To begin with, “Besame Mucho” is a song from The Beatles’ Decca Records audition tape from 1st January 1962. Of course at the time, Pete Best was on the drums.
This Latin song title means “kiss me a lot” in English. Written in 1940 by Mexican songwriter Consuelo Velázquez, “Bésame Mucho” has the distinction of being the most sung and recorded Mexican song in the world (1999 estimation). The writer herself considered it a sin to participate in kissing and at the time of writing she never had that experience!
During 1961, The Beatles would play this at their live gigs with Paul McCartney as lead singer. In fact, they sung it in both the Cavern Club and Hamburg. But they would drop this song from their live act after about 18 months, even though they injected their own style and wit into it. The Coasters had a minor success with the song in 1960 and McCartney had the record in his possession.
“I had this very diverse little record collection from which I was culling material. I remember I had the Coasters’ Zing Went The Strings Of My Heart, which was on the B-side of Yakety Yak, [and] I can look back on these records and see what it was I liked. With Besame Mucho by The Coasters, it’s a minor song and it changes to a major, and where it changes to a major is such a big moment musically. That major change attracted me so much.”
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Obviously The Beatles, just like other budding artists hungry for success, would often cover songs.
Decca Audition Song
In order to try and secure a recording contract, manager Brian Epstein contacted many record companies. He also decided what songs they should have on their demo tape and this track was one of those.
On 1st January 1962, Decca Records was one of their last hopes to secure a record deal. They submitted their audition tape, there were no overdubs and only one take of each song. But, as we know, Decca turned them down saying, “guitar groups are on the way out”. Decca’s decision was one of the biggest mistakes ever in recording history, if not the biggest.
Although The Beatles would record “Besame Mucho” again in June that year, we are yet to see an official release of the Decca version.
Their recordings on the 6th June 1962 was their audition for EMI and in particular, George Martin. They recorded, this track together with “Love Me Do“, “P.S. I Love You” as well as “Ask Me Why“. However, they only discovered this track again in the 1980s. This is because they recorded over most recordings those days swiftly once they mixed them. They didn’t make use of the song then, but it is now on their 1995 album, “Anthology 1”.
In January 1969, during the “Get Back/Let It Be” recording session, the band sang many songs from their Fab Four days. This song was one of those and it also appears in the resulting 1970 documentary film, “Let It Be“. The Beatles were breaking up at this point, and despite their best efforts, the “Get Back/Let It Be” project did nothing to save the inevitable.