Beatles session player Andy White is featured on new Smithereens single

Smithereens Love Me Do

The Smithereens’ cover for their “Love Me Do” single.

The late drummer Andy White, who played on the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” in 1962, is featured on a new vinyl single The Smithereens are releasing, of that song with “P.S. I Love You” as the B-Side (as it was on the Beatles single).

It can be ordered at officialsmithereens.com/store.

The Smithereens — including frontman Pat DiNizio, who died in 2017 — recorded the song about 12 years ago with White, though the unfinished take was only recently completed and readied for release. The purpose of the initial session was to record “P.S. I Love You” for the Smithereens album, B-Sides The Beatles, but they tried out “Love Me Do” as well. According to a press release, it was the first time White played those two songs since 1962.

A Glasgow-born session musician who worked with Tom Jones, Herman’s Hermits, Del Shannon, Petula Clark and others, White was asked to do the Beatles’ “Love Me Do” session by Beatles producer George Martin’s assistant Ron Richards, since Martin and Richards were not satisfied with Ringo Starr’s drumming. Starr was not happy but cooperated, switching to tambourine when White played drums. On the original British release of the song, an earlier take, with Starr on drums, was used; the White version was used on the American single.

“P.S. I Love You” was also recorded during that 1962 session, with White on drums and Starr on maracas.

“Love Me Do” was the Beatles’ debut single and breakthrough hit, hitting the Top 20 in England in 1962. It later became a No. 1 hit in the United States.

Like Starr, Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken played tambourine and maracas during their session with White. Diken also sang backing vocals, and Kristen Pinell of The Grip Weeds added melodica.

The Beatles’ cover for their “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” single.

White, who died in 2015 at the age of 85, lived in Caldwell for many years. He played with The Smithereens at a fundraiser at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn in 2008.

The cover art of The Smithereens’ single was inspired by The Beatles’ cover for their 1963 single “Do You Want to Know A Secret?” (seen at right), featuring Starr on top, with George Harrison, John Lennon and Paul McCartney under him. For the Smithereens’ cover, DiNizio, shown in a vintage photo, is on top, with photos of, from left, Diken, bassist Mike Mesaros and guitarist Jim Babjak underneath.

The press release, written by Diken, describes the single as “a Smithereens love letter to their fans, who continue to show their undying support and who are terribly missed in this current lockdown state of life. And it is humbly sent with love to Pat and Andy and a world starving for a little lift. Treasure these few words till we’re together.”

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