Beatles Record At EMI

By Brian Epstein  

Mersey Beat: September 20 1962

Abbey Road Recording StudioAt 8.15 on the morning of Tuesday, September 4th, believe it or not, the Beatles assembled on the tarmac of Liverpool Airport. In the wind and the rain the front cover of this issue was taken, a few minutes before their departure to London to make their first record for Parlophone. The boys were in great form (even at that early hour) although they were subjected to a somewhat bumpy and tiring flight.

After registering at their Chelsea hotel they arrived at EMI's studios in St. John's Wood. No. 2 studio was prepared and their A and R manager, George Martin with his assistant Ron Richards (who records Adam Faith and Shane Fenton) were awaiting their arrival, and so was their road manager Neil Aspinall, who had safely transported the equipment from Liverpool. And so the moment came that so many aspirants long for, the moment when all was set to make a first disc. A first disc with the world's greatest recording organization. The rehearsal part of the session began. It was a long and hard afternoon's work. Six numbers were considered and eventually two were selected for the actual recording session in the evening. The work was relieved when one of London's best known photographers, Dezo Hoffman arrived to take numerous photographs - you will see the excellent results in Mersey Beat soon.

George Martin and the Beatles in Abbey Road's Studio 2Between sessions George Martin took the Beatles out for dinner at his favourite Italian restaurant. During the meal, to the delight of the group, he recounted his experiences when recording Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan. And then the session proper. 'Love Me Do' was no simple matter. Everyone was anxious to attain a perfect sound which would reproduce the Beatles' unique qualities exactly. The backing (voices were superimposed later) was 'taken' no less than 15 times - John's mouth (on harmonica) was numb with playing and the atmosphere was tense. When the vocals had been recorded and the session ended (at midnight) everyone was so dazed and tired that it wasn't really known how good or bad was the result.

The Beatles' manager was left in no doubt as to the result when he heard the disc in George Martin's office the next morning. his reaction, like George's, was of great delight. Johnny Spence's comment was "could it be better?"


Editor's note: When this article was first published, it did not contain a credit. I had asked Brian to write his experiences of the Beatles recording session for me, but he didn't want his name to be linked to it. I also asked him to have a photograph taken for me at Liverpool Airport (could they have known when they arrived on that windy day that sometime in the future it would be renamed John Lennon Airport?). I featured the photograph on the front cover and noticed that you could almost detect the black eye George had received from a Pete Best fan at the Cavern.

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