Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Dr. Bob Prescribes The Beatles

George Martin and the Beatles in London’s Abbey Road studios, February or March 1963
George Martin and the Beatles in London’s Abbey Road studios, February or March 1963

The Beatles made their first studio recordings – with George Martin at the helm as their producer – on September 4, 1962, at London’s Abbey Road studios. Out of the six songs they rehearsed and recorded, Martin chose two for their first 45-rpm “single”: an original, Love Me Do, and How Do You Do It, by Mitch Murray, which Martin intended to put on side “A” of the single. In those days, British record producers chose the material for their bands, and George Martin was convinced that How Do You Do It was going to be a hit. As for the other song on the single, writes the Beatles biographer Bob Spitz:

Love Me Do was a concession to the band, who practically begged Martin to consider their own material.”

(At this point in time, George Martin and the Parlophone label he managed considered the Beatles to be performers, and certainly not songwriters. Martin later claimed that at this early date, he hadn’t heard:

“Any evidence of what was to come in the way of songwriting.”)

The Beatles collectively hated Mitch Murray’s How Do You Do It, and in the end, to his great credit, Martin relented. That first single featured two originals: Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s Love Me Do on side “A” and McCartney’s P.S. I Love You on side “B”.

(How’d that first 45-rpm do? It went to the top of the charts – number ONE in the U.S. of A. – and made Platinum. Quite a debut single. In time, George Martin’s faith in Mitch Murray’s How Do You Do It paid off as well, when another Liverpudlian band he was producing – Gerry and the Pacemakers – recorded it; the song hit number one on the charts in 1964.)

It took George Martin a few more months to figure it out but figure it out he did: from the beginning, the Beatles were about original material.

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