The Beatles were one of the biggest bands in the world, and they became known for their work at Abbey Road. The music studio has always been iconic, but when The Beatles arrived it was even more important. Now, their work there is legendary – but when did they first record at Abbey Road?
Technically, this is a date which has been disputed by various people.
The band did their first recording session on June 6, 1962, with their previous drummer Pete Best.
After signing with EMI the band started recording during which time concerns were raised about Pete’s drumming.
The band’s producer replaced Pete with a session drummer for Love Me Do as he was concerned about Best’s timing.
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George Martin said of this decision in The Beatles: Anthology: “I decided that the drums, which are really the backbone of a good rock group, didn’t give the boys enough support.
“They needed a good solid beat, and I said to Brian, ‘Look, it doesn’t matter what you do with the boys, but on record, nobody need know. I’m gonna use a hot drummer.’
“Brian [Epstein] said, ‘Okay, fine.’ I felt guilty because I felt maybe I was the catalyst that had changed his [Best’s] life…”
When John, Sir Paul and George Harrison realised the engineers wanted them to replace Pete with a session drummer for their upcoming recording session in September, they decided to permanently remove him from the group.
According to Brian, he was unsure of this decision, and said in his autobiography he “was not anxious to change the membership of the Beatles at a time when they were developing as personalities … I asked the Beatles to leave the group as it was.”
Pete was also very popular with fans, so the decision was difficult for Brian.
However, as he wrote years later: “If the group was to remain happy, Pete Best must go.”
Brian fired Pete from the group in his office on August 16, 1962, and Sir Ringo started in the band two days later.
However, the recordings which some are considered their first formal recordings took place on September 6, as it was the first group of recordings at Abbey Road which included the final foursome.
George called The Beatles back into the studio to try again after their disastrous June recordings with Pete, and so they had to re-record Please, Please Me and Love Me Do.
They recorded six songs in all, but of course, George was still meticulous and was not very impressed with Sir Ringo’s drumming, so he replaced him during their third Abbey Road session with Andy White.
Subsequent recordings of the song has Sir Ringo either on the drums or playing the tambourine.
These early sessions also heard Please, Please Me at a slower tempo than the final version, which was eventually recorded in a session in late 1962.
Clearly, these early recording sessions did not yield the goods, as far as George saw it, it wasn’t until the band had gelled over a few months that they were giving the goods.
Of course, as they continued to record at Abbey Road over the years, it became more and more iconic.
Their famous album cover for their Abbey Road album has now become something fans attempt to recreate in St John’s Wood, and the studios are a tourist destination as well as working studios.
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