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The Beatles’ First Album Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Photo credit: allmusic

February 11, 2013 marked the 50th anniversary of the recording of The Beatles’ debut album Please, Please Me. Recorded at London’s EMI Studios in just 10 hours in three separate sessions on February 11, the album features 14 songs, 10 of which were recorded that day, and four of which were previous singles and b-sides. In those days, UK album releases had 14 songs, while U.S. releases had 10, so a different version, Introducing…The Beatles was first released here in 1964. The original UK track lineup was not released in the U.S. until The Beatles catalog was released on CD in 1987.

Please, Please Me was recorded to a two-track machine, with the instruments on one track and the vocals on the other, then mixed down to mono. A stereo mix was made simultaneously, with the instruments on one side and the vocals on the other; reverb was added during mixdown to help blend the tracks. In addition to The Beatles’ credits as artists, George Martin was credited as producer, mixer, arranger, and piano player. Norman Smith was credited as audio engineer and mixer.

Andy White is credited for drums on “Love Me Do” (Ringo played tambourine) and “P.S. I Love You” (with Ringo on maracas). White received five pounds for the session, plus a few pence for bringing his drum kit to the session. A version of “Love Me Do” with Ringo on drums was released as a single in 1962. White also claims to have played drums on “Please, Please Me,” pointing to the drum sound being different from Ringo’s other tracks as evidence.

The day’s sessions cost a total of 400 British pounds. Each Beatle received 7.5 pounds for their session fee. The album was released on March 22, 1963 in the UK.

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