The "Please Please Me" single on Parlophone
"Please Please Me" was the single with which The Beatles hoped to consolidate the modest success of "Love Me Do"
. George Martin was still pushing for "How Do You Do It?", but the boys — just back from their final residency on the Reeperbahn — were still having none of it.
"Please Please Me" was, at that time, a slow-paced number: "rather dreary" according to Mr M. Persuading them to try speeding it up a little (as they didn't yet know what 'change the tempo' meant), he eventually gave it the thumbs up and it was duly recorded in November '62. What's more, he finally condescended to let Ringo have the drumsticks, much to everyone's relief!
Martin instantly predicted that it would make the number one spot, which it did — according to which listing you choose to believe. Record Retailer
peaked it at number two, hence its non-inclusion on the 1
compilation. This is why I personally prefer the NME
chart, which had it on the topspot the day I was born... Whichever; it was — and still is — a real belter!
Charged with all the raunchy energy required to back up the heavy innuendo of the lyric ("C'mon, c'mon", stop teasing and just get on with it...), "Please Please Me" can be considered as the beginning of the 'Beatle Sound'; that is, sounding unlike anyone or anything else at the time, as well as unleashing their ubiquitous "oh yeah" catchphrase into a still relatively innocent world! The influences are there, of course — Everly harmonies and Elvis cool — but combined in a totally original way. Just three months had elapsed since "Love Me Do", and the difference in quality is simply stunning.
The contrasting verse and bridge sections are effortlessly executed, clearly indicating the rapid learning curve which the band was on musically, and which Lennon and McCartney were on as composers. Big, ballsy bassline from Paul, and George's thrusting guitar breaks accentuate the excitement five-fold. Lennon's harmonica is downright dirty, and — as for Ringo — he certainly managed to pass the audition this time. It all surges up to that delirious key-shift at the climax, to leave you as breathless as if you'd actually been doing what John had been pleading to do from the outset!