Happy Birthday to Prue,
Happy Birthday to Prue,
Happy BIRTH-day… dear Prudence,
Happy Birthday to Prue!
The Sixties didn’t really kick into full swing until 1965. That was when the Beatles movie HELP! was released, the Beatles played Shea Stadium for the first time, and on September 1, 1965, British designer Mary Quant’s Youthquake fashion show introduced her miniskirts to America. One of the models on that trendsetting day was none other than Prue Bury, who is on the right in this newspaper photo. By Christmas, miniskirts and go-go boots were everywhere on American TV.
Sandy Moss, Sarah Dawson, and Prue Bury: NYC – September 1, 1965
Prue married Terry, her first husband, in early 1965, then they moved to New York City. Before leaving England, Terry reprised his croupier role from A Hard Day’s Night in an episode of the TV series Danger Man, or Secret Agent as it’s called in the United States. Here are some clips.
Majestic Ballroom, Birkenhead, Merseyside – Saturday, December 15, 1962
The online magazine Slate.com has a Beatles blog. They’re late getting to the party, and I don’t how long they’ll keep it going, but it’s always good to see general media outlets showing interest in the boys, now that we’re fifty years into Beatlemania.
A few posts ago I mentioned Ringo’s Premier brand drum kit — the one that predated his famous Ludwig drums. The kick drum had a squeaky pedal, as can be heard quite clearly on the Please Please Me album, especially in the twin-track stereo recording.
In the picture above is Ringo’s original drum kit, with his name on it, from his days playing with Rory Storm and the Hurricanes. A couple of months later, as seen below, the first official Beatles logo, as originally designed by Paul, was introduced. It didn’t last long, however, because a few months later it was replaced with the classic Beatles logo that was designed by Ivor Arbiter, and delivered with Ringo’s Ludwig drum kit.
‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ – Sunday, February 17, 1963
In the history of the Beatles, the significance of their working in Germany can’t be overstated. Their first professional-quality recordings, with Pete Best on drums, were made in Germany with Tony Sheridan who, sadly, died yesterday.
I’m becoming quite disquieted by the fact that everything — everything! — that matters to me from the 1960′s is now prefaced with “fifty years ago.” Fifty years ago, on February 11, 1963, the Beatles recorded their first album.
11 February, 1963: Paul, John and, with his Pre-Ludwig Premier drum kit, Ringo..
The audio player has a couple of twin-track outtakes from that monumental day at EMI Studio 2, Abbey Road, St. John’s Wood, London.
The following is by the noted American Beatles historian, archivist and author, Bruce Spizer:
On February 11, 1963, the Beatles entered EMI’s Abbey Road Studios to record songs for inclusion on their debut album. In what is generally acknowledged to be one of the most productive days ever spent in a recording studio, the Beatles recorded ten high-spirited songs that were standards in their live performances. Of the ten songs completed for release, four were Lennon-McCartney originals (credited on the album as “McCartney-Lennon”) and six were cover versions that are today better known than their original versions. These songs, plus four songs recorded for the group’s first two singles, became the Beatles first album, which was named Please Please Me after the group’s second single, which was rapidly moving up the charts.
When the Beatles second single began racing up the charts, producer George Martin felt the need to quickly get the group into the studio to record a long-playing album to cash in on what the Beatles had already achieved. After checking schedules, Martin and manager Brian Epstein determined that the group could do a recording session on February 11 if they could be excused from the February 10 concert on the Helen Shapiro tour. An arrangement was made for Peter Jay and the Jaywalkers to take the Beatles place on the bill that night.
Three February 11 recording sessions in Studio Two were booked for: 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.; 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; and 7:30 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. It was an ambitious goal, particularly considering that the band had been performing on the road non-stop since returning from Hamburg at the beginning of the year. In addition, the group had been traveling through a brutally frigid winter, and John was suffering from a bad cold.
The album was recorded on a twin-track machine. For the most part, the instruments and the vocals were recorded on separate tracks. This was done to allow Martin and the engineers to balance properly the volume of the vocals and instruments when mixing the songs for mono. The songs were recorded live with the group singing and playing their instruments simultaneously. Overdubs appear on only a few of the tracks. Paul played his Hofner bass, and Ringo was on his Premier drum kit for all of the songs. John alternated between his Rickenbacker Capri electric guitar and his Gibson J-160E “Jumbo” acoustic-electric guitar, while George played either his Gretsch Duo-Jet electric guitar or his Jumbo.
Engineer Norman Smith placed the microphones further from the amplifiers than what was normally done so that they would pick up not only direct sound from the amplifiers, but also the ambient sound of the room. This gave the songs a more raucous sound, resembling what was heard at the group’s live performances. The music performed and captured by the Beatles, George Martin and the Abbey Road engineers on that magical day resulted in the group achieving its goal expressed by John “to make the LP something different.”
11 February, 1963: George Martin, Judy Lockhart, Brian Epstein, Norman “Hurricane” Smith, George Harrison
Denro has taken me to task for failing to note the birthday of Sir George Martin, who turned 87 years old yesterday. Some Beatles fans love to speculate on what would have happened without Brian Epstein, or George Martin. I’m just glad everything turned out the way it did. From 1980, when he was 54, here is the life of George Martin.
For Christmas of that phantasmagorical, psychedelic year of 1967, the Beatles produced Magical Mystery Tour for BBC TV, and the equally zany Christmas Time is Here Again, my favorite of the records they made for their fan club.
Listening to this, you shouldn’t be surprised that the boys also recorded You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) in 1967, but it wasn’t released until 1970, as the flip-side of the Let It Be single.