Friday, March 22, 2013

50 years ago: The Beatles released Please Please Me

First posted 3/24/2008; updated 9/18/2020.

Please Please Me

The Beatles


Released: March 22, 1963


Peak: 130 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 0.6 US, -- UK, 0.6 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock


Tracks for Please Please Me:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. I Saw Her Standing There [2:55] (1/13/64, 14 US, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  2. Misery [1:49]
  3. Anna (Go to Him) (Arthur Alexander) [2:55]
  4. Chains (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) [2:23]
  5. Boys (Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell) [2:24]
  6. Ask Me Why [2:24]
  7. Please Please Me [1:59] (1/11/63, 3 US, 2 UK, 5 CN, 36 AU)
  8. Love Me Do [2:21] (10/5/62, 1 US, 17 UK, 8 CN, 1 AU)
  9. P.S. I Love You [2:04] (10/5/62, 10 US)
  10. Baby It’s You (Mack David/Barney Williams/Burt Bacharach) [2:40] (4/1/95, 67 US, 7 UK) *
  11. Do You Want to Know a Secret [1:56] (3/28/64, 2 US)
  12. A Taste of Honey (Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow) [2:03]
  13. There’s a Place [1:51] (3/14/64, 74 US)
  14. Twist and Shout (Phil Medley/Bert Russell) [2:32] (3/14/62, 2 US, 5 CN, 5 AU, platinum single)

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.

* version from Live at the BBC


Total Running Time: 32:15


The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)

Rating for Please Please Me:

3.888 out of 5.00 (average of 23 ratings)


Quotable: “Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards for Please Please Me:

Introducing the Beatles

The Beatles


Released: January 10, 1964


Peak: 2 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, -- world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock


Tracks for Introducing the Beatles:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. I Saw Her Standing There [2:55] (1/13/64, 14 US, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  2. Misery [1:49]
  3. Anna (Go to Him) (Arthur Alexander) [2:55]
  4. Chains (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) [2:23]
  5. Boys (Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell) [2:24]
  6. Love Me Do [2:21] (10/5/62, 1 US, 17 UK, 8 CN, 1 AU)
  7. P.S. I Love You [2:04] (10/5/62, 10 US)
  8. Baby It’s You (Mack David/Barney Williams/Burt Bacharach) [2:40] (4/1/95, 67 US, 7 UK) *
  9. Do You Want to Know a Secret [1:56] (3/28/64, 2 US)
  10. A Taste of Honey (Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow) [2:03]
  11. There’s a Place [1:51] (3/14/64, 74 US)
  12. Twist and Shout (Phil Medley/Bert Russell) [2:32] (3/14/62, 2 US, 5 CN, 5 AU, platinum single)

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 27:39


The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)

Rating for Introducing the Beatles:

3.852 out of 5.00 (average of 5 ratings)

The Early Beatles

The Beatles


Charted: March 22, 1965


Recorded: 1962-1963


Peak: 43 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock


Tracks for The Early Beatles:

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. Love Me Do [2:21] (10/5/62, 1 US, 17 UK, 8 CN, 1 AU)
  2. Twist and Shout (Phil Medley/Bert Russell) [2:32] (3/14/62, 2 US, 5 CN, 5 AU, platinum single)
  3. Anna (Go to Him) (Arthur Alexander) [2:55]
  4. Chains (Gerry Goffin/Carole King) [2:23]
  5. Boys (Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell) [2:24]
  6. Ask Me Why [2:24]
  7. Please Please Me [1:59] (1/11/63, 3 US, 2 UK, 5 CN, 36 AU)
  8. P.S. I Love You [2:04] (10/5/62, 10 US)
  9. Baby It’s You (Mack David/Barney Williams/Burt Bacharach) [2:40] (4/1/95, 67 US, 7 UK) *
  10. A Taste of Honey (Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow) [2:03]
  11. Do You Want to Know a Secret [1:56] (3/28/64, 2 US)

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 26:26


The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)

Rating for The Early Beatles:

4.067 out of 5.00 (average of 6 ratings)

About the Please Please Me Album:

After the success of second single Please Please Me, “the Beatles rushed to deliver a debut album, bashing out [the album of the same title] in a day” STE – “12 tracks…on February 11, 1963” CDU at “Abbey Road Studios, London, England.” CDU The music is “raw and rough” AZ “yet dazzling” CDU “and still very rock & roll.” AZ “Here were four lads, highly experienced on stage, but with little or no idea of what a recording studio was like. They were subtly marshalled by the much-respected George Martin to deliver an entire album that was exactly what the fans wanted, but was still a surprise.” CDU Even “decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh, precisely because of its intense origins.” STE

“There is an innocence to Please Please MeSTE as the Beatles display an “unfettered joy at making music.” SP “The Beatles may have played notoriously rough dives in Hamburg, but the only way you could tell that on their first album was how the constant gigging turned the group into a tight, professional band that could run through their set list at the drop of a hat with boundless energy.” STE “The band worked hard…as hard as anybody in rock & roll, but the playing sounds natural, easy, enormously potent but completely unforced.” SP

“Their debut doesn't deviate in terms of structure from the norm of the day…so you get a couple of hits, a few covers and some filler.” AD Unlike many bands of the day, though, The Beatles dug into some “eclectic influences,” STE “all of which are unconventional and illustrate the group's superior taste. There's a love of girl groups, vocal harmonies, sophisticated popcraft, schmaltz, R&B, and hard-driving rock & roll.” STE

Most notable of the covers was Twist and Shout, a #2 hit in the U.S. in early ’64 and again 22 years later on the strength of appearances in the movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Back to School. As “the last song to be recorded” CDU for the album, it is “the most famous single-take in rock history.” STE “Lennon had shouted himself hoarse by the end of the session, barely getting through.” STE

A Taste of Honey also proved itself a worthy cover. “Paul McCartney delivered a heartfelt rendition of the vocal lines while the whole band created a truly wonderful vibe behind it…It…seems like a slow shuffle rather than a rock song, and as such would never be touched by any self-respecting classic rock radio station. Too bad - it's one of the best tracks on the disc.” CT

Anna fit “into 'filler' territory.” AD It is, however, “easy to see the appeal [it] must have had at the time; more mentions of girls and, therefore, romantic mystique is created.” AD

“Starr's ace vocal on BoysCDU fails to lift it above “standard Rock N Roll stuff, but Ringo does sing this with verve and style.” AD

More filler comes in the form of covers of Baby It's You, originally by “Burt Bacharach & Hal David, and Chains, by Carole King & Gerry Goffin. While penned by classic songwriting teams, ‘Baby It’s You’ is merely a ”ballad with good vocals but not the stuff of legends” AD while ‘Chains’ is “hardly the greatest song ever written or known to man.” AD

The original material on the album follows a similar path; some of it is classic stuff while other songs are mere filler. Even from the start, ”Lennon and McCartney begin to flex their writing muscles.” AZ Their very first British hit was Love Me Do, the first taste the world got of the songwriting duo. The song originally peaked at #17 in 1962, but climbed all the way to #4 upon a 20th anniversary re-release.

The next single was the title song, which is “a wonderful song, plain and simple, with the guitar following the vocal line acting as a kind of fanfare, and then we have the chorus of course – ‘Come on, COME ON!’” AD That song would soar all the way to #2 in the UK charts – it would be followed by an astonishing 17 #1 songs.

One of Lennon/McCartney’s best efforts is the strong album opener I Saw Her Standing There, “with thanks to Little Richard.” AZ Lyrically, the song “is very much boy/girl, teenage romance kind of stuff - well worn themes.” AD However, it features “McCartney’s graceful ease in singing” CDU and “is one of their best rockers, yet it has surprising harmonies and melodic progressions.” STE

“The pleasantly light P.S. I Love YouSTE “is a sweet ballad and a decent song that Paul sings well.” AD It “switches the shuffle out for an almost Latin backbeat which is nailed perfectly…it deserves more than to be relegated to the back of the vast Beatles discography.” CT That song and “Do You Want to Know a Secret…have dated slightly, but endearingly so, since they're infused with cheerful innocence and enthusiasm.” STE

Lesser tracks “Misery and There's a Place grow out of the girl group tradition without being tied to it” STE while “Ask Me Why is a sweet Fifties style love song with some nice harmonies.” AD

While the ‘filler’ songs “don't have the kind of snap that the casual fan has all but come to expect from…the Beatles brand name,” CT ”there's plenty on this disc to celebrate.” CT “One can't forget this was a first effort and to…compare this…with their later masterpieces is like comparing a Picasso to something he drew when he was a toddler.” CT The ”time-honored favorites…may seem [overplayed, but] have held up extraordinarily well over time, and still are enjoyable to listen to, especially with the harmony vocals that The Beatles knew how to execute to perfection.” CT “Things were never as simple as this again” CDU for The Beatles. This was “a small step for four men, a giant leap for music.” AZ


About Introducing the Beatles:

Despite taking off in the U.K., The Beatles struggled to get a U.S. record deal. Vee-Jay Records finally released Please Please Me as Introducing the Beatles with the "Please Please Me"/"Ask Me Why" single omitted.


About The Early Beatles:

The Capitol Records version of Please Please Me didn’t emerge until 1965. The song order changed and three songs were omitted (“I Saw Her Standing There,” “Misery,” and “There’s a Place.”

In 2006, the Capitol Records Vol. 2 box set gathered the U.S. albums The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help!, and Rubber Soul on CD for the first time.

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