Saturday, October 30, 2010

1963, February 11: Back-Story, Part 2


This song was recorded fifth. Never intended to be a Beatles song, it was written specifically for Helen Shapiro, the popular British songstress with a deep masculine voice (nicknamed “Foghorn”), with whom The Beatles toured by bus beginning February 2, 1963. According to an interview in New Musical Express , which appeared February 1, 1963, “at Norrie Paramor's request, they were composing a song for Helen to record when she goes to Nashville shortly” (Paramor was Shapiro’s A&R manager). Paul explained, “We've called it ‘Misery,’ but it isn't as slow as it sounds. It moves along at quite a steady pace, and we think Helen will make a pretty good job of it.” Later, Paul made it sound that they determined to write a song for Shapiro without any invitation, that they were “young lads with an eye for opportunity"1, which I think is an incorrect memory since their reputation and credibility was still bland (“Love Me Do” only hitting #17, “Please Please Me” just released). Some sources extend Paul's pallid myth by saying that Brian Epstein was the motivator of this scheme.

With Shapiro's vocal range in mind, John and Paul began work on “Misery” backstage of their King’s Hall, Stoke-on-Trent show, January 26, 1963, finishing the song at Paul’s home on Forthlin Road1 on an unknown day, but probably at about the same time as "There's a Place." Narrowing down the date of composition, the aforementioned NME interview actually took place on January 27 (according to the article, it was a “Sunday”), and the song was at that point finished or almost so.

According to John, “It was kind of a John song more than a Paul song, but it was written together"2. Paul concurred roughly, “I don't think either one of us dominated on that one; it was just a job. You could have called us hacks, hacking out a song for someone"1. Norrie Paramor, upon hearing the song, rejected it immediately without letting Shapiro even hear it. Perhaps Paramor thought it “a droll portrait of adolescent self-pity”3.

Another performer on the tour, Kenny Lynch, heard “Misery” and was eager to record it. Receiving permission, Lynch later brought in session guitarist Bert Weedon to lay down some riffs. John, as it turned out, was upset and a little jealous at this, and confronted Lynch later in the office of Dick James (their music publisher), asking the singer, “What'd you want to have Bert Weedon on the session for? I would have played if you'd asked me”4. Lynch also changed the first line of the lyric from “the world is treating me bad” to “you’ve been treating me bad,” an attempt to bring the song from downbeat to soulful. The resulting single (HMV Pop 1136), issued March 22, 1963, was the first released Beatles cover version (Paul told NME in 1963, “We've also done a number for Duffy Power which he's going to record,” which was “I Saw Her Standing There,” released on April 26). Interestingly, Kenny Lynch appears on the cover of Paul’s 1973 album, Band on the Run.

RELATIVES: Take a peek at Norrie Paramor's career: here.

1 Miles, Many Years From Now, p.94
Sheff, All We Are Saying, p.169
MacDonald, Revolution in the Head, p.52
Norman, John Lennon: The Life



Sixth, but because the day’s recordings of this song were never used, we will put off the back-story until later.


"ANNA (Go To Him)"

This was the seventh song recorded. Originally written and performed by Arthur Alexander, a black singer from Alabama popular in England, “Anna” by Alexander hit #10 on the Billboard R&B listings, November 10, 1962. George recalled their discovery of Alexander and other American soul artists as they used to scour the NEMS record shop for unusual material: “Before going to a gig we'd meet in the record store, after it had shut, and we'd search the racks like ferrets to see what new ones were there. That's where we found artists like Arthur Alexander”1 (107). Paul explained more closely why they were so keen to dig up hidden gems: “There were groups that did Cliff and the Shadows. There was a group called the Blue Angels that sounded exactly like Roy Orbison; they were immaculate. The Remo Four did a lot of Chet Atkins stuff, with clever guitar picking. So we decided we couldn't keep up, we couldn't better any of them, we had to find our own identity. We looked on Bo Diddley B-sides, we looked for obscure rhythm and blues things: ‘Searchin’ by the Coasters (1957), ‘Anna’ by Arthur Alexander (1962)”2. “Anna” very quickly became part of The Beatles’ repertoire, showing up during their final Hamburg engagement3.

John in particular seemed to be enamored of Alexander. George said, “I remember having several records by him, and John sang three or four of his songs”1 (93). A partisan source claimed, “John Lennon was never quoted regarding his infatuation with Arthur’s music, but it was common knowledge that he was a huge fan”4 (by contrast, Russell wrote, “Arthur Alexander, as John Lennon later revealed, was a big influence on his early writing”5, but I have not discovered such a printed revelation).

Arthur Alexander was an extraordinary songwriter and, over the years, his compositions were recorded by not only The Beatles but also Bob Dylan (“Sally Sue Brown”), The Rolling Stones (“You Better Move On”), Ry Cooder (“Go Home, Girl”), and Elvis Presley (“Burning Love”). The Beatles performed several of Alexander’s songs, including “A Shot of Rhythm and Blues” (1963, June 1) and “Soldier of “Love” (1963, July 2), on their BBC Radio broadcasts.

(above) Arthur Alexander

1 The Beatles Anthology, pp.93, 107
Miles, Many Years From Now, p.82
Lewisohn, The Beatles Live!
Younger, Get a Shot of Rhythm and Blues: the Arthur Alexander Story, p.67
Russell, The Beatles on Record, p.27



Plowing ahead, the boys recorded this eighth. "Boys" was written by Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell, then recorded and released by the Shirelles in November 1960, as a B-side to “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” (Scepter 1211). The girl group’s single went to #1 in the US, and to #4 in the UK in the spring of 1961.

Pre-Beatles, Ringo, as part of Liverpool favorites Rory Storm & the Hurricanes, had his own "short set" called "Starr-time" which gave spotlight to his talents. During this set, he would often sing “Boys”1. Sometimes Cilla Black, then aspiring singer and cloakroom girl at the Cavern Club, would join Ringo onstage for a duet of the song2. The Beatles also performed this song onstage in 1961, with Pete Best on vocals2; and, when Ringo joined the Fab Four, he used it as a springboard to smoothing over the transition from Best to Starr. Thus, “Boys” was truly a Beatles song and a drummer’s song.

Although "Boys" was originally sung by a girl group, about the power in a boy's kiss, the Beatles cleverly turned it around. Their verses (“my girl says when I kiss her lips”) are specifically heterosexual. When Ringo raves about “boys” in the chorus, it’s clear that he's crowing about his own gender. “Presumably nobody in 1963 stopped to wonder why Ringo was singing a lyric that lauded the joys of boys, rather than the opposite sex”3. Paul noted, “It was so innocent. We just never even thought, ‘Why is he singing about boys?’ We loved the song. We loved the records so much that what it said was irrelevant; it was just the spirit, the sound, the feeling”4. However, a bit contradictorily, Paul also said that they did notice the sexuality aspect: “It was a little embarrassing because it went, ‘I'm talking about boys - yeah, yeah, boys.’ It was a Shirelles hit and they were girls singing it, but we never thought we should call it ‘Girls’ just because Ringo was a boy. We just sang it the way they'd sung it and never considered any implications”5. Still later, Paul stated the obvious, but played it off: “If you think about it, here's us doing a song and it was really a girls' song. ‘I’m talkin’ about boys now!’ Or it was a gay song. But we never even listened. It's just a great song. I think that's one of the things about youth - you just don't give a shit. I love the innocence of those days”6. But in sum, “It’s hard to resist this sort of line-by-line, excessively innuendo-seeking analysis even when it’s obviously overkill. According to their testimonies, the Beatles didn’t harbor any scandalous intentions with ‘Boys.’ The gay connotations of their cover were just incidental to the song’s addictively-exuberant quality that attracted them in the first place”7.

The Beatles Digest (2003), p.19
Clayson, George Harrison, p.85
3 Miles & Badman, The Beatles Diary: The Beatles Years, p.90
4 Miles, Many Years From Now, p.82
The Beatles Anthology, p.101
interview, Rolling Stone, October 2005
“Pop Matters” website: here



Number nine. "Chains" was written by the prolific husband-and-wife songwriting team of Gerry Goffin and Carole King, then recorded and released in 1962 by The Cookies (another girl-group), whose 45 (Dimension 1002) hit #18 on the Billboard chart, December 29, 1962. The Beatles probably chose this due to their fascination with the Goffin-King partnership. Lewisohn concurred, “Gerry Goffin and Carole King, very inspirational to John Lennon and Paul McCartney in their formative songwriting years”1, and Peter Asher said, “When the Beatles first came to America, that's who they wanted to meet: Goffin and King”2. Even more eye-opening, a full-page 1963 profile of the members of the Beatles in New Musical Express found Paul listing Goffin-King as his favorite songwriter team3.

In addition to “Chains,” The Beatles also performed Goffin-King’s “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” (1963, January 26) and “Don’t Ever Change” (1963, August 1), both on BBC Radio.

RELATIVES: Investigate the world of Goffin and King: here. Read more about the amazing Carole King: here.

Lewisohn, Recording Sessions, p.27
Weller, Girls Like Us, p.175
Perone, The Words and Music of Carole King, p.151



The tenth song recorded was written by Burt Bacharach (music), Luther Dixon (credited as Barney Williams), and Mack David (lyrics) in 1961, and released by the Shirelles on December 4, 1961, who took the song to #8 on the Billboard Singles chart, February 3, 1962. The Beatles performed this song onstage beginning in 1962, probably drawn by their fascination to Motown girl groups. George said, “We'd always loved those American girl groups, like the Shirelles and the Ronettes. So yeah, we developed our harmonies from trying to come up with an English male version of their vocal feel. We discovered the option of having three-part harmonies, or a lead vocal and two-part back-up, from doing that old girl-group material. We even covered some of those songs, like ‘Baby, It's You,’ on our first album”1. “The Shirelles must have been surprised to find two of their songs covered on one LP by an English male group, let alone the soon-to-be-godlike Beatles”2.

RELATIVES: Take a journey through history, and see the Motown girl groups: here.

1992 interview for Guitar World, printed January 2001
MacDonald, Revolution in the Head, p.56



The final song to be taped this day (actually, night) was co-composed by Phil Medley and Bert Russell (aka Bert Berns), the latter of whom went on to pen “Hang on Sloopy,” “I Want Candy,” and "Piece of My Heart" (among others), and founded two record labels, Bang and Shout. “Twist and Shout” was first recorded by The Top Notes in 1961, produced by pre-“Wall of Sound” Phil Spector, and released as a B-side (Atlantic 45-2115). Believing that Spector had done a poor job, Russell in 1962 offered the song to the Isley Brothers (who had had moderate success in 1959 with the raver “Shout”), producing it himself. This version (Wand 124) peaked at #17 on the Billboard charts.

The Beatles had previously played “Twist and Shout” on the BBC radio show Talent Spot, November 26, 1962 (now unavailable in any form), and it was also part of their Star Club set (1962, December 18-31).

GENERAL REFS: Winn, Way Beyond Compare; Lewisohn, Chronicles; Lewisohn, Recording Sessions; Castleman & Podrazik, All Together Now


Tom Wise

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

1963, January 22

(above) Beatles walking outside BBC Paris Studio

Brian Epstein had done a terrific job of securing The Beatles timely appearances, and this was no exception. The day after signing a deal with Vee-Jay Records, giving them access to America (Capitol Records had at this time politely declined), The Beatles were back on the radio for their first appearance on BBC Light’s Saturday Club, a rock and pop venue with tart host Brian Matthew and an audience of millions. The combination of their several TV and radio spots this January would push “Please Please Me” to #1, and Matthew was not without some foresight, his introduction of the band saying as much. The Beatles performed on January 22, between 4-5pm, at the Playhouse Theatre, London, and played five songs. The show was aired on January 26 from 10am-noon.

On the same day, the lads moved over to London's BBC Paris Studio where, from 7-8pm, they performed three songs for The Talent Spot. This show was broadcast on January 29, from 5-5:29pm ("Please Please Me" and "Some Other Guy" are unavailable).

(ref: Winn, Way Beyond Compare)



“SOME OTHER GUY” (Leiber/ Stoller/ Barrett) (Saturday Club)

“LOVE ME DO” (Saturday Club)

“PLEASE PLEASE ME” - fragments (Saturday Club)

“KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF MY BABY” (Goffin-King) (Saturday Club)

“BEAUTIFUL DREAMER” (Foster) (Saturday Club)

“ASK ME WHY” (Talent Spot)


AUDIO SOURCE: Purple Chick's The Complete BBC Sessions - Upgraded for 2004, Disc 1 provides the cleanest, most complete, and speed-checked experience. You can also hear the tracks: here.

Apple’s release of “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” (Live at the BBC) includes a manufactured instrumental intro where none existed (fake).

A comprehensive history of The Beatles at the Beeb bootleg releases is: here.

VIDEO: None.

ACETATE: A look at a possible acetate from this date is: here.

TOURISM: The BBC Paris Studio, where many famous BBC radio shows were recorded, was in Waterloo Place at the bottom of Lower Regent Street. It closed in 1995.


Tom Wise

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise.

1963, January 16

(above) photo taken January 16, at Granada TV, earlier in the day

When the Fab Four returned from Germany on January 1, 1963, it was the end of an era. Hamburg had been a place where the Beatles could let it all hang out, feeding on the excess and insanity (the long sets, the wacky stage antics, the uppers, the drink, the women) without it becoming a world-shaking event. Through the years, all of the Beatles have agreed with this assessment. George put it wistfully, “I’d have to say with hindsight that Hamburg bordered on the best of the Beatles times.”

Back in England, the boys returned to the road, stuffing their schedule with as many gigs as possible. Detrimentally, it was one of the coldest winters on record in the area, and several concerts were canceled. However , following the January 11 release of “Please Please Me”/ “Ask Me Why,” our Beatles were not to be deterred from recording key appearances on ABC’s Thank Your Lucky Stars (taped January 13, 1963; aired January 19), and on BBC Radio’s Here We Go, this installment’s focus.

On January 16, between 8:45-9:30pm, The Beatles performed in front of a zealous audience (again, at the Playhouse Theatre, Manchester), playing four songs (“Three Cool Cats” was cut from the show, and is currently undiscovered). This show was broadcast on January 25 at 5pm.

(refs: Winn, Way Beyond Compare; Lewisohn, Chronicles)





“CHAINS” (Goffin/King) – fragment


AUDIO SOURCE: Purple Chick's The Complete BBC Sessions - Upgraded for 2004, Disc 1 provides the cleanest, most complete, and speed-checked experience. You can also listen to the tracks: here.

You can find a comprehensive history of The Beatles at the Beeb bootleg releases: here.

VIDEO: None.


Tom Wise

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise.

Monday, October 25, 2010

1962, December 18-31 (various)

Although they were excited at having recorded their second single, one that George Martin guaranteed would be a top hit, The Beatles were obligated to return to Hamburg, Germany one more time, to fulfill a contract that seemed, to them, old and useless. Though they might have skipped out on this responsibility, both their honor and Brian Epstein’s integrity kept them on track to do their duty. Thus, on December 18, 1962, The Beatles returned to Hamburg for a two-week stint at the Star Club, their fifth and final series of engagements on the Reeperbahn (the nightlife strip and hub of the “red-light” district).

At some time between Christmas and New Year’s Eve (exact dates unknown), recordings were made of The Beatles as they played onstage. These recordings have often been dismissed as extraneous and amateurish. In 1998, George Harrison testified, “The Star Club recording was the crummiest recording ever made in our name. There was no organized recording. It was a wild affair; we were just a whole bunch of drunken musicians grabbing guitars”1. Nevertheless, there is (of course) a larger story.

1 Miles & Badman, The Beatles Diary: After the Break-Up, 1970-2001, p.592


To begin, there are various discrepancies among several sources concerning the details of the recording itself. The following list seeks to name, if not rectify, these discrepancies:

(1) Why were the recordings made? The claim is that Ted (Edward) “King-Size” Taylor (leader of The Dominoes, a Liverpool band playing at the club on the same dates as The Beatles) wanted a recording of The Beatles, and approached John Lennon to request permission for such. The claim continues that a bargain was struck: John would allow the recording if Taylor bought drinks. Allan Williams, former Beatles promoter who later became involved with this tape (more on this below), was probably the first to write about this claim (in 1975), saying further that it was beer1.

In a recent interview2, Taylor made comments that seemed to contradict this idea. At one point, he intimated that The Beatles just made the tape for themselves: “What used to happen, most bands who went onstage wanted to hear it, so they would walk past it and just switch it on. And sometimes it'd be left on all night. If you wanted to listen to a new member, you'd try it out. You'd just run it back and turn the tape over and over and over.” At another point, he plainly stated that he had no interest in The Beatles per se: “It wasn't done as a commercial thing to do The Beatles because, who were The Beatles? They didn't even have as good a band as mine. So why should I bother to try and record them? I certainly couldn't see The Beatles going anywhere at the time, and nobody around them could see them going anywhere or any further than anybody else”. This is supported by the fact that other bands were recorded on the same tape.

Even so, Taylor reiterated, in a 1998 court case between Apple and Lingasong (more on this below), the drink-for-permission claim. The judge in this case called Taylor’s evidence “confused and inconsistent”3. George Harrison, brought forth as a witness for the prosecution, testified, “The only person who allegedly heard anything about it is the one person who is dead”4.

(2) How were the recordings made? There is general agreement that the device used was a Mono reel-to-reel recorder, with a single low-fidelity microphone, running at half-speed (3 ¾ ips).

It has been widely-spread that the machine was a Grundig. However, Taylor, who purchased the recorder, said, “I'd been to the Berlin Radio Exhibition and I bought a tape recorder, which was two speed, four track. Portable as well, by the way... Phillips four track”2.

The placement of the microphone has some disagreement. Taylor2 said it was “suspended in the center of the Star Club.” Others say it was placed in front of the stage5.

There is a general idea that Adrian Barber, the soundman for The Star Club (and former guitarist for Merseybeat band The Big Three), conducted these recordings. Taylor contradicted this, letting the notion float that The Beatles monitored their own recordings: “It wasn't actually Adrian that recorded it. It was everybody that passed the tape machine... Adrian Barber was in charge of where the equipment was, and suspending the microphone.” This would follow, since the recorder was set up “by the side of the stage”2. Less-reliable sources claim that Taylor monitored the recordings.

(3) What was recorded?

It is widespread that there were multiple tapes. According to Taylor, however, “There was only ever one tape used”2. Taylor is well-supported on this5.

Although 30 songs were released in 1977 (more on this below), 40 performances were actually preserved on tape6 (this conflicts with Gottfridsson’s assertion, in his From Cavern to Star-Club, that 44 performances were preserved).

The songs preserved were scattered over several sets. The common belief has been that the songs derived from four sets, but Krasker’s analysis brings it to three6. Allan Williams estimated “three or four sessions”1.

1 Williams, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, p.229

2 “The King-Size Taylor Interview” here

3 Free-Lance Star, May 9, 1998: here

4 The Independent (UK), May 9, 1998: here

5 Billboard article, December 11, 1976: here

6 Krasker, The Star Club Tapes: The Set that Never Existed, 2002 article: here


When he left Hamburg, Ted Taylor brought the tape with him back to England. After The Beatles made it big, he approached Brian Epstein with the recordings, which were in their original form, that is, “crummy” (unedited and unprocessed). Brian thus offered Taylor £20, a pittance, which Taylor naturally refused1.

At this point, Taylor lost his verve and stored the reel in a kitchen cabinet. Several years later (possibly 1967 or 1968), his interest piqued again, Taylor (now a Liverpool butcher) approached engineer John Seddon, who owned a small recording studio (in Hackins Hey, Liverpool2), with the idea to improve the sound of the tape. However, little if anything was accomplished, partially because Taylor did not keep tabs on Seddon, partially because Seddon closed up shop soon thereafter3.

1 “The King-Size Taylor Interview” here

2 Williams, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, p.229

3 Curley, Beatle Pete, Time Traveller, pp. 83-84


This section is fraught with inconsistency, as follows:

(1) The tape remained forgotten for several years. Curley1 wrote that it was unearthed in late 1971. Williams2 placed the date as 1972. Taylor gave at least two different reports, reckoning 19723 but also 19734.

(2) The tape was said to have been retrieved from the abandoned offices of John Seddon, and Williams2 gave an elaborate description of that retrieval.

Taylor told that it “hung around in the cellar”3 but, in a separate account, he told reporters that he found the tape laying forgotten in a cupboard in his home4.

(3) The chain of events to the tape’s re-discovery is different in the several sources:

Allan Williams claimed that “by a million-to-one chance I bumped into this recording guy (Seddon)... and he told me that the tapes might still be in the derelict office. So this guy and King Size Taylor met for a drink one Sunday lunchtime and then got into the office. There, beneath a pile of rubble on the floor of the office, were the Beatles' Hamburg tapes2.

Taylor said that “I had to go and break into the place actually, funny enough a couple of doors down...well, a couple of streets down from one of the clubs, just throw them into a cardboard box in 1972. I happened to mention to Allan Williams that I had them... where, I don't know”3. Taylor also followed this chain in 19734 (except he said that he found the tape in the cupboard).

Note that by this point in the tale(s), the tape is now “tapes” or “them,” for whatever reason.

Spizer wrote that Williams “learned about the tapes from Ted Taylor” and “the pair arranged through a custodian to enter Seddon's shut down studio, where they found the boxes containing the tapes”5.

Other sources claim that Williams met with Taylor to discuss the possibility of a Dominoes reunion, at which time Taylor made a passing remark to Williams that the Star Club recordings existed, and were in Liverpool; and that, Williams (quite excited) urged the tape’s retrieval.

(4) Williams and Taylor came to an immediate conclusion to sell or release the deteriorated tape. They enlisted Mersey Beat editor and long-time Beatles friend Bill Harry to help with marketing. In 1973, after little success, Harry was asked to leave the partnership1. Also in 1973, Williams gave an interview to Melody Maker, and allowed interviewer Mike Evans to hear much of the tapes, and to write about them (more on this below).

(5) In 1975, Williams (with Taylor still a partner), began talks with George and Ringo2. The details surrounding the offers and counter-offers between the parties varies. In 1973, it was reported that Williams wanted “$250,000 and a percentage of the royalties”4. Williams wrote that they only asked for £5000, but that George and Ringo claimed to be strapped for cash, whereupon Williams launched into a tirade against them6. Taylor said that they put forth a 50% stake to The Beatles3. In any event, the offer was made.

1 Curley, Beatle Pete, Time Traveller, pp. 83-84

2 Williams, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, p.229

3 “The King-Size Taylor Interview” here

4 Montreal Gazette, July 13, 1973, where Taylor says he discovered it “a few weeks ago”

5 Spizer, The Beatles’ Swan Song: She Loves You and Other Songs, p.120

6 Williams, The Man Who Gave The Beatles Away, p.232

PART 4: A RECORD IS BORN: 1976-1977.

In late 1975, Allan Williams and Ted Taylor, having heard nothing from The Beatles, approached Paul Murphy, managing director of BUK Records, when the latter was promoting a Tony Sheridan concert in Liverpool. Murphy was immediately intrigued. After establishing that Taylor was the legal owner of the recordings (he had a rejection letter from Brian Epstein), Murphy purchased the rights, and the tape was transferred to multi-track tape (the transfer was to 16-track, but it has been variously reported to be 24- or 36-track). The tape was also subjected to massive amounts of processing and editing before it was thought suitable for release on Murphy’s newly-founded Lingasong Records label. These events took the greater portion of a year, and the amount estimated spent on each track was $12,000.

References this section:

Billboard article, December 25, 1976: here

Billboard article, December 11, 1976: here, where the processors are named.


It was a scam from the start. Taylor (and thus Williams) was almost certainly aware of the tape’s recording date, and the material (especially the between-song banter) anyway made it clear that this was The Beatles’ December 1962 trip to Hamburg. Williams, however, had been hawking it as April 1962, trying to skirt the fact that the June (or even September) 1962 contract with Parlophone made the tape the property of EMI, Parlophone, Apple, and/or The Beatles. Interestingly (and typically), it was the apathetic attitude of all these parties which allowed the project to go so far; for it was reported in Billboard that both EMI and Brian Brolley of McCartney Productions thought “the situation would have to be accepted.” Furthermore, a confident Paul Murphy commented that all legal obstacles to the issue of the recordings had been surmounted1.

The Beatles did, however, sue shortly thereafter, but the proposed injunction against the Lingasong release was denied on April 6, 1977, the judge ruling that The Beatles had waited too long to object, having knowledge of its release long before they acted to stop it2.

More information concerning the 1977 litigation known as The Beatles vs. Lingasong is: here.

1 Billboard article, December 25, 1976: here

2 Spokesman-Review, April 7, 1977: here


Paul Murphy leased worldwide rights to Double H Licensing, which released the 2-record set in Germany on the Bellaphon label, and in America on Lingasong, both 1977. Each pair of records contained 26 songs, although only 22 were common between them, four tracks being unique, bringing the total number of tracks released to 30.

John Lennon received a copy of the German product in 1977. In a letter to Double H, he told them (among other things) that there were four performances which were not The Beatles. Those four were the ones replaced on the Lingasong release. Read John’s written reaction: here.

PART 7: RE-RELEASES 1979-1990.

In 1979, Pickwick Records performed some additional audio filtering and equalization of the songs on the Lingasong US version, and released it over two volumes as First Live Recordings (SPC 3661/ 3662). The set included the song “Hully Gully” that was mistakenly credited to The Beatles, but was actually performed by Cliff Bennett and the Rebel Rousers, another act on the Star-Club bill1.

In 1981, after the Lingasong set was deleted from catalog, the rights to the tapes were sold to Audio-Fidelity, and again treated to a further re-mix/re-master. Audio-Fidelity’s UK release, The Beatles Historic Sessions (AFELD 1018), this time with all 30 tracks, suffered from inferior packaging, and erroneous liner notes and other information2.

There were other releases during this period, including Live in Hamburg ’62 (K-Tel), each with varying numbers of tracks.

1 Wikipedia

2 here


In 1991 Sony released a 2-CD set (AK 48544/ 48604, comprising 22 tracks), and in 1992 produced a version called Rockin’ at the Star Club (A 22131, comprising 16 tracks) for their Columbia House Music Club arm, but a Beatles lawsuit that same year prompted its withdrawal, the threat enough to remove it.


In 1995, Lingasong issued a CD with all 30 tracks. This time, The Beatles were more organized, and the ensuing lawsuit went in favor of them, the judge granting Apple and interested parties full ownership of the tapes and exclusive rights to their use.

At this court case, George Harrison was called to witness, and countered the “beer bargain” as null and void for several reasons: (1) even if John had given permission (which George doubted), all decisions by the group would have been unanimous, and George had never been consulted on this request1; (2) at the time of the recording, The Beatles were under contract to EMI, and therefore the recordings belonged to EMI, Parlophone, Apple, and/or The Beatles2; (3) “One drunken person recording another bunch of drunks does not constitute a business deal”1. George made other assertions, all common-sense in regards to ownership, and even regaled the court with some memories of those days2.

1 New York Times, May 9, 1998: here

2 The Independent (UK), May 9, 1998: here


Interestingly, although none of the Beatles thought the Star Club tape(s) to be of any value, it didn’t stop Apple from using bits of it for the 1996 Anthology VHS set.


AUDIO SOURCE: Background

What has always puzzled and frustrated fans for decades is the order in which the songs were played, that is, the set-list(s). Of course, the original tapes would solve that. As already mentioned, on August 4, 1973, an interview with Allan Williams was taken by Mike Evans, and it was in this interview that Williams told the order of the first four songs of one of the sets (along with miscellaneous other information). However, Lingasong, in corrupting the original order, left everyone in the dark for the rest.

In 1997, two different research projects, one by Martha Rednow and Ben Gesh, and one by Hans Olaf Gottfridsson, attempted to unearth every bit of Star Club material on tape and to organize the known tracks into accurate set-lists. At first, Gottfridsson, with integrity gathered from his terrific work with the Tony Sheridan sessions (1961, June 22-23, and 1961, June 24), was thought to be on target when he stated that there were 44 Star Club songs in existence, recorded over a span of four sets; and his set-lists were proudly reproduced by many experts, including Sulpy. But in 2002, Beatles historian Eric Krasker took Gottfridsson to task, and found instead that Rednow and Gesh, who posited 40 songs recorded over a span of three sets, were actually correct1,2.

1 Krasker, The Star Club Tapes: The Set that Never Existed, 2002 article: here

2 Interview with Eric Krasker, 2010: here

Happily, many of the original tapes have surfaced in recent years, making it possible to not only hear much of the music in unaltered state (including without the noise reduction and Duophonic processing), but also in context, that is, as a set-list. Purple Chick has been a leader in this field, receiving and using private tapes, rare recordings, and original vinyl to compile the greatest unprocessed collection of Star Club recordings ever made available to the public; with accurate set-lists, when known (some songs from the tapes remain in jigsaw puzzle form, pieces orphaned from their brethren due to absence of knowledge concerning their set-list positioning). Winn, in his book, reproduces Purple Chick’s set-lists.

Perusing the Purple Chick line-up, the tracks are divided over three (or so) sets, the dates still in question, but estimated as follows: (1) the first set is possibly from December 28, 1962, between 3-4 am, consisting of 13 songs, with chatter and intros for nearly all of them; (2) the second set was recorded sometime between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, 1962, and is thought to be an evening set, consisting of 21 songs, with chatter and intros for 12 of them (the first four known from the Evans article), and nine of the songs “orphans”; (3) the third set is possibly from December 31, 1962, and is thought to be an evening set, consisting of the 4 songs extant. Note that this brings the total of songs on the Purple Chick set to 38.

(ref: Winn , Way Beyond Compare; Sulpy, Complete Beatles Audio Guide)


The best source for all of the currently-available (38 of 40) unprocessed, unedited tracks is Purple Chick’s Star Club (also known as The Beatles Live Volume 1 – Star Club, when it is part of the boot collection The Live Collection, a.k.a. The Ultimate Live Collection).

Now, if you’re like me, and you enjoy the ambience created by Lingasong’s processing, I recommend the 1995 CD.

VIDEO: None.

PHOTOS & INFORMATION: From Hamburg: here.


Tom Wise

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise

1962, September 4: Back-Story

(above) Mitch Murray


John, Paul, and George (and probably Brian Epstein) had been under the misunderstanding that Pete Best was their only impediment on the way to studio freedom. Having divested of Pete for Ringo, they believed their troubles to be over. In fact, there was another storm a-coming, and The Beatles were ill-prepared for it.

Under the impression that they had knocked out George Martin with their catchy “Love Me Do” and quirky “P.S. I Love You,” they were quite dumbfounded when Martin delivered to them a song from a relatively-unknown composer which he felt more correctly befitted his new foundlings. This was Mitch Murray’s “How Do You Do It.” Martin loved The Beatles personally, but “frankly, the material didn't impress me, least of all their own songs. I felt that I was going to have to find suitable material for them, and was quite certain that their songwriting ability had no salable future!”1.

Mitch Murray was a pleasant lad who had on May 4, 19622 written “How Do You Do It," demoing it shortly thereafter for Barry Mason and Adam Faith, both of whom turned it down. Murray, on a mission of his own, approached Ron Richards of EMI (George Martin’s assistant), who in turn convinced publisher Dick James to purchase the rights to Murray's song. Here, the clarity of the narrative breaks down. Let’s examine three trails:

(1) Ron Richards said that he liked “How Do You Do It” so much that he “immediately” (probably May 1962) brought the demo to Dick James, who signed up for the publishing rights “straightaway.” After a “long time,” Richards took the Murray acetate from his desk, and played it to George Martin “much later” (possibly August 1962), when Martin was trying to decide what The Beatles ought to record for their first record3. This is the most plausible timeline.

(2) According to Dick James, Mitch Murray came to him (not to Ron Richards) with the demo, and James (not Richards) brought it ‘round to George Martin. But James’ story is full of holes. First, he said that Murray had been peddling his song with no success for six months. This is very much untrue (it was only a few weeks, at most). Second, James said that four months after The Beatles recorded “How Do You Do It” it was October 1962. This is also false4. We need not go any further. Nevertheless, James’ claim that he brought the demo to George Martin is supported by Davies (“Dick James rushed ‘round to George Martin”5) and Martin himself (“Dick James brought me a number”1). But Martin and Davies both have untenable dating positions. Martin wrote that "How Do You Do It" was rejected in favor of "Please Please Me" (George Harrison explained that Martin believed “How Do You Do It" could still be The Beatles’ second single6), and that this was the first rejection of Murray's song (following the “disappointment” of “Love Me Do” on the charts); but this is completely incorrect, since “How Do You Do It” actually contended with “Love Me Do” for The Beatles’ initial release. Davies (and Philip Norman) made the same chronological error, causing all their accounts to be at least doubtful (Norman further twisted the tale by claiming that George Martin went to Dick James7). It might even be incorrect to say that this song survived to November 26 (for consideration against “Please Please Me"), since Dick James said that he received a call from Martin in late October explaining that “How Do You Do It” would not be used in any way. Perhaps James misspoke on this point as well.

(3) Thompson agreed that Richards brought this song to Martin’s attention in the summer of 1962, but also claimed that this was before Dick James ever heard the song2. I think this makes little sense.

In any event, there came a time when George Martin was mulling choices for his Liverpool band, and he gave a listen to “How Do You Do It.” In his mind, it was a match. Ron Richards said that Martin felt the song would be “ideal for them”3. Martin’s description is more revealing. After he heard it, “I jumped up and said, ‘That's it. We've got it. This is the song that's going to make the Beatles a household name’”1. Norman wrote that Martin was “jumping up and down”7. Later, Martin effervesced somewhat less, saying, “I was convinced that ‘How Do You Do It’ was a hit song. Not a great piece of songwriting, not the most marvelous song I had ever heard in my life, but I thought it had that essential ingredient which would appeal to a lot of people”6.

The timeline then becomes fuzzy again, concerning when The Beatles received their marching orders. Ron Richards stated that, after he played the acetate for George Martin (about August 1962), the boss “sent a copy to Liverpool right away so that they could learn their parts”3. Winn supported this, and it makes the most sense. Paul, on the other hand, testified that (on June 6, 1962, obviously), “He gave us it on a demo, a little white acetate. We took it back to Liverpool,” and that, back home, they wondered, “What are we gonna do with this? This is what he wants us to do, he's our producer, we'll have to do it, we'll have to learn it”8. George Harrison (supposedly) said, supporting Paul, “When we first went to EMI and saw George Martin, he gave us a song. Some guy who was supposed to be a writer of pop songs wrote it. George said, ‘Here's a song. Go back and learn it’”9. George's account is flawed already, in that June 6, 1962 was not the first time that The Beatles met George Martin. Paul's story sounds nice, but there is no evidence that The Beatles ever tested "How Do You Do It" live (although both Winn and Unterberger maintain that they did). Thus, it seems that Ron Richards' account is the accurate one.

Having received the acetate sometime in August, there was little time to do much of anything except talk about it (and perhaps arrange it a little), and there was plenty to talk about. The budding stars wanted to be careful about their first step in the majors. They wanted to remain “bluesy” 8, they wanted to go in a “slightly artistic direction”, and they were ready to forego the Number One hit if it meant being fey to get it (and “God knows we needed a number one”10). Mainly, though, the lads worried about how recording “How Do You Do It” would affect their reputation with “all the lads in Liverpool”8. More to the point, they fretted over “peer pressure” that might force them out “into the wilderness”10. Apparently, John and Paul worried that even “Love Me Do” was only borderline-acceptable, (although good enough to be admired by “groups we respect") but with “How Do You Do It” they sincerely felt that they would be “laughed at”6. Coincidentally , our heroes were not alone in their reluctance; both Dick James4 and Mitch Murray2 expressed hesitation at letting the scruffy Liverpudlians record this “gem,” James giving George Martin a “sick look” when he found out.

There does not seem to be any truth to the notion that The Beatles determined to bring in an arrangement of Murray's song with a “my way or the highway” attitude; in actuality, the boys were afraid to make enemies of Martin and EMI, a natural fear, and were willing to bend to the end of their integrity (but no further). Arriving to the studio on September 4, they did, however, let it be known that they weren’t cozy with “How Do You Do It." George Martin, though, “read the riot act”1, and Lewisohn reported that, when The Beatles balked at recording “How Do You Do It,” Martin told them “when they could write a song as good as this one, then he would let them do that instead”3. Paul said that Martin lectured how the music biz works - songwriters, publishers, groups, blah, blah, blah – but they were adamant, yet diplomatic, saying, “It's a hit, George, but we've got a song, ‘Love Me Do.’” Martin said, “I don't think yours is such a big hit," to which they countered, “Yes, but it is us, and it is what we're about”6 (Paul's story-telling, while compelling, is also confusing, for he said that after this meeting they “went home” and "learnt it up," which would indicate that these conversations took place before September 4, 1962. With no breaks in their schedule, and most or all of their gigs taking place in the Liverpool area11, the only date that really fits is June 6. However, all the evidence points otherwise, which leads to the conclusion that Paul's memory was faulty).

In the studio, The Beatles duly recorded “How Do You Do It,” John at lead vocal. There is no truth to the idea that they deliberately made a poor showing of it, although both Mitch Murray2 (and possibly Dick James12) thought so. In the first place, our lads have always been thoroughly professional. In the second place, George Martin would have forced them to record as many takes as satisfied him. George Martin said, “They didn't like doing it, but we made a good record”6, and, “They never shirked on jobs. They really didn’t want to do it, but in the end they did quite a good job”3 Paul said that they did it, but they didn't like it, and they were still thinking that they wanted to go for “something new”8. This was quite revolutionary in 1962: that an unknown pop band might write their own songs rather than use accomplished songwriters. On this, they were forceful, and Martin understood. Paul said this was “symptomatic of our group” in the same way that they told Brian Epstein that they weren’t going to America until they had a Number One there6. Thus, after listening to the acetate, and to the opinions of our Beatles, Brian Epstein, and Mitch Murray, George Martin decided, on September 11, 1962, that this song would not, after all, be suitable for their first release together, and it was led to the EMI vault.

After The Beatles dropped it, Gerry and the Pacemakers were next offered the opportunity to record “How Do You Do It.” Gerry “leapt at the chance,” keeping the same Beatles tempo and arrangement8. Their version went to #1 on April 11, 1963, where it stayed for a total of three weeks, before being replaced by “From Me to You”13.

HISTORICAL FOOTNOTE: After “How Do You Do It” was officially rejected (probably October 1962), George Martin introduced Brian Epstein to Dick James over the phone. Brian was seeking a new publisher not only for The Beatles (he wasn’t happy with Ardmore and Beechwood), but also for a growing stable of Liverpool artists under his management. That was “the start of it”4. That is, it was the start of one of the greatest publishing success stories of all time. It also happened to be the genesis of the biggest betrayal; for, seven years later, Dick James sold his share in Northern Songs (the Beatles’ song catalog) to Sir Lew Grade, an act that precipitated John and Paul eventually losing authority over their own songwriting works.

References for “How Do You Do It”

1 Martin, All You Need is Ears, p.123, 128, 129

2 Thompson, Please Please Me: Sixties British Pop, Inside Out, pp.187-188

3 Lewisohn, Recording Sessions, p.19

4 Billboard, 9/18/71

5 Davies, The Beatles, p.166

6 The Beatles Anthology, p.77

7 Norman, Shout!, p.184

8 Lewisohn, Recording Sessions, p.8

9 Badman, The Beatles Off The Record, origin of quote unknown

10 Miles, Many Years From Now, p.83-84

11 Lewisohn, The Beatles Live!

12 Lewisohn, Chronicles, p.78




“Love Me Do” was written in 1958, when Paul was 16. Paul related that this song was “50/50” co-written with John1, but John took little credit for himself, saying he contributed perhaps “something to do with the middle eight”2. Iris Caldwell, Rory Storm’s sister, who Paul later dated, claimed that this song was written for her3. Paul said that “Love Me Do” was “us trying to do the blues. It came out whiter because it always does”4. Wryly, he also remarked that it was “our greatest philosophical song”5.

References for “Love Me Do”

1 Miles, Many Years From Now, p.37

2 Hit Parader, April 1972 (originally from Record Mirror, October 1971)

3 Harry , The Beatles Who Who (1982), p.30

4 Lewisohn, Recording Sessions, p.8

5 Interview, Paul with Alan Aldridge, 1967



Lewisohn told that “How Do You Do It” was completed in an unknown number of takes, and handclaps were added as overdubs. The rhythm track for “Love Me Do” took at least 15 takes. This may have been a consequence of Ringo as newcomer, or some “curious drumming technique” he employed, which possibly led to George Martin’s next move (1962, September 11). The vocals, superimposed next, also took a long time. Winn doubted Norman Smith’s claim that a “fair bit of editing” followed, citing lack of evidence. George Martin then mixed both songs to Mono and created acetates. According to John Barrett, two reels were used for this session, E47730 (which Winn called the recording reel, but which appears to be a master Mono reel) and E47776 (which Winn called the mix, but which appears to be the acetate). See Barrett's notes (in color): here.

(above) Acetate of "Love Me Do" thought to be from this session.

(above) Acetate of "How Do You Do It" thought to be from reel TL14063S, created 10/5/62; probably the disc used to make bootlegs, beginning 1976. Ref: here.

References for Recording and Mixing

Winn, Way Beyond Compare; Lewisohn, Recording Sessions; Sulpy, Complete Beatles Audio Guide (2006); Lewisohn, Chronicles, p.78


Tom Wise

Although I use quotes from sources, or cited fact, much of the material on this and other pages of my blog is original, from my own pen. This is not cut-and-paste, it is a work of art. Copyright © 2010 Tom Wise