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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : Thursday, October 17, 1963

Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

Two sessions, 2:30-5:30 and 7:00-10:00 pm, saw the Beatles cater for three different projects, they attempted to improve a recording for the new album, they taped the A-and B-sides of their fifth single, and also recorded some wacky horseplay for "The Beatles' Christmas Record", to be distributed free-of-charge exclusively to members of their Official Fan Club on December 9th. This was the first of seven such discs they would make.

These sessions also marked the dawn of a new era for the Beatles at EMI: four-track recording, ushering in entirely new recording processes and allowing the group to use the facility more experimentally. No longer would they need to record all instruments live in the studio, although, on occasions, they did continue to do just this.

The two sides of the next single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand", and the exquisite three-part harmony song "This Boy", both of them progressive Lennon-McCartney numbers, were the first to benefit from four-track and each was perfected in 17 takes. Later, though, despite the better facilities, they gave up trying to perfect "You Really Got A Hold On Me" after attempting to one final take, it's 12th.

The new single was issued in Britain on Friday, November 29th, crashing into the chart while "She Loves You" was enjoying its second spell at the top. Within a week it had replaced its predecessor, and the Beatles were holding numbers one and two, in  addition to numbers one and two in the LP Chart. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was also critically important in another direction: it broke the group into the US market, paving the way for a 1964 that would eclipse even 1963 in terms of record sales and all-encompassing Beatlemania.

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