It’s time for some Beatles, and who could argue with that. Let’s listen to the isolated lead and background vocals on their big hit “Please, Please Me.”
Not to be confused with the UK album of the same name, “Please, Please Me” was the second single that the band released and prompted the record label (EMI) to go ahead with an album. In the US, this was a huge hit for the band, but was issued on the album called Introducing. . .The Beatles on the small V-Jay label. Capitol (the EMI affiliate label in the States) had so little belief in the band that it didn’t want to touch this single or album. Needless to say, that attitude changed fast.
Marathon Recording Session
“Please, Please Me” was just one of the 14 songs recording in November of 1962 that made up the first album, and they were all recorded in a one day marathon session. A short overdub session on “Misery” and “Baby It’s You” where producer George Martin added piano (the band wasn’t present) about 3 weeks later completed the recording. Also, this is the album that studio musician Andy White was brought in to play drums on, although “Please, Please Me” is all Ringo. What was recorded that first day was mainly their stage act.
Not only were all these songs recorded in one day, they were all tracked live on a 2-track recorder. The band was recorded on track 1 while the vocals were recorded on track 2, which is why there’s such good separation. This was done in order to be sure that the perfect balance was achieved during the mix.
The session cost about $11,000 in today’s money, with each of the Beatles making the equivalent of $362 for the day, which was the Musician’s Union minimum for 4 three-hour sessions (it took about 13 hours to record).
Listen For. . .
- The short reverb on the vocals
- The way the track was muted in between vocal phrases
- How the vocals are fairly loose by today’s standards (not that anyone cared back then or since)
- The excellent vocal blend
Unfortunately, embedding the video that has the vocal has been disabled, but you can listen for yourself when you follow this link: