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How did George Martin improve Please, Please Me?

  In his later years, George Martin expressed a robust opinion about the early Lennon and McCartney originals. The songs the Beatles first gave me were crap. This was 1962 and they played a dreadful version of 'Please Please Me' as a Roy Orbison-style ballad. Paul McCartney has a slightly different take, emphasising that Martin rejected the tempo rather than the song itself  Origin PLEASE PLEASE ME was a John Lennon original and a calculated attempt to emulate the Big O, then a rising star I remember the day I wrote it, I heard Roy Orbison doing Only The Lonely, or something. And I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, 'Please lend a little ear to my pleas'. The double use of the word 'please'. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby. George Martin was not initially impressed. He gave  PLEASE PLEASE ME a resounding thumbs down: I listened to it and I said: 'Do you know that's too boring for words? It's

Which classical composers influenced The Beatles?

None of The Beatles had a background in classical music. Paul McCartney's (jazz musician) father would turn the radio off if a classical record came on.  George did, however, learn one classical 'party-piece' in his early teens, which he taught to Paul. Neither boy the title but they had the vague idea that it was by Bach. They would later learn that it was BourrĂ©e from the E Minor Lute Suite — and that they had been playing it inaccurately. A decade later the Bourree would directly inspire one of Paul McCartney’s most famous compositions. Full article (4 minutes) free here

Did George Martin have a 'secret history'?

The George Martin who the Beatles first met in 1962 presented as Professor Higgins to their Eliza Doolittle. With his smart suit, upper class (southern) accent and courtly manners he appeared to be what Brian Epstein described as “a stern but fair-minded schoolmaster”.  “We were rednecks” as Ringo later put it. George Martin was the archetypal ‘square’: solid and suburban. They automatically assumed that he was backed by family wealth and a private education. The Beatles, with the arguable exception of Ringo, did not grow up in poverty. George Martin unquestionably did  Early history According to a recent biography, Maximum Volume (2017), George Martin came from a seriously impoverished background. Author Kenneth Womack was …very surprised about the degree of George’s childhood poverty — he describes a family that had no electricity or running water and had one gas jet. Nor was Martin the product of a privileged education. Several changes of school marked his early

Who was the 'fifth Beatle'?

There is a long list of possible candidates, with Brian Epstein a very strong contender. Pete Best also has a claim, as a he was a full band member until August 1962. Musically, however, there is a clear winner and that is the man who offered them their first recording contract and guided them to new frontiers in pop music. When The Beatles entered Abbey Road as very raw musicians without any formal training. They were good live performers but had no experience of working in a studio. None could read music and only Paul had a natural facility for explaining musical ideas in a form that technically trained musicians could follow.  Their early compositions had potential but they needed Martin's experience to make them commercial. PLEASE PLEASE ME for example, was initially a Roy Orbison derivative dirge until Martin inspired Lennon to liven it up . The result was The Beatles first number one single. What did George Martin contribute musically? For five years the partnersh

Why did George Martin almost not sign The Beatles?

George Marti n made us what we were in the studio. He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians . John Lennon, 1971 Despite their local success in Liverpool and Hamburg — and Brian Epstein’s best efforts — The Beatles struggled to get their first recording deal. Columbia, HMV, Pye, Philips, and Oriole all turned them down. Dick Rowe at Decca signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes in preference, famously added insult to injury ‘Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr Epstein’. After the failure of the Decca audition, Brian Epstein was running out of options. Early in 1962 he managed to get a meeting with George Martin, the manager of Parlophone Records, an eclectic label owned by EMI. Martin was more charmed by the Beatles manager than their music. “I wasn’t too impressed with the tape Brian Epstein had played me,” Martin  told Desert Island Discs in 1996 . “There was something there but I couldn’t find out whether it was worthwhile or not.” As a favour to E

Why did George Martin sign The Beatles?

The Beatles first recording contract Despite their local success in Liverpool and Hamburg - and Brian Epstein's best efforts -  The Beatles struggled to get their first recording deal.

Why did The Beatles sack Pete Best?

'We were cowards when we sacked him'  John Lennon

What was The Beatles first single?

George Martin wanted The Beatles first single to be  How Do You Do It, a Tin Pan Alley song which he felt had commercial potential.

What is the most recorded song?

Wimpole Street  “I woke up with a lovely tune in my head.  I thought, ‘That’s great, I wonder what that is?’  There was an upright piano next to me, to the right of the bed by the window.    I got out of bed, sat at the piano, found G, found F sharp minor 7th – and that leads you through then to B to E minor, and finally back to E.  It all leads forward logically.  I liked the melody a lot but because I’d dreamed it I couldn’t believe I’d written it. 

Why was Eleanor Rigby a turning point fo The Beatles?

How George Martin transform a 'dirge' into the first Beatles Number 1?

George Martin was initially unconvinced that Lennon & McCartney could consistently write hit songs. For their second single John Lennon put forward Please Please Me - his attempt to channel Roy Orbison. Again the verdict was a resounding thumbs down: I listened to it and I said: 'Do you know that's too boring for words? It's a dirge. At twice the speed it might sound reasonable.' They took me at my word. I was joking and they came back and played it to me sped up and put a harmonica on it. Impressed by the dramatic improvement, George Martin agreed to give the song a second chance. He was not to regret his decision:  We worked for ages on their new version of 'Please Please Me', and I said: 'Gentlemen, you're going to have your first #1. Source: Interview with George Martin, The Observer Music Monthly, 2006

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