The first time I heard a Beatles song was during the summer of 1963. The song was From Me to You on a Vancouver British Columbia radio station. I was working that summer in the San Juan Islands.
Many articles and remembrances from George Martin’s past with the Liverpool quartet have appeared on the occasion of the producer’s death.
For the first time I read of the making of From Me to You.
When the Beatles turned up at EMI’s studios on Abbey Road to record their third single, on March 5, 1963, they brought “From Me to You,” a short song that John Lennon and Paul McCartney had started writing less than a week earlier. Mr. Martin pondered the possibilities through the first four takes, and then proposed a solution for the song’s two biggest problems, its brevity and lack of variety. After two verses, a bridge and a repeat of the first verse, the Beatles would play the verse yet again, this time with the first two lines as a short instrumental break, punctuated with the phrases “from me” (after the first line) and “to you” (after the second), before singing the final two lines. To fill out the break, Mr. Martin had Lennon play the song’s melody on the harmonica, shadowed by Mr. McCartney on the bass.
For the introduction, Mr. Martin experimented with a string of overdubs. In one, Lennon played the tune on the harmonica. In another, the group hummed it. They also sang it, twice using the syllables “da-da-da, da-da, dun dun da,” and once with a falsetto floating across the top. In the end, Mr. Martin chose a combination of the harmonica and the sung line (sans falsetto), which establishes the song’s bright character immediately.