Please Please Me
By Alex Hendler
Copyright © 2012 Alex Hendler
In an era when musical artists often take months to complete an album, it’s hard to believe that the Beatles recorded their first album in a single day. But that is exactly what happened and this story is a fictional account of that legendary day.
While reading some of the detailed descriptions of the recording of the songs, you might notice the painstaking way in which the author avoided using any of the songs’ lyrics. This is because receiving permission to use lyrics from the copyright owners (who, with one exception, are not the Beatles) is an especially burdensome process. So, as you read through this tale, I ask you to press a few buttons on the jukebox that lives inside your head to provide the musical accompaniment.
1963 brought the coldest winter to Great Britain since 1740. Much of the Thames froze over from bank to bank, and in some of the villages along the great frozen river it wasn’t unusual to see boys risk falling through the ice for a hearty game of bicycle hockey. Everywhere you went, if you could go anywhere at all, the only conversation to be had was about the weather.
For a young band from Liverpool, the winter of 1963 ushered in their first national tour. As the last act in a package tour, their unusual name – The Beatles – appeared in the smallest type on the bottom of the tour’s promotional poster, underneath such memorable acts as The Red Price Band, the Honeys, Danny Williams, and Helen Shapiro, the sweet, teenaged tour headliner whose deep, powerhouse voice and perfect beehive hairdo had made her a sensation in England. The Beatles were thrilled to be a part of it all. As they traveled around frozen England on the coach with the other acts, playing in ballrooms and cinemas in towns like Doncaster, Wakefield, and Taunton, they couldn’t help but feel optimistic about what the year would bring them.