The Beatles in Miami, Feb. 1964 (Photo: Daily Express/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Fifty years ago today, Vee-Jay Records released Introducing... The Beatles!, the first full-length Beatles album to hit stores in the U.S., which had already been listening to the band's singles for almost a year. The band's pop songwriting and performing genius has long been beyond dispute, but The Beatles were never known for their perfectionism when it came to their recordings. Indeed, there's a fan website named What Goes On that lovingly catalogues all kinds of fascinating little anomalies in The Beatles' output — "all those curious little sounds, vocal asides, mistakes, edits, hidden messages and more," according to ths site's description.
Often these inconsistencies are small — missed notes, mistakes in the sound editing. Other times, the recordings contain entire little spoken snippets that would no doubt be clipped out of any modern recording. Can you spot the anomalies in these three tracks?
"I Saw Her Standing There"
"Twist and Shout"
Did you find them? Not quite? At 1:11 in "I Saw Her Standing There," according to the site, "Paul hits a wrong note on the 6th note of the repeating 8-note pattern, partly masked by drum fill." And at 1:25, Paul sings "Now, I'll never dance..." while John offers, "I wouldn't dance...."
At the 1:27 mark in "Chains," you can hear someone clearly — if quietly — asking, "is that enough?"
And in "Twist and Shout," skip ahead to about 1:24. You'll hear the pitch on John's "ahh" dip for a split second before coming back on target.
At this point, you might be asking, so what?
The purpose of the site isn't to wag a finger at the carelessness of the Fab Four. Instead, it helps shine a light on what really happened in the recording studio.
That pitch dip on "Twist and Shout," for instance? It turns out that the song was all recorded in one take at the end of a long day of hard singing. Indeed, John's voice was apparently so shot that a second take was aborted altogether.
"For those who interpret the existence of this project as an anti-Beatle statement, you've missed the point," writes Mike Brown, the owner of the site. "Spending so long listening to and analyzing every last moment of the Beatles over a period of 12 years is something you could only do if you were a fan."
For the more casual listeners among us, we can be satisfied to merely peruse some of the gems unearthed and puzzled over by Brown and his collaborators over the years — like this impressive reckoning with "I Am The Walrus."