Re: [Harp-L] A Long Dazed Journey Into "Please Please Me"

On 4/22/2007 11:45:15 PM, Tim Moyer (wmharps@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) wrote:
> Bradford Trainham wrote:
> > My question...  What harmonica did John Lennon (Fool that I am... I
> > post to a list of pure harmonicists with this impure question!!)
> > play on the studio versions of Please Please Me?
> Ah, you underestimate us!  Great music with harp is great music with
> harp.  Have a look here:

> You see this offering from the great mind of Pat Missin:
>>"There are a few other Beatles tunes where Lennon's choice of
>>harmonica might not be obvious. The signature riff of "Please
>>Please Me" is almost as distinctive as the intro to "Love Me
>>Do". The riff is squarely in the key of E major and the
>>phrasing of the notes fits
>> <...>
>>how was it played? Well, it could have been a chromatic
>>harmonica in the key of E - the Hohner Super Chromonica was
>>certainly available in that key back then. Again, of course,
>>one could play these notes on a chromatic harmonica in any
>>key, but there is no evidence of any button work in the
>>playing and the phrasing of the riff really does seem to fit
>>the blow/draw pattern of an E scale instrument. Another
>>possibility and perhaps a more likely one, is that Lennon
>>used the 12-hole Echo Vamper.

I agree. Availability of such models being key, and also, that diatonics were more commonly used in popular music of those days. But, it's important to acknowledge, however, that Lennon was truly interested in the use of a chromatic harmonica as much as any other instrument, as long as it achieved the desired effect... pretty much my philosophy on instrument choice, as well.

I'm surprised a bit that Pat doesn't relate anything with respect to the involvement of his friend Douglas Tate with the Beatles, in particular regarding to the chromatic playing on "From Me To You".

As Doug told me, he was called in for input, perhaps as a musical contribution, on the tune in question. After recording with them, he said he never actually knew with the song's release whether it was he or John playing the riffs, but presumed it was Lennon, his having learned from Doug enough to play what he intended for the song. [I bought Doug a copy of the 45 off eBay for a giggle!]

All Doug did say was that, [to him, at that time, mind you...] they seemed to be a rather "cheeky" bunch, yet who, without a doubt, were an extremely talented and versatile band that had a very clear vision of what they wanted on every piece - especially John Lennon, he noted. To paraphrase Doug, he said that as much as he was put off by their arrogance, he greatly admired the Beatles for their drive and focus... pretty much what any musician has to have even today, I guess.

Being Earth Day yesterday, I listened to lots of Lennon's "Imagine" and am still a bit melancholy... sorry!!! ;-) Hope you all had a good one!!

Cheers, H-Lers!

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