By John Curley
After the success of Meet The Smithereens, The Smithereens’ cover of The Beatles’ Meet The Beatles album, in 2007, the New Jersey-based rockers decided to do a companion album titled B-Sides The Beatles, which re-created the flip sides of a bunch of The Beatles’ 45-rpm single releases. For the recording of “P.S. I Love You,” The Smithereens were able to get Andy White, the session drummer on The Beatles’ original 1962 recording of the song, to drum on the track. White, who, in addition to The Beatles, had done recording sessions with Tom Jones, Petula Cark, Del Shannon, Herman's Hermits and others, had relocated to New Jersey. Drummer Dennis Diken played maracas and tambourine on the track, as Ringo Starr had done on The Beatles’ original recording.
With some time remaining in the session, the band and White decided to take a crack at “Love Me Do.” Since “Love Me Do” was not a B side, it wasn’t included on the B-Sides The Beatles album, and the track was never finished.
White passed away in 2015 and The Smithereens’ lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Pat DiNizio died in 2017. When Diken, lead guitarist Jim Babjak and bassist Mike Mesaros were going through some recordings for planned archival releases, they came upon the incomplete take on “Love Me Do.” It was decided to complete the recording and issue “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” as a single. Mesaros added bass to both sides, Babjak played acoustic guitar, Diken sang harmonies and guest musician Kristen Pinell added melodica. A picture sleeve for the 45 release featuring vintage head shots of DiNizio, Diken, Mesaros and Babjak was designed that was based on the sleeve for The Beatles’ 45 release for Vee Jay Records of “Do You Want To Know A Secret?”
The recordings are both terrific. Each has the flavor of the classic Beatles sound with added touches by The Smithereens. Listening to the recordings makes it clear that The Smithereens are big fans of The Fab Four. “Love Me Do” has a terrific vocal by DiNizio, great work by the band with a nice instrumental break and solid and crisp drumming by White. The take on “P.S. I Love You” is perfect with great vocals and has a wonderful retro sound to it. The Smithereens did themselves proud with this pair of Beatles covers.
The 45 can be ordered from The Smithereens’ Web site at https://www.officialsmithereens.com/store.
The Smithereens continue to perform with Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson of The Gin Blossoms alternating in the lead-vocalist role.
“Love Me Do” can be heard below:
“P.S. I Love You” can be heard below: