How the Beatles “Pleased Pleased” their producer — White Album symposium at Monmouth University
Can you believe the Beatles White Album is 50 years old? Can you believe that producer Sir George Martin's personal biographer Dr. Kenneth Womack is also Dean at Monmouth University?
How did that happen? "It really was a simple matter of the fact that there really was no book about George, he had written several memoirs." Womack says "I really believe the most privileged place to be in the twentieth century was the Beatles producer, the guy who got to experience all of those amazing songs first hand, second hand at worst, third hand before they were really shaped and re-crafted into something else in the studio. What an amazing spot to be in, to watch all of those amazing songs crafted right before your eyes."
Dr. Womack was among several Beatles experts at the White Album Symposium at Monmouth University. The Grammy Museum & Bruce Springsteen Archives Center. They hosted a live midnight listening party there on Nov. 8, and the first physical copies of the newly-announced box set in the US will be available to members of the public who attend. They've secured Mark Lewisohn, Chris Thomas, Ken Mansfield and more for the 4-day event Nov. 8-11.
"It's a symposium about all things that have to do with the White Album but since it's the Beatles, it's always a larger topic and will be very interactive." Womack spoke about the Beatles interaction with Sir George Martin the man who would produce 30 number-one hit singles in the United Kingdom and 23 number-one hits in the United States. "When they met George they were in their early twenties and he was 36, they thought he was the oldest man in the world, he had this beautiful voice that sounded like the uppermost class, the poshest kind of sound they'd ever heard and he was very intimidating." Womack says The Beatles coming at the music business "sideways" being from Liverpool with a manager who worked in a record store, "and so was George Martin who was a big faker, born on the wrong side of the tracks and actually more impoverished than even Ringo." It was during the war that Martin did a little social climbing and refashioned his accent and the rest is history."
But first they had to win Martin over and it was the song "Please Please Me" that did it. "He sort of scolds them for playing it at a slow and dreary pace, but they amped it up and finally won him over." There was also a gutsy moment when Martin had secured a song called "How Do You Do it" for the boys and John Lennon said "We'd rather have no hit than put that crap out." They could have been done right there, but Martin liked "hutapah" and when they recorded Please Please Me, he did in fact say "You've got your first number 1 record, and the Beatles reaction to hearing that? "Thanks to Mark Lewisohn who did some amazing research, Womack saus we now know what the Beatles did next. "They burst out laughing thinking that was the most ridiculous thing they'd ever heard."
Click here find out more about the White Album Symposium at Monmouth University.