Fifty years ago, EMI set the Beatles a challenge: to record their debut album in one studio session. The results – with the already released two singles thrown in for good measure – became the genre-redefining Please Please Me.
On Monday the 11th February, contemporary artists from across the musical spectrum pay homage to that day, recreating the famous session in the same time frame in the same Abbey Road Studio. Each artist will rehearse and then perform live throughout the day on BBC Radio 2, with all the action captured for broadcast in BBC Four’s The Beatles’ Please Please Me – Re-making A Classic on Friday the 15th February.
Acclaimed guitarist Graham Coxon, Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford from Squeeze and Manchester’s I Am Kloot join soul sensation Joss Stone, The Stereophonics, Gabrielle Aplin and Mick Hucknall are among the musicians taking part.
Hosted at Abbey Road by Stuart Maconie, Gabrielle Aplin will step up to the mic first with There’s A Place performing into Ken Bruce’s show. She will be followed by ten further artists and acts, culminating in the rock ‘n’ roll classic Twist and Shout at 10:30 pm, live into a specially extended edition of Jo Whiley’s Show.
Other contributors included Burt Bacharach speaking live from the US, who wrote Baby It’s You and, to give a contemporary perspective, producers including Guy Chambers will visit the session during the day. Rare audio and visual footage from the archives will also help tell the story of the session that shaped a generation.
The project also reunites four musicians who played alongside the Beatles at the Cavern the week before they recorded Please Please Me, for a special one-off performance. Tony Crane and Billy Kinsley of the Merseybeats, Sam Hardie of the Dominoes and Dave Lovelady of the Fourmost will recapture that 1963 Mersey sound performing the song Boys before sharing their memories of the Liverpool music scene in the early Sixties.
This recreation of one of the most the most iconic albums in pop music history is the centrepiece of The Golden Age Of The Album – a two week celebration across BBC Four, Radio 2 and 6 Music.