Song facts: Love Me Do

Love Me Do is a Beatles' song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. It was the band's first single, backed by P.S. I Love You. When first released in the UK on October 5th 1962 the single peaked at number 17. After its release in the US eighteen months later on April 27th 1964, it found its way to number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, on May 30th. 

"There were enough fans of The Beatles around because we were playing all over the Wirral, Cheshire, Manchester and Liverpool. We were quite popular, so the sales were real.
First hearing Love Me Do on the radio sent me shivery all over. It was the best buzz of all time. We knew it was going to be on Radio Luxembourg at something like 7.30 on Thursday night. I was in my house in Speke and we all listened in. That was great, but after having got to 17, I don't recall what happened to it. It probably went away and died, but what it meant was that the next time we went to EMI, they were more friendly: Oh, hello lads. Come in." - George Harrison
"The best thing was it came into the charts in two days and everybody thought it was a fiddle, because our manager's stores sent in these returns and everybody down south though, 'Ah-ha, he's buying them himself or he's just fiddling the charts.' But he wasn't." - John Lennon

Three versions of Love Me Do have been released over the years; with three different drummers: Pete Best, Ringo Starr and Andy White.

The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

Pete Best version

On June 6th 1962, the Beatles had their first recording session at Abbey Road. At this session the Beatles still had Pete Best on drums. But these recordings would ultimately be shelved. The version of Love Me Do recorded on this day was later issued on The Beatles' Anthology 1 album in 1995.

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – vocals, bass
  • John Lennon – vocals, harmonica
  • George Harrison – acoustic rhythm guitar
  • Pete Best – drums
 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

Ringo Starr version

The Beatles had their first formal recording session with Ringo Starr, on September 4th, 1962. With their new drummer they worked with producer George Martin on their first single, recording Love Me Do and How Do You Do It. Written by songwriter Mitch Murray, How Do You Do It was chosen by Martin for the Beatles' first single, insisting it would be a number one hit. The Beatles recorded it but weren't happy and wanted to release something they'd written themselves. 

Their persistence paid off as George Martin agreed to shelve How Do You Do It and focus on Love Me Do. How Do You Do It was eventually given to Gerry and the Pacemakers, and they did indeed have a number one hit as Martin predicted. The Beatles' recording of How Do You Do It remained unreleased until 1995 and can be found on the Anthology 1 album. 

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – vocals, bass
  • John Lennon – vocals, harmonica
  • George Harrison – acoustic rhythm guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums
Ringo Starr at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

Ringo Starr at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

Andy White version

After recording Love Me Do with Ringo Starr on drums on September 4th, producer George Martin wasn't happy with Ringo's drumming to release the song as a single. A session drummer named Andy White was called in to re-record the song on September 11th and temporarily replace Starr on drums. Ringo was extremely offended and bitter about this decision and never fully forgave Martin. At this session he was relegated to playing tambourine.

Ironically, this newer version recorded with Andy White on drums ended up being released on the album version, and Ringo's recording was released as the single after all.

Personnel

  • Paul McCartney – vocals, bass
  • John Lennon – vocals, harmonica
  • George Harrison – acoustic rhythm guitar
  • Ringo Starr – tambourine
  • Andy White – drums
Love Me Do was completely co-written. It might have been my original idea but some of them really were 50-50s, and I think that one was. It was just Lennon and McCartney sitting down without either of us having a particularly original idea. - Paul McCartney
Paul wrote the main structure of this when he was 16, or even earlier. I think I had something to do with the middle ... Love Me Do is Paul's song. He wrote it when he was a teenager. Let me think. I might have helped on the middle eight, but I couldn't swear to it. I do know he had the song around, in Hamburg, even, way, way before we were songwriters. - John Lennon
 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

 The Beatles at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney at an early Abbey Road recording session, September 4th, 1962.