BIG Music News: The Beatles, Stevie Wonder

THE BEATLES:  Next Monday is a BIG Beatles anniversary

Monday, September 4th, will mark the 55th anniversary of The Beatles starting work on their first single, "Love Me Do," at London's Abbey Road Studio. After 15 tries, producer George Martin still wasn't satisfied and asked them to return a week later to try again.

Written primarily by Paul McCartney, the song was ultimately recorded using session drummer Andy White because Martin wasn't happy with Ringo Starr's playing. The single features Ringo on tambourine, while the take on the Past Masters release has Ringo on drums.

"Love Me Do" topped the Billboard Hot 100 in May, 1964, more than a year and a half after it was first released in the U.K.

Paul McCartney recalls how he came to sing on “Love Me Do.” 

"John always sang the lead and always sang the little bit where everything stopped and went ‘love me do.’ But George Martin was getting him to play the harmonica riff, so he said, ‘Well look, you can’t play the harmonica riff and sing the “love me do” bit, so let Paul sing the “love me do” line.’ So suddenly in the middle of all of this nerves I got a new line to sing, which I actually preferred John singing, but he couldn’t do it, ‘cause he was playing harmonica live on it. So out of nowhere I was lead vocalist on this thing and boy was I nervous. I can still hear the terror in my voice, but not many other people seem to notice it.”

George Harrison on the feeling The Beatles got listening to their debut single, "Love Me Do," on the airwaves. 

"I remember first hearing that song on the radio. That was the best buzz of all time. We knew it was gonna be on tonight. 7:30 Thursday night it's gonna be on Radio Luxembourg. And we all listened in, and that was 'wow!'"

STEVIE WONDER:  Opens up about his music 

Stevie Wonder says his music is his way of serving God. Speaking to NPR, the 25-time Grammy winner connects music and spirituality -- and how that runs counter to the ugliness of hate.

Stevie says, "When I think about it, I say, 'God, how can I make you even more happy?'" While "obviously... appreciative of the fans and success," Stevie explains that "to please God is my greatest joy. It's not about the religion, it's about the relationship."

Upset that "people are prostituting the most high with their negativity, with their evil," Stevie says the answer should come from the Golden Rule. "The one thing you've heard through and through every religion is: Hey, just love. Just love. That's the most important thing: Just love. That's what's gonna see us through."

Stevie grieves for the innocent victims of terrorism. It's impossible to overlook "these little children singing my songs or singing songs, hearing those voices; I think of those little kids in Manchester [England], just going to see a concert and then someone uses that as a source of their anger — it's unacceptable. I don't care who you are or where you're from, it doesn't matter." Being blind, he doesn't have to perceive the differences of race or ethnicity. "It means that I'm looking at their souls."

Stevie Wonder next performs September 23rd at the Global Citizen Festival in New York's Central Park.


A planned screening of a documentary on Aretha Franklin at the upcoming Telluride Film Festival has been canceled. The Queen of Soul has won several court decisions to prevent the movie by the late director Sydney Pollack from being shown. She contends that the film, which features concert footage of her, cannot be screened without her approval.

Change Begins Within, the 2009 New York benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation, will be released on DVD this Friday. The show featured Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Donovan, Eddie Vedder and others.

Blondie will be profiled this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning.

Meat Loaf will attend his Fan Expo this weekend in Toronto.

Billy Joel went without the Star of David patches on his stage outfit Wednesday night in Boston.

Skip Prokop, the singing drummer who led Lighthouse, has died. The Canadian jazz-rockers were best known in America for the Top 25 hit “One Fine Morning.”

The Grammy Salute to Music Legends, honoring a range of artists including Rock and Roll Hall of Famers Sly Stone and The Velvet Underground, will air October 13th on PBS. The special, which also pays tribute to producer-songwriter Thom Bell, gospel great Shirley Caesar, jazz man Ahmad Jamal, country greats Charley Pride and Jimmie Rodgers, and singer-pianist Nina Simone, was taped at New York's Beacon Theater in July.

James Taylor's thoughts are with Houston as it recovers from Hurricane Harvey: "It's been a few short weeks since we played for our excellent Houston audience, returning to a town we know well and to people who have meant so much for so long. The shocking images coming out of the flood zone are of great concern to everyone here. We hope and pray our friends in Texas will come through this trying time... safe and well."

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