Stars become Beatles for a day as Please Please Me is re-born

Feb 12, 2013

Mammoth recording session at Abbey Road marks 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's 1963 debut LP


A LINE-UP of famous musicians - including soul singers Mick Hucknall, Joss Stone and Beverley Knight - spent more than 12 hours yesterday recreating the "exhausting" recording session that produced The Beatles’ 1963 debut album, Please Please Me.

The original album cost £400 to make, featured 11 tracks and "changed pop music forever," notes The Independent. Yesterday's celebration of its 50th anniversary took place in the same room where it was recorded – Studio 2 at London's Abbey Road Studios – between the same hours – 10am to 10.45pm.

The new versions, by artists including Stone, Hucknall, Knight, the Welsh band Stereophonics and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon, were broadcast live by BBC Radio 2 yesterday. The BBC points out that singer-songwriter Gabrielle Aplin, the first artist to perform, was born 22 years after the Beatles split up in 1970.

She was followed into the studio by Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones, who arrived at Abbey Road with Chris Evans in the broadcaster’s Rolls Royce. Jones and Evans busked a version of I Saw Her Standing There in the street outside the studios to the bemusement of tourists.

BBC 6 Music presenter Stuart Maconie said Please Please Me wasn’t the Beatles "best album" but it still had significance. "It's the first album of the rock era, really," he said. "It was all about singles and it was the first self-contained album and it did change the whole rock era."

The day produced some unusual pairings, with Glen Tilbrook and Chris Difford from the band Squeeze teaming up with Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones to perform the album’s title track. Blur's Graham Coxon performed Baby It's You with four female back-up singers and Mick Hucknall sang Anna.

The session was rounded off by Knight who sang Twist and Shout. The Beatles didn’t just cover the song, she said, they put their "own vibe" on it.

Sign up for our daily newsletter