Welcome to the Beatles Rarity of the Week. When The Beatles’ second Parlophone single, “Please Please Me,” started rushing up the British charts, the idea of getting a Beatles debut album out gained a new level of urgency. Producer George Martin was keen on striking while the iron was hot. He booked them for three sessions at EMI Studio 2 on February 11th, 1963 with the plan of getting ten more songs recorded to accompany the four sides of their first two singles for a customary 14-track British LP. To draw attention to the included #1 hit single, the album would also be called Please Please Me.
Although they needed ten new tracks, The Beatles actually did one better and recorded 11 with their composition “Hold Me Tight” being left off and rerecorded later for the follow-up album With The Beatles. Six of the tracks on the album were to be covers that they had performed on stage hundreds of times, meaning they would be able to knock those out quickly with very few overdubs. They decided to get their own compositions recorded first, starting the 10am session with a song primarily penned by John Lennon called “There’s A Place.”
The title for “There’s A Place” was inspired by the line “there’s a place for us” in the song “Somewhere,” written by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim for the soundtrack to the film West Side Story. Paul McCartney remembers owning the record at the time “There’s A Place” was composed. The place being described in the song is within the mind, making it deeper than most of the subject matter of pop songs of the day, which were often simpler boy-meets-girl type love songs. John, a fan of the Motown style, wanted to write something with a similar feel.
Ten takes were recorded of “There’s A Place” before they were satisfied. The Beatles simply performed the track live in the studio and that is almost what we are hearing on the album, with the main exception being the later addition of John’s harmonica overdubs, completed in three takes later in the day.
For BROW this week, I’m featuring the “warm-up” take 1, which was the very first of all their recordings for that day. Despite John and Paul both suffering from seasonal colds (Paul can be heard coughing just before take 1 starts), the take comes over almost as well as the final take 10 that was used on the master, with only a slight over-hesitation noted with the guitar during the intro.
The Beatles - There's A Place
Extra info: “There’s A Place” was composed mainly by John Lennon at Paul McCartney’s 20 Forthlin Rd home. It was used in their stage repertoire in 1963 and was recorded several times for their BBC performances in July and August of that year.
Beatles music/literature makes great gifts for the holiday season. Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) Please Please Me – 2009 CD (or vinyl) remaster of original stereo 1963 debut Beatles album, featuring finalized mix of “There’s A Place.”
2) On Air – Live At The BBC Volume 2 Just released 2013 2-CD (or 3-disc vinyl) compilation of BBC recordings made by The Beatles between 1963 and 1965. Includes a a 1963 performance of “There’s A Place.”
3) The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 – a collection of surviving transcripts of The Beatles BBC radio and television appearances from 1962 – 1970 (Kindle or Hardback editions).
4) With The Beatles – 2009 CD (or vinyl) remaster of original 1963 stereo LP, featuring “Hold Me Tight” originally recorded in the Please Please Me LP sessions.