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  • Writer's pictureThe Smithereens


Updated: Jul 5, 2020

The Smithereens are pleased to announce their release of the 45 RPM of The Beatles’ “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” featuring The Beatles' session drummer Andy White!

Jim Babjak, Dennis Diken, Mike Mesaros, and the late Pat DiNizio recreated The Beatles' first hit single with drummer Andy White, who played on the original Fab Four record in 1962. The songs are on a beautiful Tollie label 45 RPM vinyl single with picture sleeve, paying tribute to the original American release. The special vinyl edition is available now via The Smithereens website

The new record comes following a momentous era for The Smithereens. In 2019, they were inducted into New Jersey Hall of Fame and 2020 marks their 40th continuous year as a band. Here’s how it all came together.

Following the success of Meet The Smithereens! in 2007, the NJ rock’n’roll combo experienced a series of happy no brainers in the coming year. Since the bands’ tribute to the landmark 1964 Beatles’ LP had been so much fun to make and created a splash with critics and listeners alike, The Smithereens remained Mersey-minded, took a tip from Beatles enthusiast Tom Frangione and released B-Sides The Beatles, a companion album consisting of loving recreations of flip sides of a slew of the Fab Four’s 45s.

When it came time to cut one particular tune, the fellows enlisted a certain session musician whom they thought would add a luster to the project. It so happened that the man who drummed on the actual 1962 Beatles date had left the London recording scene, emigrated from the UK and had been living nearby in NJ with his American-born wife for some years. Andy White, whose mile-long discography boasts the likes of Tom Jones, Herman’s Hermits, Del Shannon, The Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra, Petula Clark and others, was duly summoned to House of Vibes studio to play on The Smithereens’ version of “P.S. I Love You.”

The congenial gent nailed a great take in short order, allowing time for a go at “Love Me Do,” the record’s original “plug” side. Again, he did a smashing job. It would be the first time Andy played these two numbers since that fateful September ’62 session at Abbey Road.

“For the record,” Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken “I was honored to abdicate my drum throne to Mr. White.” For his part, Diken dutifully shook maracas and tambourine, as per Ringo Starr’s similar role reversal.

In keeping with B-Sides The Beatles’ raison d’etre, “Love Me Do” was not considered for inclusion on the collection. The recording was not initially fully completed and the track languished “in the can” for several years.

Andy would find himself in The Smithereens’ inner circle on several subsequent events, most notably when he reprised those two formidable grooves with the band at the “We Get By with a Little Help From Our Friends” charity health-care fundraiser at NJ’s Paper Mill Playhouse in 2008, which earned him a hearty standing ovation. He would note, “it was the only time that ever happened in my entire career.”

Sadly, Andy White passed away in 2015. The Smithereens said goodbye to a dear friend and the world lost a great drummer.

A more profound loss befell The Smithereens when Pat DiNizio died in December 2017. Jim, Mike and Dennis continue to play with guest vocalists Marshall Crenshaw and Robin Wilson alternating as frontmen for the band. And as the guys combed their vaults to plan archival releases, they came upon their abandoned take of “Love Me Do” and discovered that Pat had indeed rendered a superb lead vocal they had entirely forgotten about!

Hearing their fallen brother’s dulcet baritone intone “you know, I love you” was comforting and inspiring. Jimmy Babjak exclaimed, “How cool it would be for The Smithereens to release our own version of that Tollie single! Pat would have loved this!”

Mike Mesaros added bass to both sides, Jimmy played acoustic guitar and Dennis sang harmony (Kristin Pinell played melodica) to complete the sonic picture. A sleeve was designed based on the Vee Jay 45 cover for “Do You Want to Know A Secret?” and a fun, new Smithereens single was born.

It’s a jolly good gem of 7” vinyl, 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.

Dennis Diken

July 2020

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