So sayeth John Lennon. I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything Beatles-related at all until now. This post more than makes up for it. The music contained herein is cracking. What makes it all the more amazing is that this recording is of a radio show and is over 40 years old. It’s amazing to think these recordings exist, let alone in good quality. God knows who originally recorded it, or how they recorded it, but somehow they did, and thanks to the wonders of the internet, it’s all here. First though, the history part.
In 1963, as a live phenomenon, The Beatles were at the top of their game. Their years of playing extended sets in Hamburg had taught them how to handle a crowd. Their own fantastic songwriting talent was emerging and many of these songs were yet to be committed to vinyl. In a couple of years time they would be a spent force on the live stage. Limitations in their equipment couldn’t match the increasingly bigger venues the band were playing. This show was recorded for Swedish Radio at Karplan Studios in Stockholm on October 24th 1963. It captures the Beatles playing their early 60s set, drawing on a mixture of originals and covers. From Paul’s “2, 3, 4″ count-in onwards, this set sounds like proto-punk. The playing is spot-on. The vocal harmonies are tight and Ringo’s backeat holds it all together. There’s a John one (From Me To You), a Paul one (I Saw Her Standing There), a George one (Roll Over Beethoven), a fast one (Money), a slow one (You Really Got A Hold On Me) and all the big hits (She Loves You, Twist & Shout). And it’s all in crystal clear high fidelity mp3 (!)
Hans Westman was the studio engineer for Swedish radio. “The worst recordings I’ve ever made,” he said. “Totally chaotic. No time for rehearsals.” The studio wasn’t best equipped for recording a ‘beat group’ and there were problems overcoming the UK plugs on the Vox amps. But once sorted, The Beatles simply plugged in and played. Westman couldn’t apologise enough for his poor sound, but Lennon loved this recording. “We love distortion!“ Not long before he died in1980 he said that these were the best live recordings The Beatles ever made. And who can argue?
2. I Saw Her Standing There
3. From Me To You
5. Roll Over Beethoven
6. You Really Got A Hold On Me
7. She Loves You
8. Twist And Shout
You need this. It’s brilliant. The entire show is available here as a zip file., from me to you (arf).
(Above) back cover art (right-click and save)
(Below)Hans Westman’s original tape reel, signed by the fab four.