US 45 release is reissued in 2011 as part of a promotion through retail chain Target, in tandem with the remastered reissue of the compilation “Beatles 1”. The limited edition box contains a replica of the 45 and picture sleeve, and a T-shirt.

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On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 – &l…

On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 – “Let It Be”, the twelfth studio album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin and Phil Spector, it is recorded at EMI and Apple Studios and Twickenham Film Studios in London from February 1968, January – February 1969, January and March – April 1970. The Beatles final album (of new material) is culled mostly from the January 1969 sessions for the aborted Get Back album and film documenting their dissolution and eventual break up. Its original intent is to feature the band playing together in the studio live, with minimal overdubbing and post production. However, things go astray as tensions between The Beatles come to a head during the sessions, leading to George Harrison temporarily walking out. Eventually, the project is completed over a year after the initial recording takes place. Producer Phil Spector is brought in sort through the hundreds of hours of tapes, editing, remixing and overdubbing to compile a cohesive and polished album. It spins off two singles including “The Long And Winding Road” and the title track (both #1 Pop). In the UK and Canada, the album is originally issued as a lavish box set with a large one hundred sixty page paperback book (titled “Get Back”) featuring still photographs of the band taken by photographer Ethan Russell. The boxed edition is not issued in the US (due to cost concerns), and is released in a gatefold jacket with United Artists having the rights to distribute it, though Capitol Records actually contracted to press the record. Original copies are issued with a red Apple label instead of the standard green label, and carry a United Artists catalog number. The album goes out of print in US for three years before Capitol Records acquires the rights to the album (as well the soundtrack to “A Hard Day’s Night”) from United Artists in 1979. The Capitol pressing reissues the album in a single pocket sleeve with a poster inserted into the jacket. First released on CD in 1987, the album is remastered and reissued in 2009, with a 180 gram vinyl LP being released in 2012. “Let It Be” spends four weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 4, 1977 – “T…

On this day in music history: May 4, 1977 – “The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl” by The Beatles is released. Produced by Voyle Gilmore and George Martin, it is recorded at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, CA on August 23, 1964 and August 28 – 29, 1965. The idea of recording a live album featuring The Beatles comes from their American record label Capitol. They had originally planned to record their concert at Carnegie Hall in February of 1964 during their first US visit, but were unable to acquire permission from the Musician’s Union to record the performance. Six months later, they capture the band’s historic first performance at the Hollywood Bowl. But after hearing the results, both The Beatles and their producer George Martin veto their release, feeling the sound quality is not up to par. They try again a year later when the band plays the venue again. The recordings are equally disappointing overall and those tapes are also shelved. The project is revived in the mid-70’s by then Capitol/EMI Chairman Bhaskar Menon, after the tapes are discovered lying dormant in Capitol’s vault. Menon calls George Martin to ask if he can create a releasable album from the tapes. The concerts originally recorded completely live to 3-track tape, proves to be a major challenge to work with. The first issue will be trying to find a machine to play them back on. Enlisting the help of former Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick, they locate a working three-track tape machine (which constantly overheats, requiring cool air to be blown into it with a vacuum cleaner), and transfer the recordings to a more modern multi-track tape format. Through careful processing, remixing and editing, they craft a seamless complete performance from the two concerts. Very well received upon its release, it races up the charts around world. Over the years, bootleg copies of the original album, as well as unreleased outtakes from all three performances circulate among fans for years. Going out of print in 1988, nearly thirty years goes by before it sees the light of day again. As an accompaniment to Ron Howard’s Grammy winning documentary “The Beatles: Eight Days A Week”, a remixed (by Giles Martin) and expanded edition of the Hollywood Bowl album titled “Live at the Hollywood Bowl” is released on September 9, 2016. “The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl” peaks at number two on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: May 2, 1975 – Ap…

On this day in music history: May 2, 1975 – Apple Records ceases operations as a record label. This coincides with The Beatles’ contract with EMI Records expiring, which also included all solo releases by the individual members following their break up in 1970. Solo releases by the individual members as well as all Beatles catalog titles carry the Apple logo until the end of 1975. All releases are subsequently re-pressed with Capitol labels on later reissues. In the interim, Apple functions mainly as a holding company run by Neil Aspinall to oversee any business affairs relating to The Beatles catalog. The record label is re-established in 1987 when the bands catalog is reissued on CD.

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On this day in music history: April 16, 1964 -…

On this day in music history: April 16, 1964 – The Beatles record the theme song to their first film “A Hard Day’s Night at Abbey Road Studios in London. Now almost seven weeks into production on The Beatles first film, filming continues without a proper title or a theme song until inspiration comes from an unlikely source. Drummer Ringo Starr is the catalyst for the title of the song as well as the film (which also does not have a title when production begins), when he blurts out the phrase at the end of a particularly long day of filming. John and Paul write the song overnight, (actually writing the lyrics on the inside of a match book cover) and play it for film producer Walter Shenson on the set the next day. The band complete the song in under three hours of studio time with Take 9 being the master recording. “A Hard Day’s Night” is also notable for its striking opening guitar chord which is Fadd9 (in the first position) played in tandem by George Harrison (on his Rickenbacker 360-12) and John Lennon (on his Gibson J-160E).

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On this day in music history: April 11, 1970 -…

On this day in music history: April 11, 1970 – “Let It Be” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the nineteenth US chart topper for “The Fab Four”. McCartney is inspired to the write it after having a dream about his mother giving him reassuring words (telling him “it’ll be alright, just let it be.”) during a very tumultuous period. The master take is recorded on January 31, 1969, with additional overdubs recorded on April 30, 1969 and January 4, 1970. The single mix of “Let It Be” differs from the LP version. During recording and overdubbing sessions, George Harrison re-records his guitar solo with the single mix featuring the take recorded on April 30, 1969, and the LP version including the solo recorded on January 4, 1970. George Martin mixes the track with more subtle orchestration and background vocals for the single version, than Phil Spector’s mix which puts more emphasis on those parts. It makes chart history debuting on the Hot 100 at #6 on March 21, 1970, the highest opening week chart entry ever, climbing to the top of the chart three weeks later. This record stands until 1995, when Michael & Janet Jackson’s duet “Scream” enters the Billboard Hot 100 at #5 on June 17, 1995. “Let It Be” is backed with the non-LP B-side “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)”. “Number” has a long recording history, which begins nearly three years earlier. The basic track is begun on May 17, 1967, with overdubs on June 7 – 8, 1967. On June 8th, Rolling Stone Brian Jones records a saxophone solo on the track. The track lies dormant until April 30, 1969, when John and Paul add vocals along with band roadie Mal Evans adding sound effects. Initially, it was to be an A-side under the Plastic Ono Band moniker backed with “The White Album” outtake “What’s The New Mary Jane?” in December of 1969, but its release is canceled at the last minute. Mixed into mono only, “You Know My Name” is not issued on a Beatles album until it is included on the compilation “Rarities” in 1980. An extended stereo remix is released on “Anthology 2” in 1996. Over the years, “Let It Be” is covered by Aretha Franklin, Joan Baez, The Hollies, John Denver, Tori Amos, and Nick Cave. In 1987, the song is re-recorded under the name Ferry Aid to raise money to benefit the victims of the Zeebrugge Ferry Disaster. The single features Paul McCartney along various UK star musicians including Boy George, Kate Bush and Mark Knopfler. It tops the UK singles chart for three weeks in April of 1987. The Beatles original recording is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 2004. In 2011, the US 45 release of “Let It Be” is reissued in a limited edition through big box retailer Target, to promote the remastered CD of “The Beatles 1” compilation. The reissue replicates the original US Apple 45 and picture sleeve, coming packaged with a T-shirt. “Let It Be” is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 10, 1964 -…

On this day in music history: April 10, 1964 – “The Beatles Second Album”, the third album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from March 5 – 13, July 1, 18 – 30, October 17, 1963, February 25, and March 1, 1964. The LP is follow up to their Capitol debut “Meet The Beatles”, though it is actually their third album to be issued in the US. It consists of tracks mostly taken from their second UK album “With The Beatles” along with the single “She Loves You” and its B-side “I’ll Get You”, “You Can’t Do That” (the B-side of “Can’t Buy Me Love”), “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name”, two tracks from the then yet to be released UK EP “Long Tall Sally”. Both the mono and stereo LP’s contain unique mixes that were only available on this release. The album is deleted from Capitol Records catalog in 1987 when the band’s original UK albums are issued on CD. After remaining out of print for more than a decade, it is reissued in November of 2004 making its CD debut as part of a four disc box set titled “The Capitol Albums, Volume 1”. The album is reissued again on January 20, 2014 both individually, and as part of the thirteen disc CD box set “The Beatles US Albums”. “The Beatles Second Album” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 4, 1964 – …

On this day in music history: April 4, 1964 – “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the third US chart topper for the “Fab Four”. After the UK chart success of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, which at the time was also rapidly ascending to the top of the American singles charts, the pressure is on to come up with a strong follow up. While The Beatles are in Paris playing a residency at the Olympia Theater in late January of 1964, the band stay at the George V Hotel in the city. Lennon and McCartney have an upright piano moved into the bands suite so they can continue to work on songs during any down time. The idea for what becomes “Can’t Buy Me Love” comes largely from McCartney, writing the music and the bulk of the lyrics. Initially the song is structured with the first verse starting it off. John and Paul decide that it works better beginning with the chorus instead. The basic track is recorded at EMI’s Pathe Marconi Studios, during a session where the band also records German language versions of “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” for EMI’s subsidiary label Odeon Records. The master take of “Love” is take four with Paul recording his final lead vocals, and George Harrison overdubbing a second and improved guitar solo a month later on February 25, 1964 at Abbey Road Studios in London. Anticipation for the new single is so high that it earns a place in the Guinness World Book Of Records, for the largest advance order for a single record, chalking up advanced sales of over 2.1 million copies. Entering the Hot 100 at #27 on March 28, 1964, it pole vaults to the top the following week. The song is also featured in a memorable sequence in their first film “A Hard Days Night”, released in July of 1964, with the song also being included on the soundtrack album. “Can’t Buy Me Love” is among the most covered of The Beatles’ songs with versions recorded by everyone from Ella Fitzgerald, Henry Mancini, and Count Basie to NRBQ, The Supremes, and Alvin & The Chipmunks. The B-side “You Can’t Do That”, written primarily by Lennon, is also recorded during the February 25, 1964 session at Abbey Road Studios. The song also charts on the Hot 100, peaking at #48 on April 11, 1964. The song also makes its first LP appearance on the UK release of the soundtrack to “A Hard Day’s Night”, and in the US on “The Beatles’ Second Album”. The song was also shot for the final performance sequence in “A Hard Day’s Night”, but is left out of the final cut of the film. “You Can’t Do That” is also later covered by The Supremes, Harry Nilsson, Vanilla Fudge, and The Smithereens. “Can’t Buy Me Love” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 4, 1964 – …

On this day in music history: April 4, 1964 – The Beatles make chart history when they become the only act to ever place singles in the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 simultaneously. “Can’t Buy Me Love” leaps from #27 to #1, “Twist And Shout” moves up to #2, “She Loves You” (#1 the previous week) falls back to #3, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” slips back two spots to #4 and “Please Please Me” moves down one spot to #5. In addition to dominating the top five, the band also holds down seven additional spots in that weeks chart. Then one week later on April 11, 1964, they occupy a total of fourteen chart positions on the Hot 100. The band having multiple singles in release on different labels at the time, make this unprecedented chart dominance possible, and to date, has never been duplicated by another recording artist.

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On this day in music history: April 2, 1973 – …

On this day in music history: April 2, 1973 – The Beatles “1962 – 1966” and “1967 – 1970” are released. Known widely as the “red” and “blue” albums, the two double album sets are compilations of hit singles and album tracks compiled by former Beatles manager Allen Klein. The sets are released in response to an unauthorized bootleg compilation being sold by mail order. The “red” and “blue” albums are hugely successful with “1967 – 1970” (certified 17x Platinum) hitting number one on the Billboard Top 200 and “1962 – 1966” (certified 15x Platinum) peaking at number three. In 1978, Capitol Records in the US presses the LP’s on translucent red and blue vinyl. Both albums make their CD debut in 1993 (Apple/EMI also presses limited edition vinyl on red and blue vinyl in 1994), and are remastered and reissued with digipak packaging in 2010. The vinyl LP configuration is reissued again in Europe and Japan in 2014, and is still currently in print.

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