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Please Please US: can today's stars emulate the Beatles, 50 years on?

Chart stars past and present will tomorrow attempt to recapture 10 hours which shook the world as they emulate the recording of the Beatles Please Please Me to mark its 50th anniversary.

In one mammoth recording session - the productivity of which would put some sluggish or perfectionist bands to shame - the Fab Four recorded almost their entire debut album.

In the space of just 585 minutes, which some bands may take to perfect the sound of a snare drum, the group recorded 10 tracks for the LP, as well as a leftover which was revamped for their next album.

BBC Radio 2 is celebrating the historic breakneck workrate which took place on February 11, 1963, by inviting a group of stars to work on one track each during a live broadcast throughout the day from Abbey Road's Studio 2 tomorrow.

Figures such as Mick Hucknall, Stereophonics, Gabrielle Aplin and I Am Kloot will be putting their own spin on the songs the Beatles recorded.

The original recording saw the band playing live renditions - save for a few false starts and mistakes - of the songs which formed the core of their shows, with little in the way of overdubs in the way bands record layers of instruments today.

The final track of the day Twist And Shout - held back to the end because of fears that John Lennon's already ailing voice could be wrecked if it was played any earlier - was captured in one take. When Lennon, singing topless at the climax of the session, had tried again he could barely sing so they stuck with what they had.

"Trying for a second take, Lennon found he had nothing left and the session stopped there and then - but the atmosphere was still crackling," wrote Ian MacDonald, the late chronicler of Beatles recordings. "Nothing of that intensity had ever been recorded in a British pop studio."

The album could have been so different, with the band finding a degree of recognition on the back of their first single Love Me Do, producer and label boss George Martin had toyed with trying to capture their stage show by making a live album at the Cavern Club, but the plan was dropped.

Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr already had four useable tracks - singles Love Me Do and Please Please Me, plus the b-sides - and needed 10 more to make up an album so a lot was earmarked for the session at Abbey Road.

Their hectic schedule - 30 performances in February (which has only 28 days), including a tour with Helen Shapiro, plus a radio and TV show - meant time was tight.

With Lennon nursing a cold with tea, milk, cigarettes and Zubes lozenges, the group set to work at 10am, nailing the first song There's A Place in 13 takes.

I Saw Her Standing There followed and they continued rattling through the songs, with some proving trickier than others. Hold Me Tight also took 13 takes but they were unsatisfied and it was dumped, later to be revived for second album With The Beatles.

Although just two three-hour periods were booked for the recording, the band added a third which ended at 10.45pm, as Twist And Shout came to its conclusion.

"There can scarcely have been 585 more productive minutes in the history of recorded music," said author Mark Lewisohn, in his book The Complete Beatles Chronicle.

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