March 5, 2011


On this day in 1963, The Beatles recorded their third single From Me To You. The tune, their first to top all UK charts, was written a week earlier on a bus as Lennon and McCartney traveled with the band during the Helen Shapiro tour. The title was a play on words of the "From You to Us" letters section of the New Musical Express, showing an early example of word-play and media-inspired songs that Lennon would be particularly noted for later during the Sgt. Pepper sessions (Good Morning, A Day in the Life, Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite). Paul McCartney is quoted in the excellent biography, Many Years From Now, by Barry Miles:

"There was a little trick we developed early on and got bored with later, which was to put I, Me or You in it, so it was very direct and personal:
Love Me Do, Please Please Me; From Me To You - we got two of them in there... That was a pivotal song. Our songwriting lifted a little with that song. It was very much co-written. We were starting to meet other musicians then and we'd start to see other people writing. After that, on another tour bus with Roy Orbison, we saw Roy sitting in the back of the bus, writing Pretty Woman. It was lovely. We could trade off with each other. This was our real start."

Here is my preferred mix from the Mono remasters. Note the punchy bass, out-front vocals, and harmonica. The Beatles mixed their songs in Mono for most of their career, and I have fond memories of hearing their music from a single speaker in my portable record player. Although some prefer the stereo mixes that were done afterward, I could never get used to the wide separation of vocals pushed to one side of the sound stage (probably due to room size and set-up). From Me to You is a great track by The Beatles, created in-part by producer George Martin's request for more material like Please Please Me. The song features their falsetto "woo!" that would become iconic of their early years. Speaking to the innocence of the period that is suggested- I like how the song is about empathy and giving- a kind of "ask not what your lover can do for you, but..." take on Kennedy's challenge.

Beatles group and solo music is available on iTunes. You will also find early rehearsals of the Quarrymen skiffle group and other early Beatles home recordings, including the famous Star Club tapes. Hopefully this historic, early material will remain available for new fans to discover. I'd love to see a deluxe release by Bear Family someday. Check out my film/sound collage for John Lennon and remix/experimental film for Yoko Ono on my Youtube channel here. Photo from Getty Images. Wishing a Fab Weekend to all Spy Vibers!

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