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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “Things We Said Today” (BBC ‘From Us To You’ broadcast)

Posted by on October 22, 2012 at 6:00 am.

The Beatles recorded this week’s BROW for the fourth and final BBC program From Us To You hosted by Don Wardell. The session took place on July 17, 1964. Only three days earlier the BBC version of “Things We Said Today” heard on the 2-CD Apple compilation Live At The BBC was recorded for another BBC program called Top Gear. The recording featured here aired on the BBC Light Programme on August 3, 1964.

The sound quality suffers somewhat on this account of the song since it was actually obtained by a studio employee who only just managed to get a copy of a copy of a copy. During this period, The Beatles were heavily plugging their latest album A Hard Day’s Night released only a week earlier in the U.K. in conjunction with the new film of the same title.

Although the BBC studios didn’t have multi-tracking capability, The Beatles still were able to record overdubs live during tape-to-tape copies. That is how they managed to double-track Paul McCartney’s lead vocal plus add handclaps and tambourine to this alternate account of “Things We Said Today.”

“Things We Said Today” was not included in the film A Hard Day’s Night but was featured on side 2 (the non-film song side) of the U.K. Parlophone album. In America, it was first heard on the Capitol LP Something New released on July 20, 1964. It was also included in The Beatles’ setlist on their summer 1964 tour.

The Beatles - Things We Said Today

The Beatles at the BBC

The Beatles at the BBC

Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) A Hard Day’s Night – 2009 remastered version of original 1964 stereo LP.

2) The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 – 2004 4-CD box set containing stereo and mono versions of the 4 Beatles Capitol albums from 1964 – Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New and Beatles ’65. Includes stereo and mono versions of “Things We Said Today.”

3) Live at the BBC – 1994 2-CD compilation of the best of The Beatles BBC recordings. Quite a set!

4) A Hard Day’s Night – 2002 2-DVD remastered version of original 1964 feature film and plenty of extra features, interviews, etc.

5) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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6 Comments

  • Tony Maxwell says:

    In late ’91, I had bought a wonderful bootleg LP, Beatles Not For Sale, at a record convention in Greensboro, NC. It’s when I first heard ‘How Do You Do It’, ‘That Means A Lot’, ‘If You’ve Got Troubles’, ‘Leave My Kitten Alone’, and too many other gems to mention here, and I’ve always treasured it.

    Anyway, I gave the dealer my number & asked him to call me if he had anything he thought I’d be interested in. In March of ’92, he called (from TN) and said he had a cassette collection of all of The Beatles BBC Recording sessions, which had been copied straight from a series of British radio programs which had only aired in England.

    I was very lacking in knowledge about these ‘programmes’, but from this person’s description, I had to at least hear them for myself, so I made a trade with him; I thought I might have gotten the short end of the deal, because I traded a Beatles Singles Collection (CD) for homemade cassette tapes that he’d probably had dozens of copies of.

    But sure enough, I get 12 90-minute cassettes, with hand-typed inserts giving the song listing, the programmes they’re from (Pop! Go The Beatles, Saturday Club, all the complete radio shows with interviews, introductions to song), and I’m right excited to get to listening to them.

    I was astounded that these recordings had never been commercially released. I remember playing these tapes in constant rotation, nothing else, during the entire summer and well into November of that year. Those performances leave no doubt that The Beatles could play their songs ‘live’, and there is barely a single performance that could not just as easily replaced the LP versions as we know them. It was like I had been given access to a long-forgotten document that would rock the world were these tapes ever released.

    Of course, the ‘Live at the BBC’ set was released not much later. I was prepared to hear the radio stations saturated with the songs from this collection, all the non-original ones that the programmers would be competing with to popularize on the air first, with many of them switching places on the Top 40 charts in the weeks and months following.

    This wasn’t some retread, like ‘Love Songs’ or that despicable ‘Rock and Roll’ collection- these were brand new songs as far as the current listening public were aware of, just as vital and significant as any of the original Beatles’ LPs were. And the comparitively tepid reaction to this amazing ‘resurrection’ of historical import was a shock I still haven’t quite gotten over, nearly 20 years later.

    When Nat mentions “how they managed to double-track Paul McCartney’s lead vocal plus add handclaps and tambourine” on “to record overdubs live during tape-to-tape copies,” I can’t help but wonder how magnificent it would have been had The Beatles continued to do these radio performances. Imagine if it had extended on through the ‘Rubber Soul’ and ‘Revolver’ era, when they would have had the same “tape-to-tape” advantage to compensate for increasingly sophisticated studio technology, leaving them free to play the instruments they were most comfortable with, resulting in some ersatz pre- ‘Unplugged’ radio performances where they could freely improvise their vocals and do the same thing they always did – provide a continuing intimacy with their fans through a weekly radio show, even (or especially) as they’re expanding their musical boundaries in the proper recording studio.
    (And think how much they would have enjoyed that in lieu of doing a 3rd concert tour in ’66!)
    This is a great cut though, Nat, I like hearing the pronounced rhythm guitar on the parts where it’s not as prominent as in the released version.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Wonderful story Tony! I have always loved the BBC recordings and felt the Apple 2-CD release was such a nip in the bucket as by that time I had all the recordings tucked away from – ahem, less commercial sources. The music often seems to have a fresher appeal than the versions on the EMI studio releases and the chat sessions with the late Brian Matthew and other hosts made them appear more “human” (and humorous!) than just these musical-gods that you only hear these incredible songs from all the time. It was insight into their personalities and a nice change from the often overplayed records. Now…have you received your “Love Me Do” single yet? I guess that’s a question for the other thread though…

  • Andy says:

    Tony, woah – that’s the best comment ever!

    I remember those days, I do; I had a similar situation of cassettes with Simon and Garfunkel, and every S&G “bootleg” on cassette was awesome and unlike anything that I had ever heard before (and sonically, they sounded nice, very nice). Yet, Columbia/Sony finally put a few of them out, and that was that, cassette trading was seemingly dead (I still listen to those cassettes, often in fact).

    Great cut Nat, indeed. This version is certainly a different listen from that included on the “Live at the BBC” release – I like this BROW better, in fact.

  • Tony Maxwell says:

    Sorry to be so late in replying, just one of those weeks. Andy, I thank you for the compliment, but these thoughts come out of me only from the revelations and insights I read on a site as endlessly fascinating as Nat manages to make his week after week – I need that motivation and passion that people like Nat, Elliott, you and the other commenters on this site bring out in me, because as attractive as the concept of being an ‘informer’ on a subject like The Beatles can be, these ‘brain droppings’ of mine serve only two purposes: to show the writer how much I enjoy reading (and responding to)their insights, and furthering my Beatles education through the invaluable knowledge they consistently provide to someone who never really wants or needs an acknowledgement as the most ‘educated’ Beatles historian, because 1) I’ll never attain that position, and 2) there will never come a day that I could lay claim to that, because if I ever think I have more insight, or ‘education’, than anyone else, I would be a miserable soul & couldn’t stand to live in my own skin, if that makes any sense.

    Actually, you got me excited mentioning your Simon and Garfunkel ‘finds’ that I had never even considered before – I could listen to them endlessly and would love to hear anything ‘new’ that’s circulating out there, as if their known body of work isn’t pleasurable enough!

    Nat, to answer your question: No. I have YET to see, hold or own a personal copy of the ‘Love Me Do’ anniversary single, and I curse Amazon for not fulfilling its obligation to provide me with a copy, despite the circumstances!

    But, in this one instance, I shall withold any further complaint about it – when I’ve got a virtual library of BROWs right here to indulge in, I can’t bemoan the loss of one new release of ‘old’ material to tuck in between my record collection for storage. Some day, I’ll get a copy of that record the old-fashioned way: paying an exhorbitant amount of money to some shady character at a record convention or online, like I’ve always done!

    Besides, you have a new post up regarding “Bootleg” Beatles that I simply MUST comment on, and will most certainly be doing so by this weekend.

    Best of wishes to everyone, and don’t think for a second that I’m going away anytime soon!

    • Happy Nat says:

      Tony, the new (corrected) singles still have the wrong catalog number on the “P.S. I Love You” side but at least they play the right version of “Love Me Do.” So I guess the corrected singles are really only the ‘semi-corrected’ singles. I went ahead and nabbed one of these to go with the other for posterity’s sake.

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