CNN informed the world today that The Beatles catalog was finally going to be available on I-Tunes. No other group in the history of recorded music demands that kind of newsworthiness. They are more than just music…they are, and forever will be, a part of our culture.
In light of this news, I thought it would be fun to see how The Beatles were making headlines in 1963. This interview, which ran in Britain’s New Musical Express magazine, shows a group that’s a far cry from breaking news on CNN:
Things are beginning to move for the Beatles, the R&B styled British group which crashed into the NME charts this week at No. 17. The disc — ‘Please Please Me’ — follows closely on the heels of their first hit ‘Love Me Do,’ written by group members John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
Says Paul: “We also wrote ‘Please Please Me,’ but that hasn’t exhausted our supply of compositions. We’ve got nearly a hundred up our sleeves, and we’re writing all the time!
“I suppose ‘writing’ is the wrong word. John and I just hammer out a number on our instruments. If we want anyone to hear it, we record it, then send them a tape.
“We’ve had disappointments, but coming in at No. 17 has pleased-pleased us!” he quipped.
The boys are rehearsing their act for the forthcoming Helen Shapiro tour when I met them in their hometown of Liverpool on Sunday. And at Norrie Paramor’s request, they were composing a song for Helen to record when she goes to Nashville shortly.
Said Paul: “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. We’ve also done a number for Duffy Power which he’s going to record.”
This isn’t the Beatles’ first taste of success. The clipped negro sound they achieve has brought them a fantastic following in Germany, where they had a Polydor single in the charts more than a year ago. They spent christmas performing in Hamburg — their fifth visit.
In the North of England, too, they’ve built up a reputation that takes some beating. In the past I’ve seen them billed with equal prominence alongside such names as Little Richard and Joe Brown!
Talking of Little Richard, the rock ‘n’ roll star became one of the Beatles’ biggest fans during his recent visit. He told me: “I’ve never heard that sound from English musicians before. Honestly, if I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes I’d have thought they were a colored group from back home.”
So far it seems that only Northern fans and visiting American stars have appreciated their talents (the Crickets went overboard when they heard them), but ‘Please Please Me’ will change everything. Already Southerners have been flocking to buy the disc since it was released two weeks ago.
Comments John: “We tried to make it as simple as possible. Some of the stuff we’ve written in the past has been a bit way-out, but we aimed this one straight at the hit parade.”
At the sessions at which ‘Please Please Me’ was recorded, shortly before Christmas, the boys’ recording manager, George Martin, told me: “The thing I like about the Beatles is their great sense of humor as well as their talent.”
It looks like a bright future for the Beatles, but knowing them, I don’t think they’ll let it go to their heads. It’ll be a long time, for instance, before they forget the time they provided the music for Janice the Stripper in a Liverpool nightclub…!