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50 Years Ago – The Beatles Complete Their Second Album

The Beatles
Hulton Archive, Getty Images

As opposed to the marathon session that produced most most of the Beatles‘ first album, their follow-up, ‘With the Beatles,’ was recorded during a series of dates in the summer and fall of 1963. The final day of recording took place on the morning of Oct. 23, 1963 at Studio Two at Abbey Road.

Compared to the famous story of them closing out their first album by nailing ‘Twist & Shout’ in one take, this was an anticlimactic. Here, they overdubbed a tambourine onto ‘I Wanna Be Your Man,’ the song they had written six weeks earlier for the Rolling Stones.

Beatles Bible says that it is unknown who played the part. However, given that it was the only thing recorded on that day, it’s possible that the Beatles weren’t even present for the session and it was performed by producer George Martin or engineer Norman Smith.

From there, they made mono mixes of that song and two others that had yet to be mixed, ‘Little Child’ and ‘Hold Me Tight.’ Six days later, Martin, Smith and Geoff Emerick made stereo mixes to the entire album save ‘Money (That’s What I Want’) which was completed the next day.

‘With the Beatles’ was released on Nov. 22, 1963 to advance orders of 300,000. It contained such beloved songs as ‘All My Loving,’ It Won’t Be Long’ and ‘Don’t Bother Me,’ which was George Harrison‘s first composition. A week later, a track they recorded during those sessions, ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ was released as a single. The song instantly shot up to No. 1 on the British charts, displacing their own ‘She Loves You.’ Over the course of the next month, it would make its way across the Atlantic and be responsible for breaking the Beatles in America.

Next: Top 10 Underrated Beatles Songs, 1963-65

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