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Please Please Me

The history of this classic Beatles song


The original US 45rpm single

The original US 45rpm single

source: eskimo.com/~bpentium

Please Please Me

Written by: John Lennon (credited as Lennon-McCartney)
Recorded: November 26th, 1962 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)
Mixed: November 30th, 1962; February 25th, 1963
Length: 2:04
Takes: 18
Musicians: John Lennon: lead vocal, harmonica, rhythm guitar (1958 Rickenbacker 325)
Paul McCartney: co-lead vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
George Harrison: lead guitar (Gretsch Duo Jet), backing vocals
Ringo Starr: drums (Premier)
First released: January 11, 1963 (UK: Parlophone 45-R 4983), February 25th, 1963 (US: Vee-Jay VJ-498)
Available on: (CDs in bold)
  • Please Please Me, (UK: Parlophone PMC 1202, PCS 3042, Parlophone CDP7 46435-2p, US: Capitol CLJ 46435)
  • Introducing The Beatles, (US: VeeJay VJLP 1062)
  • The Early Beatles, (US: Capitol (S)T 2309, CDP 0946 3 57498 2 3}
  • The Beatles Hits (EP), (UK: Parlophone GEP 8880}
  • The Beatles 1962-1966, (UK: Apple PCSP 717, US: Apple SKBO 3403, Apple CDP 0777 7 97036 2 3}
Highest chart position: 2 (UK: March 2, 1963)
  • Written by John in the bedroom of his boyhood home on Menlove Avenue in 1962, this breakthrough number took its inspiration from two main sources -- musically, from Roy Orbison ballads, specifically his '60 hit "Only The Lonely," and lyrically, from Bing Crosby's 1932 hit "Please," which John's mother, Julia, would often sing around the house during his early childhood. The Crosby hit is built around the line "Please, lend your little ear to my pleas"; Lennon liked the wordplay so much that he decided to write a song that did the same thing.
  • The original version of this song was much slower and closer to a Roy Orbison ballad speed, but producer George Martin, sensing he had a possible winner, prodded the boys to speed the song up and refine the words. The band also decided at some point to repeat the "lead harmonica" effect they'd used on "Love Me Do."
  • Upon hearing the completed track, producer George Martin turned on the intercom and told the group: "Gentlemen, you've just recorded your first Number One record." This turned out to be only partly true, however: England's Record Retailer, now considered the benchmark chart of the day, never ranked it higher than #2, although all other major record charts -- the BBC, Disc Weekly, Melody Maker, NME, and Record Mirror -- considered it to be the Number One hit that week.
  • This was the first Beatles song to be published by the now-famous Dick James Music company; James secured the rights by booking the group to perform the song on ITV's Thank Your Lucky Stars TV show, their first national appearance and a major development in the history of British Beatlemania.
Live versions: Star Club, Hamburg, Germany, December 1962
BBC versions: 12 (for the BBC radio programs Here We Go, Talent Spot, Saturday Club, Parade Of The Pops, On The Scene, Steppin' Out, Side By Side, Pop Go The Beatles, and Easy Beat
  • An early version of this song, recorded on September 11, 1962 at the Please Please Me album sessions, again featured session drummer Andy White instead of Ringo. It can be found on Anthology 1.
  • There is no proof that this song, as has been rumored, is specifically a request to perform oral sex, although it is certain that the song's subject feels sexually frustrated in some way.
Covered by: David Cassidy, The Chipmunks, The Crickets, Sonny Curtis, The Flamin' Groovies, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, Brian Setzer, Link Wray
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