Tuesday, December 28, 2010

1962, September 11: Sources: LOVE ME DO 2.0

“LOVE ME DO” 2.0

General Description. This is “Version 2” (the Andy White version), which can also be termed the “common version” because it is found on so many Beatles releases. There is tambourine throughout the song, most prominent during the harmonica solo, not heard on the “Ringo Version.”

Variations. This Mono mix begins with Variation 2.0, as it is an entirely new recording from the September 4, 1962 "Ringo" version (Variation 1.0). Any mastering differences for "Love Me Do" 2.0 have not been given any new Variation.

The "Re-Channeled Stereo" mix is designated Variation 2.1 because it was actually remixed this way by George Martin, though it was in fact derived from Variation 2.0. There are no further Variations.

_______________________________________________________________________

AUDIO SOURCES

Sonic Ratings. All recommended sources will receive a subjective sonic rating, either Excellent, Very Good, or Good. This subjective rating is based on various factors, including (1) clarity vs. murkiness, (2) smoothness vs. distortion (including harshness) or peaking, (3) balance vs. over-loud elements (for example, too much emphasis on bass), and (4) comparison to other sources under a particular category (for example, Mono). Any source not given a rating of at least Good will at least be provided explanatory notes (including whether or not I’ve heard that source).

Price Tags. Vinyl sources will include an estimated 2010 price tag in US dollars, taken mainly from completed eBay auctions.

Terminology. "Analog" refers only to vinyl. No tapes were tested.

_______________________________________________________________________

MONO

Mix Information. By the time Mono mixing for the Please Please Me album took place, on February 25, 1963, the original twin-track master tapes for "Love Me Do" 2.0 had been destroyed . This had nothing to do with the fact that “Love Me Do” 1.0 had been used for the premier single, for it is that the master tapes for “P.S. I Love You” (the flip side to the single) had also been discarded (per EMI protocol, we are told). Therefore, George Martin was literally forced to use the “Love Me Do” 2.0 Mono mix (on reel E47852) for the LP reel.

UPDATE January 30, 2011. After looking more closely into John Barrett's notes (here), I now believe that "Love Me Do" 2.0 was recorded in Mono, not twin-track Stereo, onto EMI Reel E47852. Therefore, no twin-tracks existed to destroy, nor was any Stereo mixing ever possible. This Mono reel is now missing or destroyed. "Love Me Do" 2.0 remained viable through the preservation of the single master EMI Reel TL14063 (although "Love Me Do" 1.0 was obviously the single version for some time), which also saved "P.S. I Love You" 1.0 and "How Do You Do It." "Please Please Me" (Andy White Version), also originally included on EMI Reel E47852, remained viable (released on Anthology) by its preservation on acetate. And, though I previously reported that no acetates for "Love Me Do" 2.0 had been created, one was auctioned through Sotheby's in 1997.

Mastering Issue #1. I have for a long time worked under the assumption that there is some mastering flaw of note in certain releases of "Love Me Do" 2.0 which is not in certain other releases of the same Variation. In particular, there is supposedly in such flawed releases an embedded error, which has been described as a swishing sound. According to the information I've gathered, this error originated when the Mono mix was copied to the LP reel. The trouble began, they say, when the Mono mix tape was transferred (that is, played) through a Stereo tape deck, rather than a proper Mono tape deck. Ostensibly, some unnoticed mechanical deviation was taking place during this transference, the general concept being that the azimuth of one of the Stereo tape deck heads was misaligned, causing some degree of phasing or other out-of-sync behavior. The story continues that, for some reason, the EMI engineer(s) on duty pushed the "Mono" button on the transferring Stereo tape deck, making a relatively small problem permanent. The accusation is that, by "summing" the two discrete Left and Right channels into Mono (whether we call the result true Mono or a Mono fold-down, it makes no difference), the entirety was caused to become contaminated (as if a little red paint was intermixed with a pail of white paint, causing pink).

Now, in order to make this swish come to life in my own ears, I was instructed to compare closely "Love Me Do" on the CD EP box set (said to have no swish) with that track on the 1987 CD album Please Please Me (said to have swish). But though I labored intensely not only with this comparison, but many others like it, I remained deaf to that particular sound, and I also could not make it appear by any audio editing wizardry. Nor could I determine the existence of a swish through circumstantial evidence. Specifically, though I expected all said "contaminated" examples of "Love Me Do" 2.0 to be of inferior sound quality, I instead found some to be superior, and, conversely, I found some "uncontaminated" examples to be inferior. As a result, as far as I am now concerned, there is no swishing sound on any example of this Variation.

UPDATE February 2, 2011. If the swishing sound is at about 0:55 into the song, it is on every source, and more noticeable on the CD EP than the CD LP.

Nevertheless, I shall endeavor to make a distinction on this page, listing separately those sources which have been reported to carry the "contaminated" master of "Love Me Do" 2.0 from those sources which reportedly carry an "uncontaminated" master. But I cannot say from personal experience that such distinctions are correct.

Swishing positively reported: here, here, and here.

Mastering Issue #2. Despite some reports, I found no additional reverberation on any example of this Variation.

UPDATE February 2, 2011. It is *possible* that the US 45 (Tollie 9008) has a bit more reverb than other sources, but it is not very noticeable.

Imbalance. While futilely attempting to uncover a swish, I did rather discover that "Love Me Do" 2.0 has mastering imbalances of several varieties, differing from source to source. In cases where I was able to test for such imbalance, I provide details.

But whether any mastering imbalance has something to do with a swish, I cannot say, for I heard and saw the one but not the other. Further rejecting such a corollary is that I discovered on the same source (for example, the CD LP) imbalance in tracks which have no report (or expectation) of a swish. Imbalance also does not necessarily dictate an inferior sonic experience.

Terminology. For our purposes, I shall call those examples of "Love Me Do" 2.0 thought to have a swishing sound (the "contaminated transfer") a "wet master" (“wet” meaning with some additional processing, which, for this Variation, was unintentional), and those thought to not have a swishing sound (the "uncontaminated transfer") a “dry master” (“dry” meaning without additional processing). By using these terms, I am not confessing their truth, only that reliable persons (audiophiles) have reported a swish. I remain unconvinced.

"FLAC signature" and "Channel Duplication Solution" are terms under the subject of imbalance, discussed: here.

End of Song. The last sounds in the fadeout of “Love Me Do” 2.0 are five notes of a harmonica riff (1 note after a long harmonica note), over and following “Yeah, love me do.” All of it can be heard on (at least) the 12-inch UK 45 and the 2010 CD edition of The Beatles 1962-1966. On many sources, the fade comes a little earlier.

DRY MASTER: ANALOG

UK 7-inch 45 (1976)

$5-10 single; $110-200 box set

General. This 45 (Parlophone R-4949) marked the first time that Variation 2.0 replaced Variation 1.0. It was also part of the "Green Sleeve" box set (aka "The Black Box"), released by World Records in 1977. The lacquer ("-2") was cut on a Neumann lathe.

My Source. Vinyl box set.

Swish. Although transferred by Stereo tape deck, no swish was noted.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Wide dynamic range. Bad: Tambourine, harmonica, and vocal reflect a brightness, with some sibilance.

UK 7-inch 45 (1982)

$5 or so single; $200-250 box set

General. This (Parlophone 45-R-4949) was a 20th-Anniversary issue , and also part of The Beatles Singles Collection (EMI BSCP1), released 1982. "Love Me Do" from this charted as high as #4 in the UK. This is the third mother ("3") from the same 1976 transfer (lacquer "-2").

Swish. Unknown.

Imbalance. Unknown.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

UK 12-inch 45 (1982)

$10-15

General. This 20th-Anniversary issue (Parlophone 12R-4949) is possibly from the same 1976 transfer.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl, Australia pressing. (2) Vinyl, UK pressing (mastered by Harry T. Moss, "-2" lacquer)

Swish. Said to be absent. I heard none.

Imbalance. Untested electronically. Mono summing produced no audible change.

Sonic Rating. UK pressing, GOOD. Good. In some ways, this is a vast improvement over the Australian pressing, the balance between harmonica and tambourine so much better, and smoother vocals. Bad: The bass is timid. But the worst of it is a sibilant moment at the line "someone like you" that I normally only hear on the Re-Channeled Stereo mix. I can fix this by summing to Mono, but why should I?

Australia pressing, VERY GOOD. Good: Clear bass. Sharp vocal. Natural harmonica. Bad: Some peaking in the vocals and tambourine.

UK 7-inch Picture-Disc 45 (1982)

$15-20

General. This 20th-Anniversary issue (Parlophone RP-4949) was probably derived from the same 1976 transfer.

Swish. Unknown.

Imbalance. Unknown.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

UK EP The Beatles' Hits (1963)

$5-50, the lower price for the reissue from the vinyl box set

General. This (Parlophone GEP 8880) is also part of The Beatles EP Collection 1981 vinyl box set.

My Source: Vinyl box set.

Swish. Absent.

Imbalance. Yes.

The CDEP is reportedly remastered differently (see below).

Sonic Rating. GOOD. Good: Decent dynamics, with fairly nice bass. Bad: Harmonica overbearing. Some sibilance. Harshness.

Dry Master: Analog, Notes

(1) Originally, I thought Tollie 9008 to be a dry master, that is, from the original Mono mix. This I concluded from hearing the terrific dynamics on that 45, and noting no swish. I was furthermore persuaded by policy reports which said that EMI had sent to Vee-Jay the LP (wet) master of Please Please Me for the first version of Introducing the Beatles, but delivered separately the 45 (dry) master of "Love Me Do" 2.0 for this single (Tollie being a Vee-Jay Records subsidiary). However, such a policy should not apply in this case since no UK 45 release of this Variation had yet taken place. Furthermore, by the time Tollie 9008 was pressed, in April 1964, Vee-Jay was already embroiled legally with Capitol Records, making it I think highly unlikely that EMI would have been in a position to continue business-as-usual with Vee-Jay, even had they desired so. Therefore, though my ears tell a different story, I have placed Tollie 9008 under the category of "Wet Master: Analog."

(2) Regarding the American version of the 1982 20-Anniversary 45 (Capitol B-5189), I assume it is a dry master, but an inferior (Capitol) pressing. I haven't heard it yet.

DRY MASTER: DIGITAL

CD EP The Beatles' Hits (1992)

General. Spectrum analysis shows this to be a somewhat quieter version of of the same track on 1, and thus the designation here as dry master.

Whether this is a remaster from the LP master (that is, either a type of digital fold-down or a channel replication), or if it is a brand new transfer from the Mono mix reel (as ostensibly was the 1976 UK 45), I do not know.

This is from the CD EP box set, although it can also be found at auction as a separate CD.

My Source. CD box set. Note. Dr. Ebbetts' UK EP Collection (2000 edition) used the CD EP, not vinyl, for this track (checked with Audacity).

Swish. Absent.

Imbalance. None.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Gained moderately for maximum warmth. Deep, mellow bass. Bad: Some elements are too bright, such as tambourine and vocals, the latter of which has a bit of sibilance.

2-CD 1 (2000)

General. Whether this is a remaster from a previous wet master, or is a brand new transfer from the Mono mix reel, I do not know.

My Source. 320 kbps mp3.

Swish. Absent.

Imbalance. None. Spectrum analysis showed similar, but weaker, characteristics as FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. GOOD. Good: Love the bass. Clear and natural harmonica. Bad: Vocals and tambourine are a bit loud, even shrill to some extent. Possibly some limiting was used also. Reports of noise reduction and attendant sterility. Spectrum analysis shows this to be a somewhat louder replica of the same track on the CD EP. Thus, their similarity, but also the shrillness here.

CD Please Please Me - Remaster (2009) - Mono & Stereo

General. Both the Mono and Stereo Remaster albums utilize Variation 2.0 (rather than the Stereo album carrying Variation 2.1).

Spectrum analysis shows this track on the Mono Remaster to be a slightly-quieter version than that on the 2010 edition of The Beatles 1962-1966 CD, which supposedly keeps them both as dry masters. The Stereo Remaster is a somewhat louder replica of that on the CD EP, and a near-replica of that on 1, which seems to approve it as the dry master.

My Source. FLAC for both.

Swish. Absent, whether Mono or Stereo.

Imbalance. No audible imbalance. Both Mono and Stereo contained FLAC signature. Spectrum analysis of WAV file from CD showed same characteristics as FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. Mono, EXCELLENT. Good: Pleasant subdued bass. Wonderful vocals. Natural harmonica. Bad: Tambourine just a bit loud.

Stereo, gained higher, causing a bit of harshness. I prefer the Mono.

2-CD The Beatles 1962-1966 (2010)

General. Whether this is a remaster from a previous wet master, or is a brand new transfer from the Mono mix reel, I do not know.

My Source. CD.

Swish. Absent.

Imbalance. None. Spectrum analysis of WAV file from CD showed same characteristics as FLAC signature.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Bouncy bass. Natural tambourine. Bad: The vocals seem a bit distorted, and the harmonica a drop too loud.

WET MASTER: ANALOG

UK LP Please Please Me (1963) - Mono

$20-1000.

General. Details for various incarnations of this album are: here.

Swish. Swish reported for all. I can't hear it.

My Sources:

First "-1N" lacquer, 4th pressing, WAV.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum Stereo artifacts to about 16 KHz, peak about -36 db. Not a big deal.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Warm bass, rich mid-range. Bad: A little bit ragged on the vocal, probably the result of its transparency (a little too revealing!).

1982 Reissue, WAV.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum Stereo artifacts to about 14.5 KHz, with a few more in the 15.5 area, peak about -45 db. Not a big deal.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Very similar to the 1960's original. Bad: A little less dynamic than the 1960's original.

Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum digital noise Stereo artifacts to about 19 KHz, peak about -51 db. Candidate for Channel Duplication Solution.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Better mid-range and non-invasive highs. Guitar and drums audible. Bad: The bass and vocals are a little less-pronounced here than on other masters, a result I think of EQ.

Pbthal needle-drop FLAC.

Imbalance. Inaudible fluctuations visible. FLAC signature. I'm not sure what method was used to remove the inherent imbalance.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good: Smooth bass. Balanced attack. Bad: Mid-range not quite as strong as Ebbetts. A tiny bit of distortion, even though gained moderately.

Millennium Remasters Red Wax Japan LP needle-drop 320 kbps mp3.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum distorted Stereo artifacts to about 20 KHz, peak about -24 db.

Sonic Rating. I was hardly impressed with the EQ or dynamics on this recording, and would describe this as muffled.

Pbthal Red Wax Japan LP (Toshiba EAS-70130) needle-drop FLAC.

Imbalance. Inaudible fluctuations visible. FLAC signature. I'm not sure what method was used to remove the inherent imbalance.

Sonic Rating. I'm just not impressed with the red wax in any way.

US 7-inch 45 (1964)

$5-20

General. "Love Me Do" from this release (Tollie 9008) managed to take #1 on the Billboard chart, May 30, 1964.

This is probably the same master found on the first version of Introducing the Beatles (VJ LP 1062), as well as on the singles Oldies OL 151 (Oldies a Vee-Jay subsidiary) and Starline 6062 (Starline, a subsidiary of Capitol, after taking the helm from Vee-Jay, supposedly re-released "Love Me Do" 2.0 from the Vee-Jay masters).

My Sources. (1) "Thin box" yellow-label. (2) "Thin box" black label. (3) "Thick box" yellow label. (4) Ebbetts' U.S. Singles Collection (which claims to use the Tollie single: here) FLAC.

Swish. Inaudible.

Imbalance. Tollie 9008 untested electronically, but no audible change when summing to Mono. Ebbetts, none.

Sonic Rating. "Thin box" (black label), EXCELLENT. Good: Pounding bass. Beautifully-toned vocals, just a bit loud. Natural tambourine. Love the mid-range. Bad: The harmonica is the culprit, just a little too loud.

"Thin box" (yellow label), VERY GOOD. A bit brighter, and a tad sibilant.

"Thick box" vinyl, not up to par. A big bass makes it boomy. Low gain makes it murky.

Ebbetts, VERY GOOD. Good: Quite a bit like the vinyl. Bad: Some distortion.

Wet Master: Analog, Notes

(1) I also tested the Mexican EP (EPEM 10037). Not terrible, but low bass output, and gained just a little too loud for my taste.

WET MASTER: DIGITAL

2-CD The Beatles 1962-1966 (1993)

General. "Love Me Do" on this release is supposedly an exact duplicate of the CD EP master, but that certainly seems inaccurate.

My Source. 320 kbps mp3.

Swish. Inaudible.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum Stereo, plus digital noise, artifacts to about 18 KHz, peak about -28 db. Excellent candidate for Channel Duplication Solution.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Hard to dislike. Bad: The vocal has a few ragged edges. Some compression possibly used, as there seems to be a little echo here and there which is unique to this release (no new Variation).

CD Please Please Me (1987) - Mono

My Source. CD.

Swish. Reported audible, counter-reported not audible. I don't hear it.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum Stereo artifacts to about 12.5 KHz, peak about -45 db. No big deal. Though there is a slight gain imbalance, I noted no improvement in sound quality with Channel Duplication Solution.

Sonic Rating. Just mediocre. The vocals, while enjoyable, are strident and a bit peak-y. Bass is somewhat stripped out.

CD 45 (1988-89)

General. Also available on The Beatles Singles Collection CD box set (1992), this, like its 1976 cousin, substitutes in Variation 2.0 on the A-side.

My Source. CD.

Swish. Inaudible.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum Stereo artifacts to 22 KHz, peak about -44 db. During channel inversion test, there were random and many pops, as a stylus over faulty vinyl. These were not only audible, but also visible as spikes to -12 db. The channel gain is also slightly imbalanced. This profile fits the report that the CD 45 was mastered not from the vinyl 45 master but from the analog (or even digital) LP master, then further processed.

Sonic Rating. Looks and sounds nearly identical to the CD LP, except gained hotter for more distortion.

_______________________________________________________________________

RE-CHANNELED STEREO

Mix Information. Re-Channeled Stereo (a.k.a. Fake-Stereo, Mock-Stereo, Duophonic) is simply a manipulation of an existing Mono mix. Some of these type mixes are well-done, some sound like death. Usually, they come about because there is no existing Stereo mix, and the master tapes are not available. This is the case with “Love Me Do.” There is no reason to dismiss this mix completely, since it was created by George Martin for a specific purpose, that is, to fill the gap left by a missing true Stereo mix. Like the Mono, this mix was also created on February 25, 1963.

This mix has normally low frequencies about Center, and high frequencies halfway-Right, approximately thus ("L" = low frequencies, "H" = high frequencies):

Left _______________L____H____ Right

Mastering Difference #1. The Beatles 1962-1966 U.S. vinyl manipulated the sound of this Variation to the Left, approximately thus:

Left ________L____H___________ Right

You can re-create this by playing "Love Me Do" 2.1 from the Stereo Please Please Me LP with the Balance control set to the Left (no new Variation).

Mastering Difference #2. UPDATE February 4, 2011. The second lacquer for German Stereo pressings of Please Please Me, including Die Beatles (details: here), is normally considered to have less processing (to be drier, specifically lacking a perception of echo) than every other Stereo pressing. However, on sources tested (vinyl, pbthal FLAC, Dr. Ebbetts), "Love Me Do" 2.1 had no such difference.

Sibilant Moment. This Variation on the UK LP contains a major sibilant moment (on the line "someone like you!"). Therefore, it is an "original" flaw. This flaw has been "repaired" on several releases, detailed below where necessary.

End of Song. The last sounds in the fadeout of “Love Me Do” 2.1 are five notes of a harmonica riff (1 note after a long harmonica note), over and following “Yeah, love me do.” You can just about catch it on the UK version of The Beatles 1962-1966.

RE-CHANNELED: ANALOG

UK LP Please Please Me (1963) - Stereo

$50-24,000

General. Details for various incarnations of this album are: here.

My Sources:

UK LP, Two-box label, "-1" lacquer.

Sibilant Moment. Yes.

Sonic Rating. Good. Original intent. Clear. Bad. It's a little bright, which causes the sibilance.

Pbthal UK LP "Tube-Cut" needle-drop FLAC.

Sibilant Moment. Yes.

Sonic Rating. Exactly like my UK LP.

UK LP from the The Beatles Collection ("Blue Box"), Two-box label, "-2" lacquer.

Sibilant Moment. Yes.

Sonic Rating. Exactly like my UK LP.

Dr. Ebbetts UK LP "Blue Box" needle-drop 320 kbps mp3.

Sibilant Moment. No.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good. The mid-range is beefed-up. Paul's bass is now springy. Bad. Not the original intent.

Dr. Ebbetts (original) MFSL Japan LP (MFSL 1-101) needle-drop FLAC.

Sibilant Moment. Yes.

Sonic Rating. This edition has a lot of problems, including too-high gain.

Dr. Ebbetts (2008 Upgrade) MFSL Japan LP needle-drop 320 kbps mp3.

Sibilant Moment. No.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Extremely close to the sonic qualities of the Ebbetts "Blue Box" track.

Germany LP Please Please Me (Apple Electrola 1C 062-04219), "-2/-2" lacquer.

Sibilant Moment. No.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Good. Original intent (not drier). Springy bass. Clear and delightful. Bad. If anything, just a little thin in the bass frequencies.

Pbthal Die Beatles "-2/-2" lacquer FLAC.

Sibilant Moment. No.

Sonic Rating. EXCELLENT. Same as my German LP.

US LP The Early Beatles (1965) - Stereo

$10-20

General. This was the Capitol (ST-2309) abridged reissue of Introducing the Beatles. Louder bass frequencies give the impression of some channel movement, but it's an illusion. Despite claims to the contrary, "Love Me Do" 2.1 does not have much, if any, extra reverberation on this source. Therefore, I designate no new Variation here.

My Sources: (1) Vinyl (orange label; also, Apple label). (2) Dr. Ebbetts needle-drop FLAC. (3) The Capitol Versions Vol. 2 FLAC (since this is actually digital, I cheated here). The Capitol Versions, even louder than Ebbetts (disqualified from further testing). I am not convinced that Ebbetts did not use the Capitol Versions CD as his foundation.

Sibilant Moment. Yes.

Sonic Rating. Vinyl, too much bass makes for murkiness, the sibilant moment retained anyway. I heard at least one other technical flaw (tape dropout or lacquer skip) in the Capitol mastering.

Ebbetts, same as vinyl.

2-LP The Beatles 1962-1966 (1973) - Stereo

$2-20, depending on the country of origin

General. Whereas the CD's use the Mono, the original vinyl releases used the Re-Channeled Stereo. As previously mentioned, both channels have been moved Left on the U.S. edition.

My Sources. (1) Vinyl, US issue (SKBO-3403). (2) Pbthal's UK (PCSP 717) needle-drop FLAC, (3) Dr. Ebbetts' U.S. needle-drop FLAC.

Sibilant Moment. No, whether US or UK.

Sonic Rating. Pbthal UK, EXCELLENT. Sounds almost exactly like his Die Beatles needle-drop, and spectrum analysis bears this out.

Vinyl US, VERY GOOD. Good. Unlike The Early Beatles, this isn't murky, but has a nice punch. If you sum this to Mono, it amazes you. Bad. The highs peak a bit.

Ebbetts US, a little too bright.

LP 20 Greatest (1982)

$5-10


General. This is Capitol SV-12245.

My Sources. (1) Vinyl. (2) Dr. Ebbetts' needle-drop 320 kbps mp3.

Sibilant Moment. No (vinyl).

Sonic Rating. LP, GOOD. Good. Has similar qualities to the German LP. Bad. Gained very low.

Ebbetts, pushed up the gain, but ended up accentuating flaws. Shrill and sibilant.

_______________________________________________________________________

MONO FOLD-DOWN: ANALOG & DIGITAL.

Bruce Spizer, in his book The Beatles Story on Capitol Records, Part Two, wrote that Capitol used the true Mono mix of “Love Me Do" 2.0 on the 1965 Mono LP The Early Beatles (Capitol T-2309). However, I think it is almost certainly a Mono fold-down, that is, Mono-from-Duophonic (from Re-Channeled Stereo). The 2006 CD set, The Capitol Albums, Volume 2 used the same. This “mix” is not collectible nor a Variation, as you can “make” it yourself by pushing the “Mono” button on your amplifier. For a few more details on the original album, go: here.

_______________________________________________________________________

STEREO

None. There were never any Stereo master tapes or twin-tracks.

______________________________________________________________________

VIDEO SOURCES

None for this session. The official promo videos use the “Ringo Version” (1962, September 4).

_______________________________________________________________________

Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

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: Sources: LOVE ME DO 1.0

(above) September 4, 1962 publicity shot w. Ringo

“LOVE ME DO” 1.0

General Description. This is the “Ringo Version.” In relation to the “Andy White Version” (1962, September 11), this has no tambourine in the song, and instead there are hand-claps during the harmonica solo.

Variations. There is only one Variation (1.0), mastering issues notwithstanding.

Generations. (1) “Love Me Do” 1.0 was released in the UK, October 5, 1962, as the A-side of The Beatles’ premier single. EMI also sent metal masters from the lacquer to Sweden (and possibly Norway and Finland), for a March 1963 release. This was the first generation.

(2) All other countries received the UK 45, not tapes or metal parts, to dub for their own release. This was the second generation.

(3) Not long after, the original twin-track master tape for “Love Me Do” 1.0 was trashed (per EMI protocol, we are told), and the Mono mix tape was lost shortly thereafter. According to EMI’s Mike Heatley,

I'll tell you the story. We did not have the original tape of ‘Love Me Do.’ It was removed at the time the Beatles' Hits EP came out (September 1963). The company were instructed at that time not to use the original single version for the EP, but to substitute the album take instead” (interview, Record Collector magazine #50, October 1983).

UPDATE January 30, 2011. After looking more closely into John Barrett's notes (here) and Mike Heatley's comments, I now believe that "Love Me Do" 1.0 was recorded in Mono, not twin-track Stereo, onto EMI Reel E47730. Therefore, no twin-tracks existed to destroy, nor was any Stereo mixing ever possible. EMI Reel E47776 likely represented an edit reel for "Love Me Do" 1.0, and (if there were no edits) a safety copy for "How Do You Do It." Both Mono reels are now missing or destroyed. "How Do You Do It" remained viable for the planned Sessions album by its inclusion on the single master EMI Reel TL14063 (and a later-discovered 7" acetate), but "Love Me Do" 1.0 was cut from TL14063 in favor of "Love Me Do" 2.0. In 1967, when "Love Me Do" 1.0 was discontinued from the EMI catalog, the lacquer, mother, and all stampers for the UK 45 were destroyed, thus making it impossible to press any further first-generation releases.

(4) When in 1980 it was decided to include "Love Me Do" 1.0 on the US LP Rarities, it was necessary to make a needle-drop copy (a dub) from circulating vinyl, in this case coming from a collector’s 1963 Canadian 45. At least this is the official story. The collector, Ron Furmanek, publicly attested many years later,

I had 2 mint Canadian ‘Love Me Do’ 45's with me at the session, along with a near mint UK pressing & (I believe) a German Odeon EP, to pick & choose for what we did with ‘Love Me Do.’ It was an edit from several sources. So, what is always repeated in books & online is incorrect.”

If the Rarities master was created exclusively from the Canadian 45, it is third generation, a needle-drop of a needle-drop. If it also used the UK pressing, the Rarities master is a hybrid.

(5) There was a return to the second generation in 1982, when a UK 45 was made available to EMI by a British collector (not Mark Lewisohn) for use in producing the twentieth-anniversary 12-inch single. According to Mike Heatley,

In the run-up to the twentieth-anniversary last October we were searching high and low, not only here but also in Canada, where the single also came out. We even found a friend of mine in Sweden, a collector called Steffan Olander, who got EMI in Sweden to issue the original ‘Love Me Do’ a couple of years ago. He'd given me a copy of this single which was fine, except that about two-thirds of the way through the song became distorted. So there was no way we could use that version; and reluctantly we decided to use the album version for the reissue. Now, just as the single and picture discs were being pressed up, I had a call from another collector and I told him the story. He said he had a friend who had a nearly Mint copy of the original single. You have to appreciate at this stage, it was three days before the single was coming out, the picture discs were all ready to roll, the announcement had already been made to the trade - what could we do? In the end, I arranged for a messenger to go to this person's house, pick up the record, and deliver it to me here at EMI. I think in the end they said they were going to send a motorbike, and I said no, there's no way you're going to send a bike - what happens if he falls off?! So in the end we sent a car to pick this record up and deliver it to me here on the Saturday. It was then stored in a safe over the weekend; I came in on the Monday morning, took the record straight up to Abbey Road, we played it, and it was clean as a whistle; and that's the version we used for the twelve-inch.”

(6) The master for the 12-inch single was used for all releases thereafter, including 1988’s Past Masters 1, as well as 2009’s remaster of that CD (albeit with less processing, and speed-corrected) and 2009's Mono Masters.

_______________________________________________________________________

AUDIO SOURCES

Sonic Ratings. All recommended sources will receive a subjective sonic rating, either Excellent, Very Good, or Good. This subjective rating is based on various factors, including (1) clarity vs. murkiness, (2) smoothness vs. distortion (including harshness) or peaking, (3) balance vs. over-loud elements (for example, too much emphasis on bass), and (4) comparison to other sources under a particular category (for example, Mono). Any source not given a rating of at least Good will at least be provided explanatory notes (including whether or not I’ve heard that source).

Price Tags. Vinyl sources will include an estimated 2010 price tag in US dollars, taken mainly from completed eBay auctions.

Terminology. "Analog" refers only to vinyl. No tapes were tested.

"Imbalance," "FLAC signature" and "Channel Duplication Solution" are terms under the same subject, discussed: here.

End of Song. The last sounds in the fadeout of “Love Me Do” 1.0 are four notes of a rising harmonica riff. The 2009 Remaster fades two notes early.

_______________________________________________________________________

FIRST GENERATION

UK 7-inch 45 (1962-1967)

$50 up

General. There were apparently four pressings of this single (Parlophone R-4949), first on a red label and subsequently on a black label, manufactured until 1967. The reissue singles pressed beginning in 1976 used the “Andy White Version." Photos and information: here and here. In order to identify "Love Me Do" 1.0 on these singles, one has only to look for a matrix number (in the dead wax) which ends in "-1N." Specific pressings (first press, etc) can be identified by a "tax code" (also in the dead wax). Photos and information: here and here.

On December 29, 1962, "Love Me Do" rose to #17 on the British charts.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

Sweden 7-inch 45 (1963; possibly 1979-1980 reissue)

$50 up

The picture sleeve for this Swedish 45 apparently comes in several colors.

General. This single (“Please Please Me”/ “Love Me Do”), issued March 5, 1963 (Odeon SD 5937), definitely used Variation 1.0, and is said to have been pressed from the UK stamper, which makes it first-generation. This information is based on the Mike Heatley interview above, and its mention in the McCoy & McGeary book, Every Little Thing. Also, see: here.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

_______________________________________________________________________

SECOND GENERATION

ANALOG

Canada 7-inch 45 (1963)

$20-25

General. According to Graham Newton, who did the Canadian mastering, this single (Capitol of Canada 72076), released February 18, 1963, is a dub of an original UK 7-inch 45, pressing unknown (ref: here). Basically, if you’ve heard this, you’ve heard the UK 7-inch 45 (with perhaps some loss of clarity).

My source. Private mp3.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. GOOD. Good: Vocal has no distortion and remains out-front. Bass has a nice plop to it. Original intent. Bad: Full of low frequencies. Guitar is lost. Claps are murky. Drums not crisp. Harmonica distant.

UK 12-inch 45 (1982)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

$10-15

General. Basically, if you’ve heard this, you’ve heard UK 7-inch 45 (with perhaps some loss of clarity). Mike Heatley (same interview above) verified this when he stated that even the distorted harmonica heard on the 12-inch single is directly from the UK 7-inch 45.

This 20th-Anniversary release (Parlophone 12R-4949) of "Love Me Do" charted as high as #4 in the UK in 1982.

My sources. (1) Vinyl, Australia pressing. (2) Vinyl, UK pressing. The groove on "Love Me Do" 1.0 is about 25% wider on the UK pressing, promising a bigger sound.

Imbalance. Untested electronically. Mono summing produced no audible change.

Sonic Rating. UK pressing, VERY GOOD. Good: Decent dynamics, including in the highs. Bad: Somewhat murky.

Australia pressing, GOOD. Good: Not as dynamic. Bad: Murkier.

DIGITAL

CD Past Masters (1988)

General. Same dub as the 12-inch, different master.

My source. CD.

Imbalance. Full-spectrum Stereo artifacts to about 13.5 KHz, peak about -60 db. Not a big deal. Has been argued as the right candidate for Channel Duplication Solution.

Sonic Rating. GOOD. Good: Bass and drums are excellent. Guitar is quite audible. Claps passable. Bad: Terribly bright from huge mid-range, even though frequency analysis of the WAV file shows a sharp drop at about 12.5 KHz, from about -47 db to -67 db. Vocals and harmonica are harsh, even distorted at points. Analysis has shown that "Love Me Do" 1.0 also plays slightly fast on this CD (ref: here).

UK CD Maxi-Single (1992)

General. Re-released for the 30-year anniversary, "Love Me Do" 1.0 hit #52 on the UK chart that year. Be aware that some examples are known to have "CD rot."

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

CD Mono Masters - Remaster (2009)

UPDATE February 2, 2011

General. Same dub as the 12-inch; unique master.

My source. FLAC. Note: This review is for "Love Me Do" 1.0 on Mono Masters, not on the Past Masters remaster. What's the difference? The latter is gained way too hot, and is distorted.

Imbalance. Weak FLAC signature. Nothing audible.

Sonic Rating. VERY GOOD. Good: Bendy bass. Non-invasive harmonica. Jangling guitar. Bad: Murky quality on the vocals. Somewhat ragged.

BOOTLEG

The UK Singles Collection (DESS, i.e., Dr. Ebbetts)

General. Ebbetts said he used a needle-drop of an original Parlophone 45. Detailed information: here.

My source. FLAC. An exact copy of the Ebbetts master appears on Purple Chick’s bootleg Please Please Me Deluxe Volume 2, Disc 2, track 2.

Imbalance. None.

Sonic Rating. The mid-range has been pushed beyond its bounds, and the positive clarity Ebbetts sought is actually a buzzy, irritating mess. I also think it runs a little slow.

_______________________________________________________________________

THIRD GENERATION

ANALOG

US LP Rarities (1980)

$5-10

General. This is Capitol SHAL-12060.

As detailed above, this was mastered mainly, if not wholly, from a copy of the Canadian 45.

My sources. (1) Vinyl. (2) Dr Ebbetts 320 kbps mp3.

Imbalance. Vinyl untested electronically, but summing to Mono produced some audible effects. Testing the Ebbetts track proved this theory correct, as much distorted full-spectrum Stereo artifacts were apparent to about 20.5 KHz, peak at about -29 db. Good candidate for Channel Duplication Solution.

Sonic Rating. Vinyl and Ebbetts (slightly less exciting), EXCELLENT. Good: Drums have snap. Harmonica is full, if a bit loud. Bass is rugged, if a bit rumbly. Vocals are, for the most part, evenly leveled. Crisp claps. Guitar has some visibility. Bad: Short one note at the end. A few pops from the vinyl. Not bad at all. Nevertheless, Mike Heatley said,

“When the people at Capitol Records were putting together the American issue of Rarities, they used a tape which was acquired from a dub; but, when the tape was being cleaned up, much of the quality of the recording was unfortunately lost.”

Canada LP Original Greatest Hits (1964)

$20-50

General. Reportedly, this grey-market (pirate) album (GRC 1001) also used a copy of the Canadian 45 (just not Furmanek’s).

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

UK 8-LP The Beatles Box (1980)

$50 or so (a bargain!)

General. This is “The Crate” (its nickname), issued by World Records (SM 701/8), EMI’s mail order division.

Same Canadian 45 used here as for Rarities. The vinyl pop on the first note of the second harmonica riff (4 seconds in) is the giveaway, as is the missing final note.

My Source. UK Vinyl, first lacquer, cut by Harry T. Moss.

Imbalance. Same as Rarities.

Sonic Rating. The general feeling that this is an inferior pressing to Rarities seems to be correct. The vocals warble a bit, and there seems to be less dynamism.

_______________________________________________________________________

UNKNOWN GENERATION

Germany 7-inch 45 (1963)

$50 or so

General. This single (Odeon 22 396), issued February 1963, naturally used “Love Me Do” 1.0.

Imbalance. Untested.

Sonic Rating. Pending.

_______________________________________________________________________

OUTFAKE

An "outfake" is a fan-created mix or recording.

Although "Love Me Do" 1.0 was never mixed into an authorized Stereo mix, the gray-area collection Casualties (detailed information: here) purports to carry one. This was retained on the Dr. Ebbetts remaster of Casualties.

It's fun to hear, but it's not a true Variation.

_______________________________________________________________________

VIDEO SOURCES

PROMOTIONAL

In October, 1982, EMI produced two varieties of a promo film for "Love Me Do" to coincide with the 20th-anniversary single, both using “Love Me Do” 1.0 for audio.

(1) The first variety features miming footage from The Mersey Sound documentary from 1963, and photographs from the September 4, 1962 rehearsal/recording session. This can be found on the bootleg DVD Chronology 1962-1970, Volume 1 in very good transfer, where the music ends a bit soon in the fade (nothing drastic). The same video is included in the Anthology DVD where, at the end, the elder Ringo is shown tapping away with the music.

(2) The second variety is more interesting (to me), showing vintage film of the boys in the midst of Beatlemania, interspersed with footage from The Mersey Sound. This can be found on the boot DVD Chronology 1962-1970, Volume 2 in very good transfer, rolling out to the end of the song. A treat.

The sound quality on both varieties is good, but will not satisfy for the sake of your audio collection.

_______________________________________________________________________

PHOTOS & INFORMATION: A photo gallery from the rehearsals can be viewed: here. Note George’s black eye.

______________________________________________________________________

Tom Wise
gengar843@msn.com

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