I can still remember the first time I heard a Beatles song. It was the fall of 1964, my second year in an American school after my family moved back from overseas, and I was standing on the corner of 64th street and First Avenue with my friend Larry Campbell. I had a brand new, red, plastic transistor radio, and he tuned it to WABC AM and “Love Me Do” came on the air. The soundtrack of my life changed at that moment, with The Beatles becoming the recurring and dominant theme.
lest you think I jest,
“Love Me Do” was recorded by the Beatles on three different occasions with three different drummers at EMI Studios at 3 Abbey Road in London:
EMI Artist Test on 6 June 1962 with Pete Best on drums. This version (previously thought to be lost) is available on Anthology 1.
First proper recording session 4 September 1962. In August, Best had been replaced with Ringo Starr. Producer George Martin did not approve of Best’s drumming for studio work. It was the norm at that time to have a specialist studio drummer who knew the ways of studio work. The decision to fire Best was not Martin’s. The Beatles with Starr recorded a version at EMI Studios.
Second recording session 11 September 1962. One week later, the Beatles returned to the same studio and they made a recording of “Love Me Do” with session drummer Andy White on drums. Starr was relegated to playing tambourine. As tambourine is not present on the 4 September recording, this is the easiest way to distinguish between the Starr and White recordings.