Fab Four Friday: Episode Six
Welcome to another foray into Beatles history with Chiefs pitching coach Greg Booker as our guide. This week, after navigating Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, Booker has taken is more mainstream with the group’s 1963 title track Please Please Me. It’s a song that very nearly never got recorded…
Greg Booker: When they put out the single, on the label of the first American release, Beatles was spelled with two “t”s. They misspelled Beatles. You’ve gotta realize they weren’t even really big in the U.K. yet. The British Prime Minister at the time, Gordon Brown, revealed later that Please Please Me was the first record he ever bought in his life. The run-ins they ended up having with the government over there, later on the Prime Minister at the time said he really liked it and that was the first record he ever bought.
Jason Benetti: On the misspelling thing, remember when Stephen Strasburg was here, Trent had the card up outside in the tunnel and his name said “Stasburg.”
Booker: I do remember that. It reminds me when I was playing with the Padres and we had just signed Steve Garvey from the Dodgers as a free agent. The first jersey he put on, his name was spelled “Gravey.” You got this big production about signing really one of the first big free agents in Padre history and his name reads “Gravey” on the back.
Benetti: Well, they did always say he was a meat and potatoes guy.
Booker: He had Popeye arms, I know that. We’re talking today about the song itself Please Please Me, but it’s just another one of the many songs early in The Beatles days, and it changed drastically toward the end of the ’60s the length of their songs, on the album Please Please Me, the longest in time was Anna Go To Him at 2:57. Please Please Me only ran for 2:03. At least were under two minutes. They had to have filler songs because their songs were so short. I still like a lot of their later stuff, but I tend to go back to their earlier stuff as far as preference. The songs were short, they were to the point, they told something. The arrangement and the music was, instead of filling-in stuff in garbled-up instrumental stuff and weird sitars which made no sense to me. I like the short storytelling-type things.
Time to listen in:
Booker: Great harmony to begin. He’s talking about my girl.
Booker: His, I guess. My girl’s in North Carolina. If you look back, a lot of their early stuff didn’t have a predominant drum. He was just keeping beat. In here, there’s a really quick three-second thing that Ringo does on the drums that was a big hit back then and is one of my favorite parts of the song. Right here.
Benetti: Just to drive it to the bridge.
Booker: It’s simple, but that is huge in that song right there. I love that. Pete Best used to play this before Ringo came along and I think if not this song, but right in this time, is when George Martin said, “You have to get rid of the drummer.”
And they did.
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