Beatles By Day

Long time ago when we was fab

Cart success: Lady Madonna

Lady Madonna was released as a single on March 15th 1968, with George Harrison's The Inner Light issued as the B-side. This was the last single The Beatles released on the Parlophone label.

The song reached number one in the UK for the two weeks beginning March 27th, but failed to reach the top spot on the US Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number four. It later appeared on The Beatles' Hey Jude album in 1970, and the Past Masters and Mono Masters compilation albums.

Lady Madonna/The Inner Light single, 1968. 

Lady Madonna/The Inner Light single, 1968. 

John and Yoko

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1971.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1971.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1971.

Song facts: Do You Want to Know a Secret

Released on The Beatles' debut album Please Please Me, and as a single in the US on March 23rd, 1964; the song was written by John Lennon and given to George Harrison. John drew inspiration from a Disney tune his mother Julia used to sing when he was very young.

The song was a hit for Billy J Kramer and The Dakotas, also managed by Brian Epstein. The Dakotas reached the top of the UK Singles Chart, but The Beatles version failed to reach the top spot in the US; peaking at number 2. It featured Thank You Girl as the B-side.

"My mother was always... she was a comedienne and a singer. Not professional, but, you know, she used to get up in pubs and things like that. She had a good voice. She could do Kay Starr. She used to do this little tune when I was just a one- or two-year-old... yeah, she was still living with me then... The tune was from the Disney movie - 'Want to know a secret? Promise not to tell. You are standing by a wishing well.'
So, I had this sort of thing in my head and I wrote it and just gave it to George to sing. I thought it would be a good vehicle for him because it only had three notes and he wasn't the best singer in the world. He has improved a lot since then, but in those days his singing ability was very poor because (a) he hadn't had the opportunity, and (b) he concentrated more on the guitar. So I wrote that - not for him as I was writing it, but when I had written it, I thought he could do it. It was just written." - John Lennon
"Do You Want To Know A Secret was 'my song' on the album. I didn't like my vocal on it. I didn't know how to sing; nobody told me how to." - George Harrison
Do You Want to Know a Secret, single sleeve 1964.

Do You Want to Know a Secret, single sleeve 1964.

Recording

The song was recorded on February 11th, 1963, in a bumper recording session that saw The Beatles record 10 of the 14 songs on Please Please Me. 

Personnel

  • George Harrison – lead vocals, lead guitar
  • John Lennon – acoustic guitar, backing vocals
  • Paul McCartney – bass, backing vocals
  • Ringo Starr – drums, percussion

Chart success: She Loves You

Backed by I'll Get You as the B-side, She Loves You reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on March 21st 1964, knocking I Want to Hold Your Hand off the top spot. She Loves You stayed at number one for two weeks before being succeeded by Can't Buy Me Love. It also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart on September 14th 1963, staying there for four weeks; regaining the top spot for a further two weeks on November 30th.

She Loves You remains The Beatles' best-selling single in the UK, and was previoulsy the best-selling single by any UK artist for 14 years, until Paul McCartney released Mull of Kintyre with Wings.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney recording She Loves You, July 1st, 1963. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney recording She Loves You, July 1st, 1963. 

Live: The Cavern

On March 21st 1961, The Beatles performed at the Cavern Club in the evening for the very first time. Their previous 11 appearances had been lunchtime shows. 

"This was the first time I had seen The Beatles and they were in black leather and dripping with sweat. They were doing songs that I'd never heard before and I wondered where they had got them from. They did an absolutely fantastic version of Besame Mucho, one of the best things I've ever heard on stage." - Joey Bower, The Four Jays
"Their singing was very rough and their guitars were out of tune. We rehearsed a lot to get our sound right and we weren't too happy to see The Beatles going down so well with something they'd only rehearsed five minutes before." - Ralph Ellis, guitarist, The Swinging Blue Jeans

Between 1961 and 1963, The Beatles played approximately 155 lunchtime and 125 evening shows respectively. 

The Beatles at the Cavern with Pete Best, 1961.

The Beatles at the Cavern with Pete Best, 1961.