On this day in music history: June 14, 1965 - “Beatles VI”, the seventh US album by The Beatles is released. Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from September 29 - 30, 1964, October 6 -18 and 26, 1964, February 16 - 18, 1965, and May 10, 1965. The album is a US compilation assembled by Capitol Records, featuring seven tracks taken from the UK album “Beatles For Sale”, the non LP B-side “Yes It Is” (flipside of “Ticket To Ride”), three tracks from the UK version of the as yet to be released “Help!” soundtrack (“Tell Me What You See”, “You Like Me Too Much”, and “Dizzy Miss Lizzie”) and a cover of the Larry Williams classic “Bad Boy” recorded specifically for the US market. That song will not be released in the UK until December 1966 when it is included on the bands’ hits compilation “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies (But Goldies!)”. The album will remain in print until 1987 when it is deleted after the band’s original UK albums are reissued on CD. “Beatles VI” will be released on CD for the first time in 2006 as part of the CD box set “The Capitol Albums Volume 2” featuring the original mono and stereo mixes. “Beatles VI” will spend 6 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 13, 1970 - “The Long And Winding Road/For You Blue” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 2 weeks. Written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon - McCartney)/George Harrison, it is the twentieth and final US chart topper for the legendary rock band from Liverpool, UK. The final master version of ”Road” is recorded on January 26 and 31, 1969 at Apple Studios in London, the ballad originally features just The Beatles and keyboardist Billy Preston playing on the track. When producer Phil Spector is hired to remix and compile the songs from the January 1969 sessions into a cohesive album, he will take numerous liberties with the raw tapes. “The Long And Winding Road” will especially be subjected to this treatment when Spector overdubs an orchestra and a choir on to the track. The extraneous post production will anger Paul McCartney, but is too late to prevent it from being released. In 2003, a remixed version of the song (without Spector’s post production) will be released on the album “Let It Be… Naked”. The singles’ B-side “For You Blue”, written by George Harrison is recorded on January 25, 1969 at Apple Studios, with additional overdubs recorded on January 8, 1970 at Olympic Studios in London. The track features John Lennon playing a lap steel guitar. “Blue” will receive significant airplay along side “Winding Road” and is given equal billing on the charts. The two songs are the second single to be issued from the album and film “Let It Be” on May 11, 1970, and quickly rise up the chart. Entering the Hot 100 at #35 on May 23, 1970, it will bolt to the top of the chart three weeks later. “The Long And Winding Road/For You Blue” is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: June 6, 1962 - The Beatles audition for producer George Martin at Abbey Road Studios in London. The band will play songs from their on stage repertoire including early Lennon/McCartney originals “Love Me Do”, “PS I Love You” and “Ask Me Why” and the pop standard “Besame Mucho”. Initially Martin is not very impressed with them until George Harrison famously quips that he doesn’t like the producer’s tie, when he asks the band if there’s something they don’t like after critiquing their performance. Harrison’s remark will break the tension and Martin is so charmed by their wit that he signs them. Now officially signed to EMI Records’ Parlophone imprint, The Beatles will return for their first recording date on September 4th. In the interim, original drummer Pete Best will be fired from the band in August, and is replaced by Ringo Starr. Thought to have been destroyed years before, the band’s original audition recordings of “Love Me Do” and “Besame Mucho” will surface in private collections during the 80’s and 90’s and are released for the first time on the compilation album “Anthology 1” in 1995.
On this day in music history: June 1, 1967 - “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, the eighth studio album by The Beatles is released (US release date is on June 2nd). Produced by George Martin, it is recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London from December 6, 1966 - April 21, 1967. Following the innovative and successful “Revolver” album, the band will further push the boundaries of popular music, with the aid of producer Martin, employing the use outside musicians, and various advanced studio techniques to augment their sound. Mid way through the sessions, Paul McCartney will come up with the concept of The Beatles taking on the guise of “Sgt. Pepper” as being an alter ego for themselves, giving them more freedom to be experimental musically and visually. Taking over 400 hours of studio time to complete, the end result will be regarded by many to be the greatest album of all time. The albums’ iconic cover art is designed by artists Peter Blake and Jann Haworth (photographed by Michael Cooper) features The Beatles dressed in military style uniforms backed by a collage of life sized cardboard cutouts of famous people. Original LP pressings will come with a custom psychedelic inner sleeve designed and painted by Dutch design collective The Fool (Simon Posthuma and Marijke Koger). “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” will spend 15 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is also nominated for seven Grammy Awards, winning four including Album Of The Year for 1967. “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” will be certified 8x Platinum in the US by the RIAA, and is inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame in 1993.
On this day in music history: May 30, 1966 - “Paperback Writer” by The Beatles is released (UK release is on June 10th). Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the first track to emerge from the recording sessions that produce the “Revolver” album. McCartney will come with the idea for the song after having a conversation with one of his aunts, asking him if he can write something that wasn’t about love or romantic involvement. During a writing session at Kenwood, John Lennon’s home in Weybridge, McCartney will see an article in the newspaper The Daily Mail about an aspiring author. The pair will write the lyrics in the form of a letter to a publisher, with the author asking that they consider publishing his book. Recorded at Abbey Road Studios on April 13th and 14th, the basic track of the song will be perfected in two takes, with the first take breaking down before complete. The single marks McCartney’s first use of his recently acquired Rickenbacker 4001 bass on a Beatles single, producing a clearer and more defined tone than his venerable Hofner bass. The band having complained about the lack of bass on their records (compared to American R&B records), recording engineer Geoff Emerick devises a way of getting a louder bass sound by using another loudspeaker as a microphone, also using a piece of outboard gear created by EMI’s technical engineers called “Automatic Transient Overload Control” during the mastering process. “Paperback Writer” will be The Beatles thirteenth US #1 single on June 25th (2 weeks non-consecutive). The B-side “Rain” (written by John Lennon, also credited to Lennon - McCartney), peaking at #23 on the Hot 100 on July 9th.
On this day in music history: May 30, 1964 - “Love Me Do” by The Beatles hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is the fourth US chart topper for “The Fab Four”. The song is the bands’ first single released in the UK and is first recorded on September 4, 1962. Not feeling that the song has been perfected, it will be re-recorded a week later on September 11, 1962. Unlike the original UK 45 release (#17 UK) which features Ringo Starr on drums, version two features session drummer Andy White on drums and Ringo on tambourine. It is this take that will become the common version of “Love Me Do” after EMI destroys the master and session tapes from the September 4th session that features Ringo on drums. The US 45 (belatedly issued as a single in the US on Vee Jay subsidiary Tollie Records in March 1964) uses the second version. The single’s B-side “P.S. I Love You” will also chart, peaking at #10 on June 6th. Vee Jay Records will only have the rights to The Beatles recordings it has released until the end of 1964. Capitol Records will claim exclusive rights to release the band’s music in the US, filing suit against Vee Jay Records. Having unsuccessfully blocked Vee Jay from releasing the “Introducing… The Beatles” album and a handful of singles, the Chicago based label will continue to recycle the material on a number of releases until its licenses run out. Experiencing financial problems (for various reasons) since 1963, Vee Jay Records will file for bankruptcy in August of 1966.
On this day in music history: May 24, 1969 - “Get Back” by The Beatles With Billy Preston hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 5 weeks. Written by Paul McCartney (credited to “Lennon - McCartney”), it is the seventeenth US chart topper for “The Fab Four”. The single will be the first music to emerge from the recording sessions that produce the “Let It Be” album and documentary film. The “hit single version” of the track is recorded at Apple Studios in London on January 27, 1969, after weeks of rehearsing and recording various takes of the song. At the invitation of George Harrison, musician Billy Preston will play keyboards (mainly electric piano and organ) during the sessions for two weeks. The Beatles enjoy his playing and affable personality so much that they will give him co-billing on the single when it is released (the only time another musician is credited along side the band). “Get Back” will also be The Beatles first single to be issued in stereo in the US (mono in the UK). An alternate, shorter take of the song will appear on the “Let It Be” album when it is released a year later in May 1970. It is released the UK the Friday before Easter Sunday on April 11, 1969, with the US release date being on May 5th. The delay being caused by Paul McCartney deciding to remix the track again days before its scheduled release in the UK, with US release date also being pushed back. In spite of this, the single will be an immediate smash. The Beatles will tie their own previous record for the highest ever chart debut on the Hot 100 (set by “Hey Jude” eight months earlier) when “Get Back” enters the chart at #10 on May 10, 1969, leapfrogging to the top of the chart two weeks later. “Get Back” will be certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
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 will carry a dual meaning. In part, it will be 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 will also make 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 will be 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. He will also be instrumental in arranging the song’s unique rhythm pattern, suggesting it to Ringo Starr. Released on April 9, 1965, it is the first release from the band’s second film “Help!”, set to be released in July. However, when the record is released in the US, Capitol Records will erroneously print 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 will also be backed with the initially non-LP B-side “Yes It Is”, recorded the day after “Ride” on February 16th. The song will be added to the US album “Beatles VI” in June of 1965, though in the UK it will 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” will zoom to the top of the chart four weeks later.
On this day in music history: May 8, 1970 - “Let It Be”, the 12th 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 will go astray as tensions between The Beatles come to a head during the sessions, leading to George Harrison temporarily walking out. Eventually, the project will be completed over a year after the initial recording takes place. Producer Phil Spector will be brought in sort through the hundreds of hours of tapes, editing, remixing and overdubbing to compile a cohesive and polished album. It will spin off two singles including “The Long And Winding Road” and the title track (both #1 Pop). In the UK, the album is originally issued as a lavish box set with a large 160 page paperback book (titled “Get Back”) featuring still photographs of the band taken by photographer Ethan Russell. The boxed edition will not be issued in the US (due to cost concerns), and is released in a gatefold jacket with United Artists having the rights to distribute it. The album will go 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 will reissue the album in a single pocket sleeve with a poster inserted into the jacket. “Let It Be” will spend 4 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified 4x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.
On this day in music history: May 4, 1977 - “The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl” 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 will come 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 will 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 will try again a year later when the band plays the venue again. The recordings will be equally disappointing overall and the tapes will be shelved. The project will be 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 will call George Martin to ask if he can create a releasable album from the tapes. The concerts originally recorded completely live to 3-track tape, will prove 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 will locate a working 3-track tape machine (which will constantly overheat, 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 will craft a seamless complete performance from the two concerts. Very well received upon its release, it will race up the charts around world. To date, the album has yet to be reissued in any digital format, over the years, bootleg copies of the original album, as well as unreleased outtakes from all three performances circulate among fans to this day. “The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl” will peak at #2 on the Billboard Top 200, and is certified Platinum in the US by the RIAA.