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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11, 1962

I think we can all agree that September 11 is one of those days that has major significance in recent history. And, yes, I will be bringing up the reason why that is the case a little bit later on in this particular blog. One reason being that I talked about this event last year in my blog in full detail. Somewhere in the blog will be a link to that entry. You'll know it when you see it.

At the same time though, I wanted to also use this Tuesday Timeline entry for this week to try and talk about another event in the world of pop culture. Not because I want to downplay the horrible tragedy of the eleventh of September, but because I wanted to point out that there were so many other interesting events that have taken place on September 11, and I really wanted to focus on those events as well. It doesn't mean that we'll ever forget what happened in history eleven years ago, but rather, it will help us remember a time in which September 11 was also a date of great discovery and milestone events in addition to it being a time of mourning.

So, if you're living in America, I hope that you take this Patriot Day to reflect on what happened and to continue living your lives...and to the rest of you, a very happy Tuesday to all of you!

To begin this look back on September 11, we have some celebrity birthdays to list here. Celebrating a birthday today are Oliver Jones, Ian Abercrombie, Brian De Palma, Lola Falana, Mickey Hart, Felton Perry, Dennis Tufano, Amy Madigan, Jani Allan, Tony Gilroy, Brad Bird, Jon Moss, Brad Lesley, Scott Patterson, Roxann Dawson, Virginia Madsen, Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily, Kristy McNichol, Colin Wells, Victor Wooten, Moby, Maria Bartiromo, Harry Connick Jr, Kay Hanley, Laura Wright, Mark Klepaski, Elephant Man, Ludacris, Ben Lee, Frank Francisco, Steve Hofstetter, Mike Comrie, Charles Kelley, and Shaun Livingston.

And, here are a few of the historical events that have taken place on September 11 in history, including the event that I alluded to in the opening paragraph.

1541 – The city of Santiago, Chile is destroyed by indigenous warriors, lead by Michimalonko

1609 – Manhattan Island is discovered by explorer Henry Hudson

1649 – The Siege of Drogheda ends

1709 – The Battle of Malplaquet heats up as Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Austria wage war against France

1775 – Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec leaves Cambridge, Massachusetts

1776 – A peace conference held on Staten Island between Britain and the United States fails to stop nascent American Revolutionary War

1786 – The beginning of the Annapolis Convention

1789 – Alexander Hamilton is appointed the first United States Secretary of Treasury

1792 – Six men break into the place where French crown jewels are stored and steal the Hope Diamond

1847 – “Oh! Suzanna”, a song written by Stephen Foster, is first performed in a Pennsylvania saloon

1857 – 120 pioneers are killed in Utah on what would be known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre

1903 – The first race at the Milwaukee Mile is held, making it the oldest speedway in the world

1916 – The central span of the Quebec Bridge collapses, killing eleven

1922 – The Sun-News Pictoral, an Australian newspaper is founded, running until 1990

1939 – Canada declares war on Germany in the early stages of World War II, the first time that Canada made an independent declaration of war

1941 – On the same day that the ground is broken for the construction of The Pentagon, Charles Lindbergh makes his Des Moines speech which accused Britain, the Jews, and the Roosevelt administration for pressing for war against Germany

1954 – Hurricane Edna batters New England, killing 29 people

1961 – Seven years after Edna, Hurricane Carla strikes Texas, the second-strongest storm to strike the state

1970 – The Dawson's Field hijackers release 88 hostages

1972 – The opening day of the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit system

1985 – Pete Rose breaks Ty Cobb's record for most career hits when he makes his 4,192nd hit

1988 – St. Jean Bosco massacre occurs in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

1992 – Hurricane Iniki slams into Hawaiian Islands, devastating the islands of Oahu and Kauai

1997 – NASA's Mars Global Surveyor reaches Mars

(To read my account of the attacks that I wrote last year on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, click on the paragraph above.)

2003 – Actor John Ritter falls ill on the set of “8 Simple Rules” and dies hours later from an aortic dissection just days before his fifty-fifth birthday. Also on this date, Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh dies at 47, just a day after a horrific knife attack launched on her.

You want to know what I found eerie about the list of events? Just how many of them were based in New York City and Washington D.C.

But for today's trip back through time, we're going to jolly old England. For the date we are going back to is exactly five decades ago.

September 11, 1962.

So, what happened on this date fifty years ago today? Quite a bit, actually. On this date in 1962, a famous rock band was in the recording studio recording the song that would eventually become their debut single. But as you'll soon discover, the process in the song recording was actually a long-drawn out process. It was right around the time that the band was experiencing a personnel change within its members, and it was a period in which the band was still trying to find their groove, and what worked. In fact, September 11, 1962 was the THIRD attempt at recording this song, as the previous two didn't work out so well.

So, what song are we featuring in this particular entry? It's this one.

ARTIST: The Beatles
SONG: Love Me Do
ALBUM: Please Please Me
DATE RELEASED: October 5, 1962

That's right. We're taking a look back at the song “Love Me Do”. Although it didn't chart in North America until the spring of 1964, it was the debut single for The Beatles in the UK. And, the song was recorded exactly fifty years ago today on September 11, 1962.

Or was it September 4, 1962? Or, possibly June 6, 1962?

Well, actually, it was all three. And, yes, I will explain why this was the case.

The song “Love Me Do” was actually written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Most of the song was written by McCartney back in 1958 on a day in which he played hookey from school (as I'm sure most sixteen year olds did at least once in their lives). Lennon ended up writing the “middle eight”.

The song was originally recorded in the studios on June 6, 1962 under the band's original line-up, which as most Beatles fans will tell you comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best. The song was actually a part of their audition at EMI Studios, located at 3 Abbey Road in London.

But then something happened later that summer that would force the song to be re-recorded. In August 1962, Pete Best was let go from The Beatles by the other three members, having been informed of the decision by The Beatles' then-manager Brian Epstein. Though much speculation was made as to why this was the case, that would take a whole blog entry to get into the reasons why. With Best gone, The Beatles welcomed Ringo Starr into the line-up on August 16, 1962.

Just a couple of weeks later, on September 4, The Beatles (now with Ringo Starr) went back to the recording studios to rehearse and re-record “Love Me Do”, “Please Please Me”, and several other songs. Brian Epstein footed the bill for the band to fly down to London, and the band set up in studio three. Producer George Martin was also at the recording session, but wasn't exactly wowed by the songwriting talents of Lennon and McCartney. When the band arrived at the recording studios, Martin was insistent on having the band record a song written by Mitch Murray called “How Do You Do It?”. The song was written originally for Adam Faith, and Murray believed that the song would be a perfect debut single for the band.

One problem. The Beatles were insistent on recording their OWN material. Luckily for them, Martin was willing to let them try. He still was apprehensive about it, but he gave them the benefit of the doubt.

Initially, Martin was still dead-set on releasing “How Do You Do It?” as The Beatles' first single, and almost went through with it. But upon hearing the finished copy of “Love Me Do”, he changed his mind.

But Martin wasn't completely satisfied with the final cut. In particular, he wasn't too keen on the drumming part, which Ringo Starr performed on the September 4 recordings, believing that Starr was having trouble keeping with the beat of the song (something that McCartney reportedly agreed with). As a result, he made the decision to schedule a third recording session on September 11 to try recording the song a third time...without Ringo on drums.

At that time, a number of record producers were using professional show band drummers during recording sessions to try and keep up with the sound that dominated the charts. And in this case, professional drummer Andy White was brought into the third session for “Love Me Do”. The reason he was chosen was largely due to Ron Richards. At the time of the September 11 sessions, George Martin was unavailable to sit in on the recording, so Richards was brought in. And since Richards had worked with White before, it made perfect sense to use him for the session.

But with Andy White being brought into the recording session to re-record “Love Me Do”, it left a rather nasty taste in the mouth of Ringo Starr, who was under the false assumption that his time with The Beatles was ending after not even less than a month. It was bad enough that many of Pete Best's fans were already making him out to be a sort of pariah for taking his place, but this was a lot for Ringo to deal with. Ron Richards even revealed that when the recording was happening, Ringo sat down next to him in the control booth and sat there in complete silence before he asked him to play the maracas on another single, “P.S. I Love You”. It was a bit tension-filled during that September 11 recording session, but eventually Ringo accepted the apologies that both Richards and Martin offered him since the session. Of course, this didn't stop Ringo from never letting Richards forget what happened.

Eventually, the problem of the “Love Me Do” controversy was solved by having both Starr and White play on the record. White played the drums, while Starr played the tambourine, and the third version of “Love Me Do” was completed later that day.

So, that's the story of “Love Me Do”. It was one of the few songs that was recorded three different times by three different drummers! And, believe it or not, despite the fact that the original master tapes from the September 4 session were erased (due to the common practice of erasing the tapes once the singles were mixed down to create the “new” master tapes which would be used to print the records), all three versions can be found in various Beatles compilations. You just have to know where to look.

If you want to hear the June 6, 1962 version of the song “Love Me Do”, with Pete Best on drums, you just need to locate a copy of “Anthology 1”, released in 1995.

If you're interested in listening to the September 4, 1962 version of the song, with Ringo Starr on drums, you can find it on the Beatles compilation album “Rarities”, released in 1980.

And, of course, the September 11, 1962 version with Andy White on drums is the one that is most commonly heard, and is the version located on the “Please Please Me” album...which is partly the reason why I opted to choose today as the date to spotlight what would be the first of dozens of hit singles for The Beatles.

And, that is our look back on September 11, 1962. And with that, I end this note off with a bit of trivia.

TRIVIA: There is one distinct difference between the September 4 version and the September 11 version. The September 4 version doesn't contain a tambourine.

Now you know.

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