Originally intended as the B-side to "Thank You Girl"
, the roles were subsequently reversed, and "From Me To You" became the 45 which truly established The Beatles as a musical force to be reckoned with in Britain.
The single was released in April 1963, just a few days after John became a daddy: though that piece of news — along with his marriage — was kept very quiet. At the time, there was no standard national pop chart in the UK. According to the New Musical Express
and Melody Maker
listings, its predecessor "Please Please Me"
had made number one, but the 1
compilation uses Record Retailer (and the US Billboard) as its yardsticks. Thus, officially — in this context at least — this was the group's first chart-topper in a sequence unbroken until early '67. Furthermore, it spent a whopping seven weeks there.
It was written on the bus on their first UK tour, supporting Helen Shapiro. A true Lennon/McCartney collaboration, they literally bounced lines and chords off one another; notebook and guitars on the back seat. The title was 'subliminally' lifted from the aforementioned NME's 'From you to us' letters page.
Comparing it to the two previous singles, "From Me To You" clearly shows how quickly the band were progressing, both as composers and as musicians. The non-verbal intro, the sophisticated switches between verse and chorus sections and the tightly modulated ending are all now part of the rulebook of popular music, which they were making up as they went along. John's non-blues harp, which he always regarded as 'a gimmick', still sounds out loud and proud.
The young wags adapted the words to "From Us
To You" for a brief rendition in their eponymous BBC show the following November.