BBC News

Beverley Knight brings Beatles re-recording to a close

By Kev Geoghegan
Entertainment reporter, BBC News

image captionKnight delivered on the promise of a "raw and raucous" performance

British soul singer Beverley Knight has brought an attempt to recreate The Beatles' epic 10-hour recording session of their album Please Please Me - to mark its 50th anniversary, to a close.

She performed the classic album's final song Twist And Shout, accompanied by a full choir of backing singers.

She told the BBC: "It's a huge, raucous song which everybody knows."

Other stars who joined the recording at London's Abbey Road studios included Mick Hucknall and Joss Stone.

The Fab Four recorded almost all of the album in a day-long recording session 50 years ago, on 11 February 1963.

By the end of the long day, Lennon - who had struggled with a cold - performed what is the now legendary cover version of The Isley Brothers' track Twist And Shout.

Knight said: "You can hear after the first verse that he's done, he's spent but he's still giving it.

"I heard he ripped his shirt off cause he was so hot and was getting down and dirty and that's what you want, you can hear he's giving every last drop."

media captionRadio 2 DJ Chris Evans surprised passers-by on Abbey Road when he started busking Beatles songs with Stereophonics frontman Kelly Jones

Stereophonics singer Kelly Jones - who sang I Saw Her Standing there - said the album "was the sound of a band capturing their raw energy".

Earlier in the day, he had busked outside the studio with BBC Radio 2 Breakfast presenter Chris Evans. The day-long session was organised by the radio station and broadcast live over 12 hours.

Soul singer Joss stone performed The Beatles' cover of A Taste of Honey, taken from the hit film.

Backed by a full string section, the 25-year-old took the lead in a jazzy version of the song.

image captionBlur's Graham Coxon was inspired by the 60s girlgroup sound

She described her self as an "idiot" as she "wasn't aware of the song actually, which is pretty bad".

But she added: "I'm glad it turned out alright."

Girl group sound

Blur guitarist Graham Coxon performed the less well known track Baby It's You, written by Burt Bacharach, and stripped it back to the sound of the original version by girl group The Shirelles.

He said: "I'm quite pleased to be doing that because it's not one that people immediately think about a Beatles song, so it's a sort of a soul song, which has its own challenges.

"Although I'm not a soul singer, maybe I should have gargled some rice crispies to get a rough voice going, cause I'm not very gravelly."

Ian Broudie of the Lightning Seeds covered Do You Want To Know A Secret - which originally carried vocals from George Harrison - at the Radio 2 session.

He said that while The Beatles' undoubtedly changed music, their debut was more of "a charming start".

"It was basically their live set. This is how they would have sounded at a live gig before they signed with George Martin. It's a great photo."

Of the original recording, Mark Lewisohn, in his book The Complete Beatles Chronicle, wrote: "There can scarcely have been 585 more productive minutes in the history of recorded music."

image captionJoss Stone performed her take on A Taste Of Honey with a live string section

Broadcaster Stuart Maconie, who is hosting a BBC Four documentary about the Radio 2 recording, said it was hard to imagine the original sessions.

"I got here this morning and what struck me was that there are so many people here - bands, crews, journalists - and how different it must have been that morning 50 years ago when the Beatles arrived in their van.

"I'm fascinated whether they knew they were changing the history of the world. Did they have an inkling? I wonder if McCartney knew?"

Catch up with BBC Radio 2's 12 Hours to Please Me on the Radio 2 website. A film about the broadcast, Please Please Me - Re-making A Classic, is on BBC Four at 9:00pm on Friday, 15 February.

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