Can't Buy Me Love - Reviews

Quoted from Recording Sessions: p.38

Wednesday 29 January 1964. EMI Pathe Studios, 62 rue des Sevres, Boulogne-sur-Seine, Paris 92, France. Late morning/afternoon. Recording 'Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand' (takes 1-11); 'Sie Liebt Dich' (takes 1-14); 'Can't Buy Me Love' (takes 1-4).

The Beatles, Les Beatles or Die Beatles? On 29 January the four Liverpudlians founds themselves in a French recording studio taping their two most famous songs to date in German. There is a logical explanation for this somewhat bizarre situation. The Beatles were in Paris for a 19-day concert season at the Olympia Theatre. And EMI's West German branch, Odeon, were making overtures to Brian Epstein and George Martin for the group to record in German.

"Odeon was adamant. They couldn't sell large quantities of records unless they were sung in German," recalls George Martin. "I thought that if they were right then we should do it. The Beatles didn't agree, but I persuaded them. Odeon sent over a translator from Cologne to coach the boys although they did know a little German from having played there.

"I fixed the session for late-morning. Norman Smith, myself, and the translator, a chap named Nicolas, all got to the studio on time, but there was no sign of the Beatles. We waited an hour before I telephoned their suite at the George V hotel. Neil Aspinall answered, 'They're in bed, they've decided not to go to the studio'. I went crazy - it was the first time they had refused to do anything for me. 'You tell them they've got to come, otherwise I shall be so angry it isn't true! I'm coming over right now'. So the German and I jumped into a taxi, we got to the hotel and I barged into their suite, to be met by this incredible sight, right out of the Mad Hatter's tea party. Jane Asher - Paul's girlfriend - with her long red hair, was pouring tea from a china pot, and the others were sitting around her like March Hares. They took one look at me and exploded, like in a school room when the headmaster enters. Some dived onto the sofa and hid behind cushions, others dashed behind curtains. "You are bastards!" I screamed, to which they responded with impish little grins and roguish apologies. Within minutes we were on our way to the studio. They were right, actually. It wasn't necessary for them to record in German, but they weren't graceless, they did a good job."

First task was to add 'Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand' vocals to the English rhythm track of 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', mixed down from four-track to two-track. The 'best' versions were takes 5 and 7, with overdubbed handclaps, later edited together. For 'Sie Liebt Dich' ('She Loves You') the Beatles recorded a new rhythm track, the 1 July 1963 two-track tape having been scrapped once the mono master was prepared. This was done in 13 takes, onto which they overdubbed, in one take, the vocals in the rhythm left/vocals right pattern of their earlier two-track tapes. The job was done. "They were extremely pleased to get it over with," recalls Norman Smith. "We all were. I found the studio very odd to work in, the equipment was alien to anything we were used to."

The German songs were clearly completed well within the allotted time for - apart from the fact that a second session, booked for 31 January, could now be cancelled - the Beatles also recorded a new song, English this time, the McCartney gem 'Can't Buy Me Love'. Remarkably, the song was recorded from start to finish in just four takes. Take one shows how Paul originally intended the song, with a very bluesy vocal style similar to his late-1964 offering 'She's A Woman'. John and George add backing vocals in the same vein: "Ooooh satisfied"; "Ooooh just can't buy"; "Ooooh love me too"; "Ooooh give to you" at various junctures, an idea they had discarded by take four. Take two was much the same but take three switches to the style they were eventually to use, except that the song breaks-down. Take four, the final version subject to later remixes, features a vocal overdub by Paul and a lead guitar overdub by George. In what was probably under one hour's work the Beatles had started , altered and completed one of their biggest selling songs. It was to be typical of their industry throughout the year.

Wednesday 26 February 1964. Studio Two (control room only): 10.00am-1.00pm. Mono mixing: 'You Can't Do That' (remixes 1-4, from take 9); 'Can't Buy Me Love' (from take 4)

Mono remixes of both sides of the next single provided the morning's work.

Posted: 28 dec 2009

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