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They learned so quickl~ Bur when l first met

them, I had absolute[y no idea ar all they


would wrire decent material They wrote songs
that were pretty awjl 'One Afier 9o9'
When lhe Beatles were and "I?S. I Love You'and Zove Me Do'were
presented the Variety Club
the best of them. Ir was pretty rough stuff I
ai Great Britainrs Show
Business Personal]ties oF
didn't really blame the guy who hall turned
1963 award by Harold them down.
Wilson, Jhen lhe opposit[an George Martin, 1993
leader, John Lnnon
q uipped, 'than~s for lhe
Purl~le Heorls,' referring
to a US mililary medal
awarded to ~oldJgr s
wo~nded in acfian
The BeaIIes

Beatlemania in England 1963

just before the sessions for 'Please Please Me' and its flipside - a
sfightly Lafin-flavoured Lennon-McCarmey collaboration called
'Ask Me Why' - the Beatles had spent two wecks ar the Star-Club
in Hamburg, shang a bill with one of the!r tieroes, Little Ricfiard,
and they returned to the Star-C[ub one last fime in mid-Decembcr,
staying until New Year's Eve. On that final night, one of ttieir
[verpool colleagues taped their performance on amateur equipment.
The tapes [anguished in Liverpool until i97z, when Allan Williams
found tfiem and approached Harrison and Starr with a proposal to
release ttiem and split the profits. They declined, bur Williams even-
tualy found a buyer, and the tapes were released over the Beatles'
objections in 1977.
In their original state, the recordings are quite raw: the perform-
antes are imperfect, and without Epstein there to overscc thcm,
ltie Beatles slip back imo the profane stage pauer ttiat hacl been their
pre-Epstein st~le. But before the tapes were released, they underwent
an ambidous editing and sonic restoration job, the result of which
was an ideafized thirty-song ser that offers a fascinafing gtimpse ofthe
Beatles at a mrning-point in their career. Ir captures them in the
milieu that shaped them, playing rock favourites, covers of recent
hits, and new songs of their own. Bur they were already on their way
out ofthat wor[d.
When they returned to the smdio on n February, 'P[ease Please
Me' was making steady progress up the New Musical Express cha rt,
and thougti not yet number one, ir was a certitied hit. The conven-
tional strategy called for the quick release ofan album to capitalize on
these successes. Martin had already broken the mould by presenting
the Beatles as a cotiesive group ratfier than as a singer with backup.
and by favouring their own songs over those of professional song-
writers, Now there would be another innovation. ~l}pically, a pop
album would present the hits, padded out with lightly cooked ti[ler.
Martin followed this formula only to the extent that be induded the
Beotlemonia in England 1963 59

four songs released on singles. Another producer might havc increascd


his quotient of available material by using the file recordings of'How
Do Vou Do Ir' and 'Besame Mucho'. But Martin and the Beatles
decided to begin the album sessions fresh, and to troar cvcry song as
ir ir were a potenfial single.
The session for this dbut album, Please Please Me, was amazingly
productive. In just under tcn hours ofsession rime, rhe Beatles
recorded eleven new songs - tive originais and six covers. Of those,
one ofthe originais, 'Hold Me Tight', was temporarily shelved, to be
attempted again, more successfully, seven months later during the
sessions for the second album, With the Beatles. The model for Please
Please Me was the Beatles' stage set. Like their concer ts, the album
begins and ends with upbeat rockers. Between rhose book-ends,
the group's versatility is displayed almost in variety show style. Each
ofthe Beatles has ah image cstablishing mome*~t in the spotlighr.
McCarmey, already identified as the band's bailadeer in 'ES. I Love
You', takes that furthcr with his covcr ora waltzy show tune, 'A Tasre
of Honey'. Yet he opens the album in his roek volte, singing his own
'I Saw Her Standing There'. Lennon also takes up a few ballads,
Arthur Alexandcr's 'Arma (Go To Him)' and the Shirelles' 'Baby, It's
You', bur his renderings show something ofhis aggressive edge, with
a slight current of bitterness. As McCarmey opens tbe album,
Lennon doses it, singing the Isley Brorhers' Fwist and Shom' with
an explosive vocal grittiness. Starr applies his distinctively nasal tone
to another Shirel]es tune, 'Boys'. And Harrison, who l'c~ained a heavy
scouse acent in his singing voice, gave slightly fragile performances
ora Go~n King classic, 'Chains', and a lively Lennon McCarmey
song, 'Do You Want to Know a Secret'.
The covers show the presence of new influences, again from
America. One is Motown, a Detroit-based style (also the name of the
most prominent label specializing in the music) in which black vocal
groups maided rhythm aiid blues with aspects of gospel and top-fllrty
pop styles. Both within and on the periphery of fllis new sryIc was
another gente new to rock, though familiar in tbe 194os: gid groups.
Tbree of the six covers on Pleae Please Me were first recorded by
Ameriean girl groups - 'Boys' and 'Baby It's You' were Shirelles songs,
and 'Chains' was a bit for the Cookies. On Wi*h *he Beades the group
would add the Marrei[erres' 'Please Mister Posmlan' and the Donays'
60 The Beatles
Beollemonio in England 1963 61

Left, Poul McCartn ey+ the +Devil in Her Hear t'. And their concert sets stili included the Tcddy
most personable of thg Bears' 'To Know Him is to Love Him', with the gender changed.
Beatles, wa5 oflen the most
eoger ~o discuss the group'$ The Motown aw~d girl group songs did not pass through the
work wilh inler vJewers Beatles repertory without leaving trates on Lennoffs and McCarmey's
compositional styles. Both genres made prominent use of gospel's call
and response gesture, in which a solo vocal line is repeated by a back-
ing chorus. Thc effct is hcard in thc 'come oJ section of'Please
Please Me', and its mirror imagc - the chorus singing the main
melody and the solo vocalist responding with free-floating, impro-
visatory amplifications - is heard near the end of'ES. I Love You'.
A variation of this move was to have the lead singer's lines punctuated
by nonsense syllables, 'sha la la,' or 'doo wah doo.' This too becamc
pari of the Beatles arsenal, starting with 'Do You Want to Know a
Secret'. And ir may be that the BeaTles' interes: in Motown at~d
girl groups led them to expand their harmonic style from the pure
duet sound ofthe Everly Brothers to a richer texture, oftcn with a
bluesy cast.
Of course, as much as the cover versions reli us about the wells the
Beatles' were drawing ffom, the real points ofinterest onPleasePlease
Mare the originais. Some show the signs of confinuing apprntice+
ship. 'Ask Me Why', for example, has ah underlying cha-cha beat that
even in T963 was on the border of sounding dated. 'Misery' ai~d
'There's a Place', by contrast, present a new kind of vocal and ins~ru-
mental texturc, somcthing diff~rent ffom 'Love Me Do' and 'Please
Please Me', and a precursor ofthe sound the group would explore
throughout ~963. Both havc Lcnnon and McCartny singing tandem
lines, in unison for strethes but with ear-catching divergentes at key
points. And both feature a tightly compresscd lcad and rhythm guitar
sound, energetic, efficient drumming, an active bass line, and brief
patches ofextraneous but effective colour Martink briefpunctuat-
ing piano figure in <Misery', Lelmon's harmonica on ~Thcre's a Hace'.
As songs, they are not timeless masterpieces. But they capture
something of the adolescent spirit of t963. 'There's a Place', for
instante, argues that the best escape from the heartache and so~row of
unrequited love is to turn inward, to a world of introspective fan~asy.
It was not an uncommon conceit. Five months la!cr and halfa world
away, the Beach Boys recorded Brian Wilson's 'ln My Room', a some-
what more sophisticated e:~ploration ofcomparable sentiments.
The Beolle~

Wilson is unlikdy to have fieard tfie Beades song, whih was not yet
released in tfic USA. Yet the songs are uncanni]y similar and in facr
begbl with the same line, 'There's a place where I can go'.
'There's a Place' and 'Misery' are pcriod pieces. Bur 'l Saw Her
Standing Thcre' has a vita[ity that rime has not tarnished. Thc song is
essential[y McCarmey's, bur Lennon added some useful touches. In
its ofigina[ forro, ir began: 'She was just seventeen, never been a beauty
queen'. Lennon replaced the second line witfi 'and you know wbat I
mean' hardly profound, and less picturesquc than McCarmey's line,
yct wondcrfully suggestive and exactly the right line for that moment
in the song. The arrangement evolved too. A Cavem C[ub rebcarsal
tape recorded sometime after mid-August ~962 includes ala embtTonic
version ofthe song with an awkward harmonica accompaniment,
square phrasing and seemingly unfinished bridge lyrics. By tbe rime
they played the song at the Star Club in Deccmber, thc harmonica
was dropped, and the song was in its finished forro.
Melodically, it could not begin more simply: the first two fines are
real[y just inflected speech. Bur just as expectations drop, McCarmey
provides a beautifully arching line, a short rhapsody on the lyric, 'and
thc way sfic lookcd was way bcyond compare'. On the verse's final
coup~et, Lennon sings a lower harmony in thirds, fourths and sixths,
and the active bass [ine keeps the song moving while fietraying its
roors: it is similar in shapc and spirit to the bass line of Chuck Berry's
'|'m Talking About '/ou', a song the Bcatles performed ar the time.
Several sonic gimmicks on their way to becoming Beades signa
tures are found here roo. Ah octave leap to a falset to 'oooh', first heard
in 'Piease Please Me', wou[d return in most of their bits of 1963. Its
roots are in the songs ofthe Isley Brothers and Litde Richard, bur
the Beatles made it their own by incorporating ir in the amalgam f
English and American styles that yielded their identifiably Beat[esque
sound. They also found ir a uscful effect in their stage sfiows. The
days of screaming girls was upon tbem, and when they stepped up to
tfie microphone, shook their heads and delivercd that falsetto 'oooh',
tbe audiences went even wilder.
However, tbc Beatles disliked literal repetition. So wben tfiey
repeated an effect, even sometfiing as seeming]y inconsequential as a
Zalsetto 'oooh', they tried to find a different use for ir the second time.
When they returned to Abbey Road to record their third single on
Beatlemonia in England ]963 63

Brou0,h 0f .~t. tllar~lebQn~

ABBEY
R O A D N . W. 8
A cornpone~l o[ 5 March, they brought 'From Me to You', a song that uses that 'oooh'
BeoPlemonio wos a desire
again. Bur where the effect had been merely an ornamen: in 'I Saw
to own anything associaled
Her Standing There', it found its way into the ]yrics of 'From Me
w i t h t h e B e a fl e s , h o w e v e r
peripherally Once ir to You', giving the song's second line. 'ir there's anything I can do' a
become k~own fhof lhe burst of energy on its final word. In Fact, the effect is expanded here.
~Qt[es reorded ar EMI's
Lennon and McCartney sing the first rhree words of that ]ine in
sludios in Abbey Road,
$1eel sign$ vo~ished unison, but on the last three words McCarmey leaps up an octave
regularly This one turned and sings in a falsetto with a slight vibrato that suggests the head-
u p a i o u c t i o n y e o s l a t e r.
shaking ofthe stage show.
Lennon and McCarmey were also testing a new theory here, the
notion that songs in which "me' and 'you' were used prominently and
repeated frequently would strike ]isteners as personal, and would have
a special appeal. Ir may seem quaint that the Beatles, who would soon
rule the pop charts and spawn countless imilators, were so intent on
discovering the key to audience app-al. Bu as they composed 'From
Me to You', they were savouring the success of their first number one
record, then in its second week ar the top. However confident they
may have been, thcy had no reason to assume that everything they
touched would turn to gold, and ar this point they were intent on
discovering the mechanics of hitrnaking.
The Berilos
Beatlemania in ErLgland 1963 65

Long ofter the shrill


obbligato of ~creomrng
fons rendered acousfic
guitors improclicl for stage
~s~t, the Beol~~s sornetirne~
used Ihern ~n the recordFng
s~dio and, as Len~on
demonsllotes here, in Iheir
lelevision appearance~
TheBeofles

Once 'From Me to You' fonowed 'P[ease P[easc Me' to the top of


. t}te Bdtish charts, Lennon and McCarmcy ~,veaked their composi-
tiona/formula once again. On I July, they bounded into Abbey Road
with 'She Loves You', a song they had written only four days earlier in
a hotel room in Newcastle upon Tyne. The rccording they made that
day had the quintessential early Beatles sound: vocais lines that bcgin
in unison and end in harmony, jangly guitars, an assertive bass line
linked to a stcady drum be'ar with plenty of cymbals, and that head-
shaking falsetto 'oooh', here placed strategically before the song's most
ear-catching element, the joyonsly cathartic 'yeah, ycah, yeah' refraln.
Ir would be their first million seller.
Without question, 'She Loves You' is a masterpiece ofpop song
construction, yet it breaks a numher of tules. There is, for example,
no bridge. Structurally; it is notlling but an introdnction, three verses,
ali ofwhich lead back to the refrain, plus ah ending that ties up ali
those 'yeahs' in a sixth cbord - a G major chord with an added E (the
sixth degree ofthe scale) that makes the chord slightly ambiguous and
unstable. Martin objected to this ending, a common trick in the
~94os, bur archalc in i963. Bur Lennon and McCarmey insiste& and
Martin came to realize that the chord was a final, ddicious touch in a
song full ofgreat hooks.
The lyric was also something neve for the Beatlcs. Until nove, the
~you' in their songs was a prospective, current or former girlfriend.
Typically in pop songs, when men sing to other men, they do so
either to moon about tbeir woman, or to deliver blustery warnings
about encroaching on their turf. But in 'She Loves You', the singer
has listened to the lament ofhis friend's paramour, apparently in
some detall, and ig urging his friend to patch things up. Two years
Iater, in 'You're Going m Lose That Girl', they took this approach
again, bur with a twist: ifyou don't treat tbe lady right, I'll stcal
her away.
'She Loves You' was clearly composed for the Beatles' own imme-
diate use, bur by now Lennon and McCarmey were also beginning
to think ofcomposing as ah endeavour separate from performing.
They had a ready market. Epstein, convinced that be had found his
calling in musical management, expanded bis business to indu&
other groups and singers, mostly from Liverpool, and several bene-
fited from access to Lennon-McCartney songs that the Beatles either
Beotlemania in Englond 1963 67

wrote specifically for them, or found unsuitable for their own use.
'Hdlo Little Girl' became a hit for the Fourmost. Cil[a Black, a for-
roer hat-check girl at the Cavem, had an early hit with 'Dove of the
Loved' and was later given other McCarmey songs, 'It's for You' and
'Stcp lnside Love'. And 'Bati to Me' was written for Bil]y J. Kramer
and the Dakotas.
Performers outside the Epstein circle tapped the Beatles' golden
songwriting machine as well. In 1963, the Beatles became friendly
with the Rolling Stones, a blues band making its way in London, and
still without a number one record. Lennon and McCarmey cobbled
together 'I Wanna Be Your Man', a riffy, basic song thar suited the
Stones' ear[y style. When the Stones' recording hir rhe top of the
charts, the group's singer, Mick Jagger, and its rhythm guitarist. Keith
Richards, decided that ir Lennon and McCarmey could write their
own songs, so could they. They were not a|one in this realization, and
by I964, rock bands that composed their own music - rather than
recording songs handed to them by their record producers becarne
the rule rather than the exception.
Between visits to Abbey Road, the Beatles undertook a non-stop
touring schedule. By August i963, Epstein took them entirely off the

The Rollir~g Stones were


the Beatles' Mrongest rivais
among Britisk bands, but
the two group$ rno[nt(Jined
a compelitive friendsEip.
Ler~non and McCartney
wrot ih Stoncs' first
number one hil, "1 Wanna
Be Your Man' in 1963;
larr, mcmbcrs ol th Stoncs
appeared in the Bealles "Arl
You Need Is Love' telec~st,
ond th Beatlcs' faces are
$catlered on the cover ol the
Stones' album Their Satani
Majesties Request.
TheBeotles

ballroom circuit: now they were playing only in proper theatres, on


raised stages. And by the end of the year, the length of their stage ser
was reduced from ah bour to thirty minutes. They werc aIso becom-
ing increasingly regular visitors to the radio studios of the BBC,
where they were not only guests on shows like 5~lturday Club, Here
We Go and Side by Side, bur also had their own showcase, Pop Go the
Beatles. Another Beatles-centred show, From Us to You, was broadcast

on bank holidays between December i963 and August i964, and in


June I965 they were the staxs of The Beatles [~wire You to Take a Ticket
to Ride.
For these programmes - fifty-three of them, broadcast betwccn
8 Maxch T962 and 7 June 1965 they performed livc or wirh minimal
overdubbing in the BBC's studios. Their sheer productivity wm
recorded 88 songs at these sessions, some in as many
amazing: they

as a dozen versions, for a total of more than 280 recordings, Ofthe


88 songs, 36 were numbers from their early stage repertory that they
never committed to tape ar EMI. Of those, only onc the ]ovcly
'I'11 Be On My Way', another hit for Billy J. Kramer - was a
Lennon-McCarmey original.
The BBC recordings ofsongs by Ittle Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl
Pcrkins and Arthur Alexander (as well as more arcane numbers likc
Mikis Theodorakis's 'Honeymoon Song') are an important source of
information about the Beatles' early repertory. And the songs that the
Beatles did rccord for EMI sbow how the group performed their hits
without the benefit ofstudio trickery and unencumbered by tbc shrill
obbligato of high-pitched screaming that pervades recordings of their
concerts. They demonstrate that the group's performances were not
quite as calcified as the Beatles themselves often clalmed they were.
Harrison's solo in 'Till There Was You', for example, grew increas-
ingly florid between July 1963, when they recorded the song
at Abbey Road, and June i964, when tbey dropped it from their
corlcert i'epetory.
Ar the end of 1963 they were not yet making a firm distinction
between their recording and performing careers, but that was clearly
in the cards. Their second album, With the Bearles, took Ionger to
make than its predecessor, and by then the Beades had adopted the
view that singles and albums should be treated as separate projects.
There would be exceptions later in their career, bur for the moment
Beatlemania in England 1963 9

they argued that if their fans had bought their singles, they should
not have to buy the same tracks again on albums. In immediate prac-
tical tcrm, this mcant that the four songs released on singles since
Hease Please Me could not be considered for ~he new album.
In its broad oudine, Witb tbe Beatles follows the pattern established
on Please Please Me. The opener, Lennon's Motown-inspired 'It Won't
Be Long', immediately grabs the listener's attention with its call aI~d
response refrain a back and forth on the word 'yeah'. And an aggres-
sive cover, Barrett Strong's 'Moncy', doses the ser. As on the ~rst
outing, the band supp[ied eight originais and performed six covers.
Bur this time one ofthe originais was a Harrison song, 'Don't Bother
Me', bis first composing credit since 'Cry for a Shadow'. Harrison
devoted the rest ofhis microphone timc to Chuck Berry's 'Roll Over
Beethoven' and the Donays' 'Devil in Her Heart'. Stuck for some-
thing for Starr to sing, Lennon and McCartney gave him 'I Wanna Be
Your Man', the rave-up they had written for the Rolling Stones.
McCarmey's facility as a crooner is again tapied for a show tune, 'Till
There Was You', but he aiso sings his own somewhat punchier 'Hold
Me Tight' and the magnificent ~11 My Loving', certainly the most
memorable of the originais.
It is Lennon, however, who dominates the aJbum. He sings lead
on most ofthe originais (an indication, usually, ofwhich collaborator
was the principal composer), as well as on three Motown covers, ali
hard driving songs that showcase his remarkably communicative
volte. Ali told, the album has a tougher edge than P[ease Hease Me.
Yet ironicaily, it also sounds more leisurly, more carefully considered,
more settled.
This rime the sessions were staggered, with stretches ofwork in
July and September, and touch-up sessions irx October. The Beades
were [earning that even ir their albums documented their concert
sets, they need not be limited by the instrumentation of their stage
arvangcments. They raised no objecUon to Martin adding pialao parts
to 'Money' and 'You Really Got a Hold on Me', or Hammond organ
to '1 Wanna Be Your Man'. They even gare him the solo in 'Not a
Second Time', a graceful, single-line piano part. Martin encouraged
them to experiment with textures. On 'Till There Was You', Harrison
plays a seemingly un-Beadesque nylon-stringed Spanish guitar, and
Starr, lured away from his trap set, plays bongos. Lennon, McCarmey
The Beal[~s

and Starr add mildly exotic percussion - tambourine, claves and an


African bongo - to 'Don't Bother Me'. And ail four show their enthu-
siasm for a studio ttick Martin showed them: strengthening the lead
vocais by double tracking them.
Musically, the album is a decisive step forward. Harrison, in par-
ticular, seems to have been listening to some jazz guitar. It had been
bis idea to end 'She I.oves You' with that sixth chord, a standard jazz
move, and bis solos in ~11 My Loving' and 'Till There NV'a s You' have
a decidedly jazzy accent. More blatantly, he opens Lennon's ~dl l've
Got to Do' with a chord ful[y ar home in jazz and entircly foreign to
rock, ah E augmcntcd, with ah added ninth and eleventh. Tbe chord
stands entirely outside the song: ir rings out at the start and does not
return. Yet ir sets the song's slighdy bluesy, Motown inspired mood
per fcctly, and ir lingers in the memory, even as Hardson goes on to
play a more commonplace progression of major and minor chords.
Towards the end ofthe sessions, EMI instal]ed four-track record-
ing equipment at Abbey Road, new tape machines that allowed mueh
greater flexibility than the two-track recorders Martin had used until
then. Two-track was tine for orchestral recording: with good micro-
phone p[acement and sensible mixing, it yie[ds a realistic stereo
image. Bur the recordings Martin was maldng with the Beades were
more complex. In order to retain ~ull control ovcr thc balanccs, bc
was recording instruments on one track and vocais on tbe other.
Overdubbing meant copying to a second tape, which entailed a loss
in quaiity.
The upgrade was long overdue; indeed, it had not been Iost on
Martin that EMI in Eng[and was invaably the last among the major
labels to adopt new technology. During a visit to the USA in i958,
Martin attended Frank Sinatrs recording sessions at Capitol, EMI's
Anlerican aflfiliate, and was astonished to see that the company used
three track recorders, which ailowed for stereo orcbestral backing
tracks as well as a separate vocal track that could be centred during
the mixing process. Upon bis return to LI, ndon he tried to persuadc
EMI to instan similar equipment, but bis rcquests were ignored.
Martin's use ofthe old two-ttack system was adequate for making
monaural reco/-dings, but militated against propcrly balanced stereo
mixes. A[thougb stereo was not )'et a major contem, particularly
in England, EMI released its recordings in both mono and stereo
Beatl~maniu in Englnd 1963 71

formats, and Martin had little choice but to provide stereo versions
in which the extreme separation ofthe raw tapes was modified only
slighdy. Still, cxactly bccause the early stereo is so primitive, these
recordings offer a bird's eye view ofthe group's instrumental and
vocal arrangements, and reveaJ details that are ]ost in the compressed
morto nlixes.

Four-track recording solved the problem. Now thc instruments


could take two or more tracks. Lead and backing vocais could be
recorded separately, and the stereo mixing sessions would yield more
artfu[ly balanced recordings. Most crucially, the expanded faciliries
gave the Beades greater leeway for experimentation, a freedom tbey
would exercise as they learned more about studio technology. Bur
their first recordings on the new equipmenr rcmaincd f:airly basic. On
i70ctober, near the end ofthe Witb tbe Beat]essessions, they broughr
in the songs they bad in mind for their next single, 'I Want to Hold
Your Hand' and 'Tbis Boy'.
'This Boy' was sometbing new for the Beatles, and for Lennon in
particular: a slow ballad, based on a cbord progression native to i95os'
doo-wop, performed entirely in dose tbree-part harmony. Even the
bridge, in which Lennon steps out for a full-throtde solo vocal, has a
wordless harmony backing fmm Harrison and McCarmey. Appealing
but not eartbshaking, ir is neverthdess the progenitor ora long line of
lushly harmonized Beatles songs, from 'ir I Fell' and 'Yes Ir Is' to 'Sun
King' and 'Because'.
'i Want to Hold Your Hand', a Lennon-McCarmey collaboration,
rcpriscs thc cclcbratory sound of 'She Loves You', bur is more conven-
tionally structured. The Beatles had opened 'She I.oves You' with a
tom tom roll that tumbled immediately into tbe inrroductory chorus.
in '1 Want to Hold Your Hand', tbe introduction is more ambitious:
guitar chords become a springboard, catapulting the listener inro the
verse. The song is actuaLly quite subversive. The innocent declaradon
of the title was exactly tbe sorr of thing that would rcassurc parcnts
that the Beat[es were safe and wholesome; yet for anyone listening
closel); thc music tclls a different story. That eager octave leap ('you'l/
let me hold your band') that leads into the refrain expressed undis-
guised sexual tension, and the bridge amplifies rhe image of false
restraint: the studied calmness of its opening line, 'atld when I touch
you 1 feel happy inside', is belied in tbe building energy and rising
TheBeatls

melody ofits conclusion, 'it's such a feeling that my love I can't hide,
I can't hide, I can't hide'.
Seeing a sexual undercurrent in such a seemingly na/ve song is
not merely analytical fantasy. In the manuscript ofthe song's iyrics
(now in the British Museum), McCarmey jokingly noted thc sccond
verse reffain ~s 'you'll let me hold your thing', and in some ofhis
more unbuttoned interviews, Lennon referred to the song as 'I want
to hold your head' - which is what he often seems to be singing on
tapes ofthe group's concerts.
The importance of texture in this recording is evident rom the
first line. McCarmey and Lennon sing ir in unison, bur when
Harrison fills in the pause~ in the lyric with a winding guitar line
se~ in the same register as the voices, his playing seems less aia embd-
lishment than aia integral part ofthe melody. There are also small
but effective touches - the stray twangs of a solo guitar that dor the
texture like sighs, and the overdubbed handclapping that supports
the rhythm and brightens the record's sound. Starr's drumming is
also ah important element. When Lennon and McCarmey take their
octave leap on the word 'hand', Starr plays a cascading fill. And in
the bridge, he taps along with patient steadiness until 'I can't hide',
and then mirrors the tension ofthe vocal line witb a steady, driving
b~sh ar the floor tom tom and open high hat.
Ifanyone had the idea at the beginning of 1963 that the Beatles
were a flash in the pan, 'I Want to Hold Your Hand' made them
think again. Released on z9 November (a week after W#h the Beatles),
it so[d L5 million copies within six weeks in Great Brkain alone, and
when ir replaced 'She Loves You' ar the top ofthe hit parade, it was
the Beatles' fourth number one record ofthe year. The albums were
doing equa[ly well. Please Please Me topped the album chart for thirty
weeks, until With the Beatles replaced it. According to a ret3or~ in ~he
British trade publication RecordRetailer, the group's record sales for
I963 totalled some 6,z5o,ooo.
Their ascendancy was ref[ected outside the pop charts as welL
On 90ctober they were featured in The Meney Sound, a tdevision
documentary about the Liverpool rock scene, Anal on 13 October,
~our days before they recorded '1 Want to Hold Your Hand', the
Beatles topped the bill on Sunday Night ar the London Palladium,
seen by ah estimated fifteen million television viewers. Ir was after
Beat]emania in England 1963 13

'The Beatles? I thoughl lhey this performance, with its accompanying screams from the audience,
were wonderlul - who
that the British press began reporng on what it called Beatlemania.
doesn'lg' osked lhe German
On 4 November, Beatlemania went upmarket whcn the Beatlcs
film and caboret star
Marlene Dietrich. who p]ayed in the Royal Command Variety Performance ar the Prince
aeored on lhe same bilh of Wales Theatre in London. Their contribution was a fairly sedate
as the Beatles ot the Royal
performance of four not particularly sedate songs, 'From Me to You',
Variety Sl~ow [n 1963.
'She Loves You', 'Till There Was You' and 'Twist and Shaut'. Before
the last, Lennon delivered bis oft-quoted introduction, 'Would the
pcople in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest ofyou, if
you'll just rattle your jewelry.'
Newspapers and magazines went wild over the Beatles, filling
their pages with pictures and stories. And manufacturers of trinkets
Beatle wigs, handbags, buttons and even wa[lpaper - cashed in on
the phenomenon. Yet amid ali the madness, one serious, respected
critic, William Mann a The "limes of Londan, published ah end-of-
The Beatles

By lote 1963 a merchand


ising primo[pie ~ad evolved
pul lhe Beollgs' nomg~ or
likenesses c~q trinkets ot o[I
kir~& clothing, glasses,
jewelryr pins, poslersr woll-
paper, ice cream wfappers,
Ioys, dolls, wigs, ond
hundreds of other items -
and people w[]l buy Ihem
The ephemero shown here
now serls for premium prices
ar collectors' convention s
orourhd the wodd

year review rhar argued that thcrc was more to Beatlemania than
head sha!sing, sreaming girls and pop cukure ephemera. Whar be
Found most fascinating, be wrote ou z7 December, was the music. [n
a music theorist's rhapsody, Mann celebratcd what be hcard as pandi
atonic clustcrs in 'This Boy', Mahleresque Aeolian cadences ar the
end of'Not a Second Time', and the major tonic sevenrhs and ninths
and iqat-submediant key switches he hcard in severa] other songs. The
musicologist Dryck Cooke, writing about the Beatles tive years larer,
poked fun ar whaz be called Manns 'dovecor-~qu ering', arguing hat
a harmonic analysis is misleading (but conceding that Mann's was
accurate}. The Beatles, unmtored in music theory, did not have a alue
what Mann was talking about, and did not particularly cate, although
With their first hits be~ind
ir tickled thcm to be taken so seriously.
them, and Ameria a~d
A Hard Doy's N~ghl just They were making headway outside E~gland roo. Australian
oheod, the Bea~les sang for radio had adopted them enthusiasticall They were taking ot~'in
3,000 members of I~eir
Europe as well, although television and radio recodings rom their
British }ah club ai the
Scmdinavian tour in Octobcr show that audiences there were consid-
Wimb~edor~ Palais, London,
on 14 December 1963 erably more sedate than those at home. Their greatest frustration,
Beot]~mania in Er~glond 1963 75
The Beatles

though, w=s that until the final weeks of I963, they h=d f=iled to crack
the American market. The h=d been some television cover=ge,
mostly condescending, which presented the Beatles and their f=ns as
the latest examples of British eccentricity. But Capitol Records, EMI's
American arm, had turned down each of their singles and albums.
And when EMI licensed the material to the smaller Swan and Vee Jay
labels, they scarcely made a ripple on the charts. And so America, the
world's largest record market and the source of their early inspiration,
remained closed to them.
That was about to change.