Musicians and singers are recreating the legendary Beatles’ album, – Please Please Me, in the same time and studio that the Fab Four did. Back in February 1963, The Beatles recorded their debut album Please Please Me at Abbey Road Studios in a 10-hour marathon of a session, and now, to mark the 50 year anniversary of the album, stars of the musical world are joining together to record the iconic tracks.
Groups and singers including The Stereophonics, Gabrielle Aplin, Joss Stone, Ian Broudie from The Lightening Seeds and Mick Hucknall, all turned up today at the studios to record their respective tracks. Newcomer to the music industry – Gabrielle Aplin was the first to arrive at the legendary Abbey Road studio, to record There’s A Place – the song with which The Beatles’ had started their historic recording session.
Then Radio 2 breakfast DJ Chris Evans and Welsh group The Stereophonics arrived in the same car minutes after her, with frontman Kelly Jones embarking on an impromptu busking session outside the studio with Evans.
The Stererophonics recorded I Saw Her Standing there, and Jones said the album “was the sound of a band capturing their raw energy”.
Then 25 year old songstress Joss Stone, aided by a full string section, recorded The Beatles’ cover of A Taste of Honey, taken from the hit film. Stone admitted that the song was a little new to her: “I wasn’t aware of the song actually, which is pretty bad. There are so many Beatles songs that I thought I would. What an idiot, but I’m glad it turned out alright.”
Next Lightening Seeds singer Ian Broudie covered Do You Want To Know A Secret – which originally carried vocals from George Harrison, and soul diva Beverly Knight recorded Twist And Shout.
As a sign of the times, when The Beatles recorded the album, they supposedly had a team of three to help them, today, the eleven artists that rocked up to the session had about three times as many.
Back in 1963, Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr already had four tracks they could put on the album – the singles Love Me Do and Please Please Me, plus the B-sides. However, they needed about ten more to finish the album and were booked at the studios in-between a hectic live schedule of touring, hence the rapid recordings. They had 30 gigs to perform in February including a tour with Helen Shapiro, plus a radio and TV show.
During the recording session, John Lennon was nursing a cold and had to drink tea, milk and and suck lozenges for his throat. They started recording at 10am and their first song was There’s A Place, which they managed in 13 takes. The band has originally only booked the studios for two three-hour periods, but added a third which ended the mammoth session at 10.45pm.
Mark Lewisohn, in his book The Complete Beatles Chronicle, wrote: “There can scarcely have been 585 more productive minutes in the history of recorded music.”
Broadcaster Stuart Maconie, who is hosting a BBC Four documentary about the Radio 2 recording, said it was hard to imagine the original sessions.
“I got here this morning and what struck me was that there are so many people here – bands, crews, journalists – and how different it must have been that morning 50 years ago when the Beatles arrived in their van.
“I’m fascinated whether they knew they were changing the history of the world. Did they have an inkling? I wonder if McCartney knew?”
A film about the broadcast, Please Please Me – Re-making A Classic, is on BBC Four at 9:00pm on Friday, 15 February. Meanwhile, you can catch up with the recording session on BBC2’s 12 Hours to Please Me programme on the website.
Source: BBC Entertainment