Song facts: Please Please Me

The Beatles released Please Please Me in the UK on January 11th 1963; this was their second single release and included Ask Me Why as the B-side. It was issued in the US the following month on February 25th 1963. It also appears on the Beatles' debut album of the same name.

Origins

Please Please Me was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon/McCartney. Lennon wrote the song while he was staying at his aunt Mimi's house on Menlove Avenue. According to John Please Please Me was his attempt at writing a Roy Orbison song.

"We'd had a top 30 entry with Love Me Do and we really thought we were on top of the world. Then came Please Please Me - and wham! We tried to make it as simple as possible. Some of the stuff we've written in the past has been a bit way-out, but we aimed this one straight at the hit parade." - John Lennon

Recording

The Beatles recorded Please Please Me on November 26th 1962, at Abbey Road. Producer George Martin oversaw the recording, which took 18 takes to perfect. 

John originally conceived the song as a much slower, bluesier number. One night while staying at his aunt Mimi's house he heard Roy Orbison's Only the Lonely on the radio, and being inspired by lyrics to a Bing Crosby song that used the word Please twice in one sentence, Lennon began writing Please Please Me.

George Martin convinced Lennon to speed the song up if it was going to be released as a single, feeling it was too slow to be commercially viable as a hit single. 

"We sang it and George Martin said, 'Can we change the tempo?' We said, 'What's that? He said, 'Make it a bit faster. Let me try it.' And he did. We thought, 'Oh, that's all right, yes.' Actually, we were a bit embarrassed that he had found a better tempo than we had." - Paul McCartney

Personnel

  • John Lennon – lead vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney – bass, double-tracked lead vocals
  • George Harrison – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Ringo Starr – drums

Engineered by Norman Smith

Chart success  

Please Please me reached number one on the Melody Maker and New Musical Express charts, but failed to reach the top spot on the Record Retailer chart, which later changed into the UK Singles Chart. Because of this the song was not included on the Beatles' 1 compilation album.

After the song failed to make much of an impact in the US, it was re-released on January 30th 1964, with From Me to You as the B-side. This time around it reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Beatles 1963. 

The Beatles 1963. 

Please Please Me single sleeve, 1962.

Please Please Me single sleeve, 1962.

Please Please Me/From Me To You single, 1963.

Please Please Me/From Me To You single, 1963.