Please Please Me
Please Please Me is the Beatles' historic debut album. After forming as a boys' band in Liverpool in the late 1950's, the Beatles achieved moderate success as a performance group, and were encouraged, sponsored and managed by Liverpool record store owner Brian Epstein. Their home audience was in the "Cavern Club" in Liverpool.
When the group landed a recording audition in June of 1962 at the EMI studios at Abbey Road in London, Epstein fronted the travel costs. There the Beatles met producer George Martin, and with him, they generated four singles over the next few months. In September of 1962, partly at Martin's urging, drummer Ringo Starr was substituted for Pete Best.
When it became clear that the Beatles had established themselves with two hit singles (Please Please Me and Love Me Do), Martin urged them to produce an album quickly. The group met with Martin at Abbey Road on February 11, 1963 for an historic, ten-hour recording session in which ten songs were added to the four already produced, and Please Please Me was born. Later that month a few overdubs and instrumental tracks were added, and the album was released on March 22, 1963 -- something of a land speed record for album production.
The Beatles insisted on performing their own material, but as they had not yet completed a full repertoire of original music, the debut album contains several covers, which the group had been playing and singing as part of their performance set. Eight of the fourteen tracks are credited to Paul McCartney and John Lennon. (Subsequent albums would put Lennon's name first.)
In a marathon series of recording sessions (ten-hours with just two breaks), the band captured onto tape their unique sound, later described as "Cavern Club era." Martin had originally planned to tape their live act at the Cavern Club, but it was technically daunting, so he then booked two three-hour sessions in a recording studio. A third session was added later. The objective was to reproduce a performance, in Martin's words, "a broadcast, more or less."
The last cut of the day was "Twist and Shout," a lively cover of a song made famous by the Isley Brothers the year before. It was reserved for last because John Lennon had a cold, and his voice would be gone after singing this song. As it turned out, Martin made two takes, but had to use only the first one. This number, recorded late at night with very little time left in the session, would turn out to be a key factor in the evolution of "Beatlemania," the watchword of the group's astounding popularity.
As union musicians, each member of the group received for their work just £7 10s (about $21 US) for each of the three sessions that day.
In the UK, Please Please Me hit number one in the album charts in May of 1963 and would remain there for thirty weeks, to be displaced only by the second Beatles album.
Please Please Me was not released as such in the United States. The Vee-Jay label would re-release most of the songs in their release of the album, The Beatles, in 1964. Only much later, when the catalogue was standardized for purposes of CD's, did the debut album appear unaltered in the US. The September, 2009 re-master of Please Please Me for CD is considered the best currently available version of this recording.
|Side A||Lead Vocals||Written by||Length|
|I Saw Her Standing There||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:57|
|Misery||Lennon with McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||1:50|
|Anna (Go to Him)||Lennon||Arthur Alexander||2:57|
|Chains||Harrison||Gerry Goffin, Carole King||2:26|
|Boys||Ringo Starr||Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell||2:27|
|Ask Me Why||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:27|
|Please Please Me||Lennon with McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:03|
|Love Me Do||McCartney & Lennon||Harrison||2:22|
|P.S. I Love You||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:05|
|Baby It's You||Lennon||Mack David, Barney Williams, Burt Bacharach||2:38|
|Do You Want to Know a Secret||Harrison||Lennon/McCartney||1:59|
|A Taste of Honey||McCartney||Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow||2:05|
|There's a Place||Lennon & McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||1:52|
|Twist and Shout||Lennon||Phil Medley, Bert Russell||2:33|