Please Please Me
Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)
Released: January 11, 1963
First Charted: January 19, 1963
Peak: 3 US, 3 CB, 8 GR, 3 HR, 3 CL 2 UK, 5 CN, 36 AU, 8 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): -- US, -- UK, -- world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 3.2 video, 40.0 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
All Music Guide’s Richie Unterberger called this “the first bona fide Lennon-McCartney Beatles classic.” AMG He says, “right from its very first bars, the song burst with a dynamism that was not just unheard of in British rock & roll, but had rarely been heard in rock music of any sort.” AMG Critic Roy Carr called the song “the prototype for the next five years of British music.” AMG The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards says this is his favorite Beatles’ song. SF
In a day when sexual references were eyebrow-raising taboos in songs, the Beatles had their first top 10 hit in the UK with a song that many have interpreted as a reference to oral sex. John Lennon sings requests to a girl to please please him like he pleases her. SF Lennon was inspired by a line from a Bing Crosby song, which said “Please lend a little ear to my pleas.” SF
The Beatles recorded it on September 11, 1962, as what producer George Martin called “a dreadful version of ‘Please Please Me’ as a Roy Orbison-style ballad.” SF Lennon did, in fact, write the song “in the style of Orbison’s overly dramatic singing.” SF They recorded a faster version on November 26 because Martin thought it would have greater pop appeal. That was the version released. SF
In the UK, the song reached #1 on three of the four charts (Melody Maker, NME, and Disc) used at the time. However, the official rank of #2 was based on the song’s chart peak on Record Retailer. SF This was still a vast improvement over the first single, “Love Me Do,” which reached at #17. The song was released in the U.S. by Vee-Jay, a small, Chicago-based label. Initially the song went nowhere, but after “I Want to Hold Your Hand” exploded in early 1964, the song was released again and got to #3 on March 14, 1964.
First posted 6/23/2022; last updated 9/19/2023.