The Beatles’ amazing productivity during their first few years at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios is legendary, as they effortlessly cranked out a dizzying amount of high-quality recordings that would single-handedly reshape the 1960s. Equally as legendary, are the handful of official recordings The Beatles nailed in just one take. Deadlines necessitated professionalism, but The Beatles were, at times, able to rise above and beyond even that, by offering up flawless studio performances drawn from their club repertoire – delivering what faithful audiences in Hamburg and Liverpool had known about all along. “Twist And Shout” might be the best-known one-take track in the band’s catalog. Taped after a 12-hour recording day, a fact reflected in the coarseness of John Lennon’s searing vocals. McCartney could work fast, too, as evidenced by his club-honed first take of Little Richard’s “Long Tall Sally,” a performance so good, the band (with George Martin on piano) didn’t even bother attempting it a second time. Hell… Ringo’s take-one “Boys” was the first time he’d ever sang lead in the studio. So, fuck Pete Best! It should probably be noted that most of these songs were recorded more than once, but in each instance, it was the first take that captured what The Beatles were after, and the takes that were officially released. By 1965, however, technological advancements, over-dubbing and studio experimentation made these kind of one-take wonders (nearly) a thing of the past. Since this Record Store Day EP doesn’t actually exist, it also wasn’t released in both mono and stereo… but here they are, regardless (from 2009 source material). Here’s what The Beatles did with 15 minutes of their fame… and 22 seconds to spare.
Twist And Shout (2:35) - Recorded February 11, 1963
Kansas City (2:38) - Recorded October 18, 1964
Boys (2:26) - Recorded February 11, 1963
Long Tall Sally (2:03) - Recorded March 1, 1964
Rock And Roll Music (2:31) - Recorded October 18, 1964
Chains (2:25) - Recorded February 11, 1963