Wednesday Jan. 20, 2021’s Smile of the Day: The Beatles

On this Day:

In 1964, the “Meet The Beatles!” album is released in the US, claiming to be The Beatles “First Album”. 

Meet the Beatles! is a studio album by the English rock band the Beatles, but was actually their second album released in the United States. 

It was the group’s first American album to be issued by Capitol Records, on 20 January 1964 in both mono and stereo formats. It topped the popular album chart on 15 February 1964 and remained at number one for eleven weeks before being replaced by The Beatles’ Second Album. The cover featured Robert Freeman’s iconic portrait of the Beatles used in the United Kingdom for With the Beatles, with a blue tint added to the original stark black-and-white photograph.

After constantly rejecting requests by both Brian Epstein and George Martin to release Beatles records in the United States, in November 1963 EMI label head Sir Joseph Lockwood sent a deputy to Los Angeles ordering EMI’s subsidiary, Capitol Records, to commence promoting and releasing Beatles records in the United States. Despite the “first album” claim on the “Meet The Beatles” cover, ten days prior to its release, Vee-Jay Records of Chicago beat Capitol to the punch with the release of the Beatles’ American debut album “Introducing… The Beatles”.  This album had been delayed for release for various reasons since the previous summer. Perhaps as a result of the Vee-Jay release, Liberty Music Shops advertised in the New York Times of 12 January 1964 that Meet the Beatles! was available for purchase, an ad not authorised by Capitol.

In 2003, “Meet the Beatles!” was ranked number 59 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 53 in a 2012 revised list.

In the U.S., the album debuted at No. 92 on the album chart for the week ending 1 February 1964. Two weeks later, it peaked at #1 where it remained eleven consecutive weeks, eventually replaced by The Beatles’ Second Album. It sold 4,045,174 copies by 31 December 1964, and 4,699,348 copies by the end of the decade. It was certified Gold by the RIAA on 3 February 1964, and 5× Platinum on 26 December 1991.

The album contained such hits as: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (vocals: Lennon and McCartney),  “I Saw Her Standing There” (McCartney), “All My Loving” (McCartney), “Hold Me Tight” (McCartney),  and “I Wanna Be Your Man” (Starr) (per Wikipedia).

First, a Story:

So The Beatles and their producer, George Martin, were in the studio……

Paul: Any ideas on how to end Hey Jude?

John: Nah

George: Nah

Ringo: Nah

George Martin: Nah

Paul: Perfect!

Second, a Song:

In 2004, “I Saw Her Standing There” was ranked No. 139 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Originally titled “Seventeen”, the song was conceived by McCartney when driving home from a Beatles’ concert in Southport, Lancashire as a modern take on the traditional song “As I Roved Out”, a version of “Seventeen Come Sunday” that he had heard in Liverpool in 1960. According to Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn, McCartney first worked out the chords and arrangement on an acoustic guitar at the family home of his Liverpool friend and fellow musician Rory Storm on the evening of 22 October 1962. Two days later, McCartney was writing lines for the song during a visit to London with his then-girlfriend Celia Mortimer, who was seventeen at the time herself. The song was completed about a month later at McCartney’s Forthlin Road home in collaboration with Lennon and performed as part of their set in December 1962 in the Star Club in Hamburg.

The lyrics were written in a Liverpool Institute exercise book. Remember: The Recollections and Photographs of the Beatles, a book by McCartney’s brother Mike McCartney, includes a photograph taken in the front room of his home of Lennon and McCartney writing the song while strumming their acoustic guitars and reading the exercise book. It typified how Lennon and McCartney would later work in partnership, as McCartney subsequently reflected: “I had ‘She was just seventeen,’ and then ‘never been a beauty queen’. When I showed it to John, he screamed with laughter, and said ‘You’re joking about that line, aren’t you?'” “We came up with, ‘You know what I mean.’ Which was good, because you don’t know what I mean.” “It was one of the first times he ever went ‘What? Must change that …'” Lennon said: “That’s Paul doing his usual good job of producing what George Martin used to call a ‘potboiler’. I helped with a couple of the lyrics.” The songwriting credit on the Please Please Me liner notes is “McCartney–Lennon” which differs from the more familiar “Lennon–McCartney” that appears on subsequent releases (per Wikipedia).

Here is a video of the Beatles performing “I Saw Her Standing There” that was part of the Drop In show in Stockholm, Sweden in 1963.  Several amazing things about this video.  One, the fans are sitting literally at Paul, George and John’s feet. Imagine that happening at a later concert or being that close to the Beatles!  Another is the next band in the show walking on stage and starting setting up before the Beatles are even finished with their song.  I hope you enjoy this.


Thought for the Day:

“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” – John Lennon


Have a great day!

Dave & Colleen

© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky

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