At a Recording
With the Beatles
By Alan Smith
During the session the lads also performed their arrangement of another of their own songs, 'The Tip Of My Tongue.' Earlier in the evening George Martin considered using this as the 'B' side of 'Please Please Me', but later he decided 'Ask Me Why' would be better.
Many groups these days
they're heaven's gift to the music business
"It's a great number," he told me, "but we'll have to spend a bit of time giving it a new arrangement. I'm not too happy with it as it
is. "Perhaps we can work it out when I come to Liverpool. I'm thinking of recording their first LP at the Cavern, but
obviously I'm going to have to come to see the club before I make a decision.
"If we can't get the right sound we might do the record somewhere else in Liverpool or bring an invited audience into the studio in London. They've told me they work better in front of an audience."
He added that the numbers on the disc would probably be all originals written by the group (they've turned out more than a 100), but this hadn't finally been decided.
"Another thing that's worrying us is the title", he went on. "After all, LPs need a catchy name if they're going to stand out in the shop window." Any suggestions?
Editor's note: The number had actually been written by John Lennon, who'd thought of the idea when he remembered a song by Bing Crosby in which he sang the line 'Please lend a little ear to my pleas.' They recorded the song on Monday November 26 1962, but hadn't then decided on the order of the songwriting credits. They decided on using both their names on all their compositions, whether written individually or together. Should it be McCartney & Lennon or Lennon & McCartney. "John got his way, as usual," Paul said. However, it's logical to take alphabetical order and L comes before M.
This joint credit has caused Paul frustration over the years, particularly in relation to songs such as 'Yesterday.' In November 2002, exactly 40 years after the recording Paul decided to change the order of Beatles song credits: "To show who really did the work." On his album "Back In The U.S. Live 2002,' released in America on October 26, the anniversary of the very day that 'Please Please Me' was recorded, he has changed the credits on numbers such as 'Eleanor Rigby', 'Can't Buy Me Love', 'Let It Be', 'Hey Jude' and 'Yesterday' to 'composed by Paul McCartney and John Lennon.'
The Beatles had originally planned to record 'Please Please Me' as the 'B' side of 'Love Me Do,' but George Martin wasn't happy about the arrangement of the song at the time. For their second single, Martin wanted them to record a Mitch Murray number, 'How Do You Do It.' The Beatles were unhappy about this and didn't put their heart into the recording of the number. In the meantime, Martin had advised them to lift the tempo of 'Please Please Me' and it was confirmed as their second single. Martin then recorded Gerry & the Pacemakers with 'How Do You Do It.' Strangely enough, the Pacemakers topped the charts with it, beating their fellow Liverpudlians to the No.1. spot. This was because the Record Retailer chart was regarded as the official industry chart. The Beatles, of course, had topped the New Musical Express and other charts with 'Please Please Me.'
Martin decided not to record the Beatles at the Cavern as he thought there would be too many technical difficulties. Other A&R men did manage to record in the club, including John Schroeder and Noel Walker, and there was a regular radio programme recorded from inside the Cavern called 'Sunday Night At The Cavern.' It was decided to title the album after the hit single although only eight of the 14 numbers were their own compositions and not all, as Martin had thought might be the case. Although they told people they'd written over 100 songs by this time, that figure proved to be an exaggeration, as Paul was to admit some years later.
Brian Epstein's protégé Tommy Quickly was to record 'Tip Of My Tongue,' but it failed to chart.
Alan Smith was a Merseyside journalist who had moved to London to work for the New Musical Express. I commissioned him to write a series of columns for Mersey Beat - and due to the fact that he was employed by the NME, his columns went under the name George Jones. Interestingly enough, the columns were called 'On The Beat', a name which, many years later, was to inspire a long-running series of that title on Radio Merseyside. Alan's wife Mavis was later to join the Apple press office, working with Derek Taylor.