Saturday, February 04, 2006

From Me To You

UNITED KINGDOM: Released on April 11, 1963, as the A side of the Beatles' third single. It entered the pop chart one week later at No. 6 and a week later was at No. 1, where it stayed for five more weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Released as a single May 27, 1963, on Vee Jay. It failed to break into the Top 40. Vee Jay released it again August 10, 1964, but it didn't chart. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.5) and McCartney (.5)
Lennon and McCartney wrote this together on February 28, 1963, while on a bus traveling from York to Shrewsbury during a tour with headliner Helen Shapiro. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

ROGER GREENAWAY, of The Kestrels: "The Beatles at this time had had their first No. 1, and John and Paul were writing songs at the back of the coach. Kenny Lynch, who, at this time, fancied himself as a songwriter, sauntered up to the back of the coach and decided he would help John and Paul write a song. After a period of about half an hour had elapsed and nothing seemed to be coming from the back, Kenny rushed to the front of the coach and shouted, 'Well, that's it. I am not going to write any more of that bloody rubbish with those idiots. They don't know the music from their backsides. That's it! No more help from me!' The song that John and Paul were writing at this time was a track called 'From Me To You'." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

LENNON: "There we were, on a coach going from York to Shrewsbury, not taking ourselves seriously, and just fooling around on the guitar, when we began to get a good melody line and we really started to work on it. Before that journey was over, we had completed the lyric and everything. We were so pleased! We knew that we had just written our next A-side. What puzzled us was why we'd thought of a name like 'From Me To You'. In fact, it had me thinking until recently when I picked up the NME to see how we were doing in the charts, when I realised that we'd got the inspiration from reading a copy on the coach. Paul and I had been talking about one of the letters in the 'From Us To You' column." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "We wrote 'From Me To You' on a bus. It was great. That middle eight was a great departure for us. Say you're in C, then go to A minor, fairly ordinary, C, change it to G, and then F, pretty ordinary, but then it goes, 'got arms', and that's a G Minor. Going to G Minor and a C takes you to a whole new world. It was very exciting." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "I played it on the piano and thought, 'No, no one's going to like this.' So I played it to my dad and he thought it was a lovely tune, and that's how it was. You value other people's opinions." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "I remember thinking, 'We've really made it,' when I was lying in bed, early one morning, and I heard a milkman whistling 'From Me To You'. Actually, I'm sure that I once heard a bird whistling the song. I swear I did!" The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCartney regards it as one of the first really good songs they wrote. It had different musical ideas and chords for the middle eight. The lyrics were a play on the words 'From You To Us', the name of the New Musical Express letters page.
McCARTNEY: "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; 'She Loves You' . . . The thing I liked about 'From Me To You' was it had a very complete middle. It went to a surprising place. The opening chord of the middle section of that song heralded a new batch for me. 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." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: ". . . I think the first line was mine. I mean, I know it was mine. And then after that we took it from there. It was far bluesier than that when we wrote it." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Thursday 28 February 1963
Granada Cinema, Castle Gates, Shrewsbury, Shropshire
While travelling this day between York and Shrewsbury, on the coach containing the entire Shapiro entourage, John and Paul wrote the Beatles' next single, 'From Me To You'.
With this date Helen Shapiro resumed her role as headliner, and Billie Davis left the tour. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

March 5, 1963, at Abbey Road

LENNON: "We nearly didn't record it because we thought it was too bluesy at first, but when we'd finished it and George Martin had scored it with harmonica, it was alright." Beatles in Their Own Words

McCARTNEY: bass, lead vocal
LENNON: rhythm guitar, harmonica, lead vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar
STARR: drums

Lennon told singer Helen Shapiro that he sang the high falsetto part on this song and that "I can do the high stuff better than Paul." Coleman He apparently changed his opinion in the next year. (See: "A Hard Day's Night.")

This song was part of the Beatles' concert repertoire in 1963 and 1964. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
This song introduced a Beatle trademark - a falsetto "whoooooo." It was so successful that it was used liberally in the next single, "She Loves You." Forever
The harmonica beginning of the British single differs from the opening of all other versions.
This song was used as the theme song for a radio series in England called From Us to You that starred the Beatles and consisted of five two-hour programs, from December 1963 through June 1965. For the program, the Beatles performed "From Me to You" but changed the lyrics to "From us to you."
Del Shannon recorded this song, releasing it as a single in the United States on June 3, 1963, about a week after the Beatles' version was released there. Shannon's version did not break into the Top 40. Shannon had performed on the same bill as the Beatles earlier in the year in Britain and undoubtedly heard the song in performance.
Three days before this song was released in the United Kingdom, John's son Julian Lennon was born, April 8, 1963.

HELEN SHAPIRO: "I remember John and Paul coming up to me to ask if I would like to hear a couple of songs that they had just written. They were looking for opinions because they were undecided about which should be their next single. We crowded around a piano and Paul played, while the two of them sang their latest composition. One was 'Thank You Girl', and the other was 'From Me To You', which I liked best." The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

RAY COLEMAN and LAURIE HENSHAW in MELODY MAKER: "The Beatles have a certain follow-up hit with 'From Me To You', but if this average song was done by a less prominent group it would mean little. An up-tempo number with the just so-so melody, it is not nearly so outstanding in originality as 'Please Please Me'. It's a best seller, inevitably, but the group ought to be able to do something better than this as a follow up to an initial hit." (April 13, 1963) The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

EMI spokesman: "Altogether it looks like being a much bigger record for The Beatles than 'Please Please Me'. They are going from strength to strength." (April 20, 1963) The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews
HARRISON: "We're all knocked out over it. We didn't think it would go so fast. It's Fab!" The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

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