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Reference Library: Drummer or Dweeb?

From: (NealK)
Subject: Re: Bernard Purdie on drums in Beatle tunes?
Date: 14 Jan 1996 19:51:59 -0500

In a previous post, Mark Garvin wrote:

Did session drummer Bernard Purdie play on any Beatles songs? Rumor has it that he played on 'She Said'. It goes a bit beyond rumor, but I'll leave it there for now.

Four 1961 Beatles/Sheridan tracks were overdubbed by Purdie:

Ain't She Sweet
Sweet Georgia Brown
Take Out Some Insurance
Nobody's Child

There was also some editing done to the latter two tracks. These "Purdie" versions exist in mono only, whereas the original tracks are in stereo.



From: "W. Larsen" []
Subject: Re: Bernard Purdie on drums in Beatle tunes?
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 1996 22:37:09 -0800

On Sun, 14 Jan 1996, someone else wrote:

What reasons would Purdie have for lying? If his resume is as impressive as you say it is (and I'll take your word for it), then why would a talented drummer lie about his work? I am not picking on you, but here is a challenge to the entire newsgroup. Does anyone have any proof (ie. documented sources) which says that Purdie is infact lying, or that Purdie has reasons to lie? It just doesn't add up...a talented and respected musician lying about his achievements.

Here's an excerpt from Max Weinberg's book "The Big Beat" where he interviewed Bernard Purdie:

MW: You played on the Beatles' tracks?
BP: Twenty-one of them.
MW: Do you remember which ones?
BP: Ummmhmmm.
MW: Which ones?
BP: That's information I don't disclose.
MW: Why won't you name the tracks?
BP: Because, if I need that information to get me some money, then I'll have what's necessary. I also played on songs by the Animals, the Monkees--
MW: Everyone knows the Monkees were a fabricated band, but the Beatles--
BP: Ringo never played on anything
MW: Ringo never played on anything?
BP: Not the early Beatles stuff.

Anyway, Weinberg takes him to task on it and the up shot is that he says Brian Epstein was the one who arranged it and also paid him off to keep his mouth shut. I had the opportunity to talk to Max Weinberg about Purdie's claim and his reply was that he felt embarrassed for him.

In Ringo's chapter in the same book, Weinberg bring up Purdies claim and Ringo's reply is:

"Well then, what was I doing in the studio? I've heard that rubbish before. Everyone was expecting me to come out and fight it. You don't bother fighting that shit."

-Bill Larsen


From: (Danny Caccavo)
Subject: Re: Bernard Purdie on drums in Beatle tunes?
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 09:17:50 -0500

OK, I had to dig this up. This is from "Gig" magazine, 2/78 issue. An article entitled "Bernard Purdie - the REAL fifth Beatle?" (excerpts)

New york - According to Bernard Purdie, a substantial amount of the drumming on the early Beatle albums was done by him, not Ringo Starr. Purdie is a New York based session drummer, best known for his seven years with Aretha Franklin.

"I overdubbed the drumming on 21 tracks of the first three Beatle Albums", maintains Purdie. "They paid me a lot of money to keep my mouth shut, but it's been ten years, so f-- it. I guess I can talk about it."

Not many other people are talking about it however, not surprising considering what's at stake. Reached through his lawyer Bruce Grakal, Ringo "does not wish to comment". Beatles producer George Martin would only say "I did not use another drummer," and no one at Capitol-past or present-knows anything or is willing to talk about it.

"I got paid in five figures," Purdie adds, "and that was the largest amount of money I'd ever gotten in my life."

It's actually been 14 1/2 years now. Purdie told Gig that in the summer of 1963, six months before the first Beatle album was release in the U.S., he was contacted to do a session-which initially seemed like al the others he was doing at the time.

"I had never heard of the Beatles," he says, "but their manager, Brian Epstein, called me and took me down to Capitol's 46th street studio. I did all the overdubbing on the 21 songs in nine days."

After Purdie was paid his double session fee of $130 an hour, he says, "Epstein called me into his office and gave me the additional (five figure - smallest would be $10,000) check. I thought they were paying me all that money because they liked what I played. Then he told me I was being paid to keep my mouth shut."

Purdie says he signed a "contract". Does he still have it?

"The contract", he explains, "was the check that I signed and I cashed it! On the back of the check, it was spelled out what I did -'payment for services rendered'. I took up half the check. But I didn't think about making a photostated copy. It didn't mean anything to me."

He says he worked on finished tapes. The early Beatle albums had already been released in England. This could mean the original English copies have Ringo doing the drumming while the American counterparts have Purdie on some tracks, Ringo on others, and, Purdie suggests, both of them on others.

"We were only doing eight trck recording. We weren't doing sixteen or twenty-four track at the time. They had four tracks and they put me on two separate tracks. I would listen to what Ringo had played and then overdub on top of it to keep it happening."

He doesn't remember specific titles except one he calls "Yeah Yeah Yeah", which would of course be "She Loves You."

"I remember that one well", Purdie says. "That was one of the big things coming out at the time, and was the one the engineer brought my attention to."

He says he never met any of the Beatles at the time. "The only people in the studio were me, the engineer, and Brian Epstein and a few of his people."

Not George Martin?

"No. I didn't even meet George Martin until 1969 when I went to England to do some work." Purdie says he doesn't even think Martin knows what he did.

"The manager did everything", Purdie stresses. "Epstein instigated everything that had to be done. He was the one who told me to keep my mouth closed. He was the one."


Purdie, who says he did the same thing for the Animals and the monkees, suggests that other alterations were done to the early Beatle albums.

"After I was finishing up one day, the engineer said they had another guitar player coming in later to do overdubs and they were paying him good money to keep his mouth shut too. I asked him who it was, and he said "keep out of that Purdie.' I never did find out who it was.

"You listen to the guitar parts on the early records," Purdie adds. "There's a different sound to a lot of them."

Which just goes to prove, don't believe everything you read.....[g]-DC


From: Richard Bell []
Subject: Re: Bernard Purdie on drums in Beatle tunes?
Date: 26 Jan 1996 13:01:13 GMT

In a previous post, Joseph Brennan wrote:

In a previous post, Dean C wrote:

There is actually some truth to this. Purdie was contracted by Atco to fatten up the drum sound on some of the Tony Sheridan recordings.

This is purely speculative, isn't it? Purdie never claimed this, and no one's ever commented on who did the Atco dubbing, as far as I know.

This whole Purdie thing is a total "crock" and here's why. At the time Purdie says that he was doing these overdubs The Beatles music had already been released in America on VJ Records (and other small lables) and those of us with these original releases can compare with the Capitol releases. I did and you know what? THEIR EXACTLY THE SAME. Not only are they the same as the VJ releases but their also exactly the same as the Parlophone releases. And Purdie himself says that the sweetening was for the Capitol releases.

Sorry, this bird has flown.

Richard Bell
A day without Polkas is like a day without sunshine.

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