Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Andy White on the "Love Me Do" Session

Q: Some of the history of this is that, the Beatles come into the recording studio in June of 1962 with their first drummer, Pete Best, and record a demo of the song "Love Me Do." George Martin and I guess Ron Richards hear it and think Well, this is, you know, not very good, but maybe we can do something with this. We'll bring in a session drummer. In the meantime the Beatles and Brian Epstein go out, get rid of Pete Best and bring in Ringo Starr. So they bring Ringo Starr into the studio in early September and do a version of "Love Me Do." They're still not happy, so they call out to Mr. Dependable, Andy White, to come in and do this. If you're trying to listen to the difference, you hear different versions of "Love Me Do." The version with Ringo is out there, in fact it was the single in the UK. But on the LP and over here it was Andy's version. You can always tell the version with Andy because Ringo is playing tambourine on there. But something I'd never listened for and Andy told me last night, he said, "I didn't play any hi-hat on it."

WHITE: That's true. I don't know why that was that we didn't use a hi-hat. Maybe because they knew they were going to put Ringo on tambourine. Give him space to play.

Q: But you also said that one of the things you were doing was linking up what you were doing with the bass drum to what Paul was doing on the bass.

WHITE: Yeah, yeah.

Q: And indeed that's one of the things that distinguishes that version of "Love Me Do" from the other two.

WHITE: Absolutely.

Q: Do you remember anything of the session?

WHITE: Oh yeah.

Q: What do you remember?

WHITE: I remember Ringo coming in and seeing me setting up the drums, you know. The look on his face would've killed. And he's never forgotten it, even to this day.

Q: Have you talked to him since then?

WHITE: I never talked to him at all, ever. I was involved with John and Paul that whole session because they had done the music and they'd use routines of course, so I had to learn the routines and the time was all taken up with that. I didn't speak to George or Ringo not because I didn't want to, but I was just too busy. And we also did a take of "Please Please Me," which went on the first album, my version.

Q: Your version. Oh really?

WHITE: Yeah. And I like that one because that was a good arrangement, a lot of good breaks and things in it. Very good. And I know exactly that it...obviously I can tell the sound of my drums, you know, anywhere.

Q: You were playing Ludwigs and Ringo still had his old Premiers I think at that point.

WHITE: Oh yeah. A bunch of old rubbish he had. The drums are a dead give-away. Somebody at EMI said -- well, they didn't say it to me -- but they said, "Oh no, Ringo did that, that 'Please Please Me,' that wasn't them." But the sound of the drums...

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