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Monday, 11 February 2013

Fifty years ago today.....London Zoo could have been as big as Abbey Road

Fifty years ago the four fresh faced and incredibly nervous Beatles came together in an EMI stuio to record their first album. The entire LP, Please Please Me was recorded in one 12 hour session and in fact as I write this, at this precise moment fifty years ago, the boys were working on Misery which would be the second track on the album.

For the album cover George Martin, a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, owners of the London Zoo, thought that it might be good publicity for the zoo to have The Beatles pose outside the insect house for the cover photography of the album. However, the stuffy old Zoological Society of London turned down Martin's offer, and instead, Angus McBean was asked to take the distinctive colour photograph of the group looking down over the stairwell inside EMI's London headquarters in Manchester Square.

The New Musical Express reported in January of 1963 - Please, Please Me recorded on Parlaphone by the Beatles had been publicized as the record of the year. I have the slightest nagging doubt about that, with fifty weeks of releases to come this year it may prove a teensy weensy exaggeration.

However it wasn't any exaggeration and after the album the world would never be the same - the album would be released on 22nd March. The Album sold strongly,helped along by some killer singles and by May hit the top spot where it would remain for thirty weeks until it was hit off the top spot by the Beatles second album. In the week that Please, Please Me hit No 1 the UK album top five looked like this:

1 Please Please Me - The Beatles
2 Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard
3 Reminiscing - Buddy Holly
4 It Happened at the World's Fair - Elvis Presley
5 I'll remeber You - Frank Ifield

The same week Roy Orbinson, interviewed in the Daily Mail, said that The Beatles sounded fresh and could be big in America. The big O went onto say that it is rare to find a new group who are not just a watered down version of Elvis Presley. He said the Beatles sound seemed to be all of their own and he thought it was great.

How right he was - the Beatles second album came out in November of 1963 and that week the top five UK albums were:

1 With The Beatles - The Beatles
2 Please Please Me - The Beatles
3 How Do You Like It - Gerry and the Pacemakers
4 Sugar and Spice - The Searchers
5 West Side Story - Original Cast

It truly is incredible but the recording of this album marked the appearance of the band on the world stage and even now they are still the biggest thing in all music. There's got to be a reason for this and indeed there is. The reason that the Beatles will last forever is quite simple - it's because they are f**king fab. The greatest band the world's ever seen - and that's a fact!

Note - Ringo yet to adopt Beatle hairstyle

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