The Beatles as recording artists

Jerry Zolten

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


When the Beatles – John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best – recorded their first tracks as professionals in Hamburg, Germany, in June 1961, the “art” of electrical analog recording was essentially as it always had been. Basically, the players positioned themselves in front of microphones and performed as if they were live on stage – except there was no audience. Only present were producers, technicians, other musicians, and onlookers. The performance happened all at once, everyone playing the whole way through and as many times as it took to get it “right.” And in the end, it was the producers and technicians, not the Beatles, who had control over the final sound, what listeners heard when the record was played. As to the songs, half the ones the Beatles recorded that day were curiously archaic: “Ain't She Sweet,” “My Bonnie,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “Sweet Georgia Brown,” all throwbacks to a previous generation, as were, for that matter, the circumstances of the session itself. Pete Best said he was taken aback by the make shift “studio.” “We wondered if we had come to the right place. We had been expecting a recording setup on the grand scale … Instead, we found ourselves in an unexciting school gym [actually, Friedrich Elbert Halle] with a massive stage and lots of drapes.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to the Beatles
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781139002745
ISBN (Print)9780521869652
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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