Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Visit to Polydor

June 22, 1961

Today and tomorrow are huge red letter days for the Beatles in Hamburg.  Today the Beatles open their professional recording careers as a backing band for Tony Sheridan.  They record for the Polydor label at sessions supervised by Bert Kaempfert.  Polydor is the German subsidiary of the magnificent British EMI Corporation with the world's leading recording facility at Abbey Road in London.  The Beatles are certainly  impressed.

One of the songs they record is a version of "My Bonnie".  (If you are a Beatle fan you've certainly come across that recording somewhere.  It is famous in  Beatle lore, as we will see in a couple of months.)  They record "The Saints"  (aka "When the Saints Come Marching In").  Both of these are traditional songs which get rocked up today.

Also, they record a Tony Sheridan original called "Why" and an instrumental song written by George Harrison and John Lennon (unique in Beatles history) called "Cry For a Shadow".  (It is a clever parody in the style of  Cliff Richard and the Shadows, get it?)  George Harrison plays a very creditable lead on his Selmer Futurama.  Thankfully, Mr Kaempfert even allows the Beatles to record a song with John Lennon on vocals.  The material recorded at this time forms the backbone for the CD "Savage Young Beatles" which is well worth a listen for anyone interested in the Beatles development at this point in time.

Just close your eyes for a moment, listen to this and imagine you are there.  Ain't that perfection?!

Paul McCartney holds down the bottom end and is still a relative newcomer to it.  Remember, he only got his first bass guitar a few days ago.  He was born to play bass.
There are some pics of the pressings that resulted from this session here.

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