Past Masters Volume One by The Beatles

Recorded 1962-65. Released 1987

When The Beatles’ eleven studio albums were first released on CD in 1987, four additional albums were also released. One of these was the film soundtrack to “Yellow Submarine” which had, in fact, been issued as a record in 1968; it consisted of four new songs along with “Yellow Submarine”, “All You Need Is Love” and a whole side of instrumental music from the film. Arguably, The Beatles actually released 12 studio albums if we include “Yellow Submarine”. “Magical Mystery Tour” was originally released as two EP’s in the U.K. but the CD version released in 1987 was the album released in the USA which also included the A and B sides of all the singles from 1967. This had been released on vinyl in 1976. If it’s important, the number of Beatles’ studio albums could be regarded as 13. A strange compilation album called “Hey Jude” is not included as one of their studio albums.

That leaves two further albums which were called “Past Masters Volume One” and “Past Masters Volume Two”. These are now available as one double CD (available for £12.75 on Amazon). The 33 songs on these two albums are all the tracks that were never released on albums so they are mainly A and B sides of singles along with one EP and a few other oddities.

It’s often stated that The Beatles never included their singles on their regular albums. The Past Masters albums show this to be a false claim. There are over 20 songs that were A or B sides of singles but are not on the Past Masters albums.

This post is going to be about Volume One. It covers the years 1962-65.

Love Me Do

Love Me Do” was on The Beatles’ first album, “Please Please Me”, but that version has Andy White playing drums. This version has Ringo Starr playing drums and was the version that was originally released as a single in 1962. However, in 1963, the single version was changed from the Ringo Starr version to the Andy White version. In Andy White’s version, it’s possible to hear Ringo Starr playing a tambourine. There is no tambourine on the original single version on which Ringo Starr plays drums.

From Me To You

The composition of this song included two common features. Firstly, The Beatles tried to include personal pronouns in the titles of their singles (“Love Me Do”, “Please Please Me”, “From Me To You”, “She Loves You”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”) and “From Me To You” managed to include two of them. Secondly, sending a letter was a common aspect of a song (e.g. “Return To Sender” and “Please Mr. Postman”). The song was written on a tour bus on February 28th, 1963. The letters page of the “New Musical Express” was called “From You To Us” and this was the starting point for the composition of this song. The Beatles intended to start the song with a guitar solo but George Martin suggested that a harmonica, augmented with vocals, would be better.

Thank You Girl

John Lennon overdubbed the harmonica on this song on March 13th, 1963, eight days after the main recording. He was suffering from a heavy cold and had been unable to appear in concerts at Bedford on March 12th, York on March 13th or Wolverhampton on March 14th. These three concerts were played by only the three remaining Beatles.

She Loves You

The Beatles’ first appearance on TV in the USA was not “The Ed Sullivan Show” but was film of them singing “She Loves You” on “Sunday Night At The London Palladium”. Jack Paar showed film of the 13th October, 1963 show on The Tonight Show in January 1964.

I’ll Get You

“I’ll Get You” was written in the house of John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi. The first word of the song is “Imagine”, which not only precedes John Lennon’s 1972 anthem but is also similar to the opening line of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (“Picture yourself…”).

I Want To Hold Your Hand

The Beatles preferred to end their songs cleanly rather than fade a song out. This allowed them to replicate their songs live. There is a great example of this at the end of “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.

This Boy

Paul McCartney has said that “To Know Him Is To Love Him” by The Teddy Bears was an influence on John Lennon when he wrote this song. Harvey Goldstein was an original member of The Teddy Bears but he soon left and, when the song was recorded, the group included Phil Spector, who wrote the song about his father. An instrumental arrangement of “This Boy” by George Martin called “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy)” was included on Side Two of the US version of “A Hard Day’s Night”. When released as a single, it reached number 53 in The Billboard Chart.

Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich

At the end of 1963, the management at EMI in Germany, jealous of the sales of “She Loves You” in the U.K., wanted to develop a new market but were convinced that the German public would only buy a record if it was sung in German. When The Beatles were playing a residency in Paris, their producer, George Martin, was instructed to take them into a French studio to record “Sie Liebt Die” (“She Loves You”) and “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” ( “I Want To Hold Your Hand”). However, when he arrived at the studio, the Fab Four failed to appear. When he phoned the hotel, their road manager, Neil Aspinall, told him that they were refusing to turn up. For the first time since he had met them, George Martin became very angry at them. He drove to their hotel and burst into their room. He recalled that “the scene was straight out of Lewis Carroll. Around a long table sat John, Paul, George, Ringo, Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans. In the centre was Jane Asher, a beautiful Alice with long golden hair. At my appearance, the whole tableau exploded. Beatles ran in all directions, hiding behind sofas, cushions, the piano – anything that gave them cover. ‘You bastards,’ I yelled. One by one, Beatles faces appeared from Beatles hiding places, looking like naughty schoolboys, with sheepish smiles. There was a murmured chorus of ‘Sorry George’ and the following day we recorded the songs.”

Long Tall Sally

The Beatles released a number of EPs but, until “Magical Mystery Tour”, only one of them included material not available on albums. The “Long Tall Sally” EP consisted of three covers and one original. “Long Tall Sally” had been part of The Beatles’ live act for a few years and only one take was needed to get the perfect version that was released on the EP in June 1964.

I Call Your Name

I decided to write this post yesterday and, by coincidence, Martin sent me a link this morning to an article in “Far Out” magazine about “I Call Your Name”. The song was one of John Lennon’s first ever compositions, written around 1959. He completed the middle eight just prior to the recording in 1964. The first line is “I call your name but you’re not there”. John Lennon’s mother died in 1958 and Paul McCartney has wondered if the song was addressed to her.

Slow Down

Along with “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and “Bad Boy”, “Slow Down” was written by Larry Williams. A more exciting rendition of this song was given by The Beatles on “Pop Goes The Beatles” on August 20th, 1963, included on “Live At The BBC“.

Matchbox

A Carl Perkins song, Pete Best had sung “Matchbox” when he was a member of The Beatles. It was assumed that Ringo Starr’s version would be his contribution to the second side of “Help” until they changed their minds and substituted“Act Naturally”.

I Feel Fine

On August 16th, 1864, The Beatles played a gig at The Opera House in Blackpool. Also on the bill were The High Numbers, shortly before they changed their name to The Who. On October 18th, 1964, John Lennon inadvertently caused feedback to be recorded and included the sound at the beginning of “I Feel Fine”. Were these two events connected?

She’s A Woman

In Paul McCartney’s “Lyrics”, he writes about how, when a female reached the age of 21, she turned from a girl into a woman. All of The Beatles loved American R’n’B, especially Ray Charles, and The Beatles sung a cover version of his great song, “I’ve Got A Woman” on “Pop Go The Beatles” on 13th August, 1963.

Bad Boy

The Beatles recorded albums for the Christmas market in 1963, 1964 and 1965. Following a traumatic year of touring in 1966, they decided to stop playing live and they each took an extended break. This meant that no new album would be released in time for Christmas so EMI released a compilation album called “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies But Goldies”. An unconfirmed story is that when the track list was written down, someone wrote “Bad Boy” instead of “This Boy”. “Bad Boy” had been released in the USA on “Beatles VI” but was not released in the U.K. until “Past Masters” was released. For many years, it was the only Beatles song I’d never heard. When I finally listened to it, I found it was almost identical to “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” and both songs were recorded on May 10th, 1965. John Lennon’s vocal on “Bad Boy” was a first take .

Yes It Is

Ian MacDonald, in “Revolution In The Head” puts forward the notion that this song is about a fantasy-figure in John Lennon’s imagination, based on his dead, red-haired mother. In the middle eight of the song, he curses his pride which prevents him loving the ordinary woman to whom the song is addressed because of his obsession with the fantasy figure who wears red. Arguably, there are a number of John Lennon songs which were borne out of the tragic loss of his mother and it was only when he met Yoko Ono (whom he would call ‘Mother’) that he found some peace. The transition of his muse from his mother to Yoko Ono takes place on “Julia” from “The Beatles”.

I’m Down

“I’ve Just Seen A Face”, “I’m Down” and “Yesterday” we’re all recorded on June 14th, 1965. Recorded in seven takes, his voice sounds shredded on “I’m Down” but he recorded the tender “Yesterday” immediately afterwards.

So there you have it. Post number 500 is complete. Halfway there.

Published by wilfulsprinter

Music lover

One thought on “Past Masters Volume One by The Beatles

  1. Congratulations on post number 500. And what could be better, to mark the occasion, than some more fascinating insights into the world of the best band ever. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

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