Here we highlight The Beatles’ 1963 album, “Please Please Me” in brief. This was the fab four’s’ first LP but what a sound we get from it! In fact, click the button on the right to hear clips from all the tracks and see for yourself.
Release Date: 22nd March, 1963
Recorded: 4th September, 1962 – 11th and 20th February, 1963
Album Duration: 32:15
Record Label: Parlophone
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Merseybeat, rock and roll, rock & pop
Producers: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica, also some handclaps
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass, also some handclaps
George Harrison: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, also some handclaps
Ringo Starr: vocals, drums, tambourine, maracas, also some handclaps
George Martin: piano (Misery and P.S. I Love You), celesta (Baby It’s You)
Andy White (session musician): drums (Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You)
Please Please Me Album Tracks
03) Anna (Go To Him)
06) Ask Me Why
07) Please Please Me
02) Lennon with McCartney
07) Lennon with McCartney
02) PS I Love You
03) Baby It’s You
04) Do You Want To Know A Secret
05) A Taste Of Honey
06) There’s A Place
07) Twist And Shout
06) Lennon with McCartney
After the release of the singles, “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me”, an album had to follow of course. Moreover, Parlaphone were in a hurry to get the “Please Please Me” album out. But, even though this was a rush job, the quality of the tracks are incredible. Indeed, The Beatles recorded ten of the tracks (to accompany the singles) in one day alone on the 11th February, 1963. This was during a marathon recording session between 10am and 10.45pm that day.
However, the producer was George Martin who was a wizard in the studio and the rest is history as they say. In the first place, it was George Martin that saw the emerging talent of the Fab Four and quickly took them under his wing. Not forgetting Brian Epstein who worked tirelessly to get a recording contract to begin with. Together, this partnership then gave us the best sounds in history.
While recording all these songs, John Lennon’s voice wasn’t too grand. In fact, Lennon was suffering from a bad cold on that eventful day. So, they waited until the end of the session before they recorded the vocal ripping “Twist And Shout”.
“The last song nearly killed me. My voice wasn’t the same for a long time after; every time I swallowed it was like sandpaper. I was always bitterly ashamed of it, because I could sing it better than that; but now it doesn’t bother me. You can hear that I’m just a frantic guy doing his best.”
Credits for the songs on the Please Please Me album go to McCartney-Lennon but this changed soon after its release.
Indeed, The Beatles recorded the whole Please Please Me album at the EMI studios on 4th September 1962, also on the 11th and 20th February, 1963. So, the image came from this period. While other cover art was available, including some from George Martin, this design was certainly good enough.
The album cover on the right shows the stereo version, of course, which was available from 26th April, 1963. But the original mono version came out around four weeks earlier on the 22nd March, 1963.
“P.S. I Love You” was the B-side of The Beatles debut single “Love Me Do”, of course. Indeed, this could have been a single itself such was the quality. Also, “Ask Me Why” was the B-side of the “Please Please Me” single. Although a hit in the UK, the single wasn’t available in America until around a year later they added “From Me to You” as the B-side.
Andy White played the drums on the album version of “Love Me Do” while Ringo Starr was the drummer on the single version. The single version is also on the 1988 album, “Past Masters“, can you tell the difference? Andy White came in as a session musician because at the time George Martin wasn’t comfortable with Pete Best who was the drummer at the time.
Because The Beatles recorded some of these songs in a single live take, they managed to recreate the raw, live sound that had built them a reputation in The Cavern Club.
Just to point out that in the early sixties, releases of albums were more along the lines of easy listening for the older generation. However, this album changed all this. Indeed, the album topped the Record Retailers LP charts for 30 weeks starting from 11th May 1963. The LP spent a total of 70 weeks in the British charts.
Of course, for a pop album to do this was a sign that the buying power of teenagers was having an effect. Indeed, when the “Please Please Me” album fell from the number one slot, its replacement was their next album, “With The Beatles“!
The official release of the “Please Please Me” album in America was not until February 1987. Then, there were three worldwide re-releases in 2009, 2012 and 2014.
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