March 22: The Beatles released Please Please Me in 1963
….they were a group with the luck to meet opportunities, the wit to recognize them, the drive to seize them, and the talent to fullfil them. Please Please Me is the sound of them doing all four.
~Tom Ewing (pitchfork.com)
#1 – I Saw Her Standing There
|Released||22 March 1963|
|Recorded||11 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
|Genre||Rock and roll, pop
Please Please Me is the debut album by the English rock band the Beatles. Parlophone rush-released the album on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of singles “Please Please Me” (No. 1 on most lists but only No. 2 on Record Retailer) and “Love Me Do” (No. 17).
Of the album’s fourteen songs, eight were written by Lennon–McCartney (originally credited “McCartney–Lennon”), early evidence of what Rolling Stone later called “[their invention of] the idea of the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments”. In 2012, Please Please Me was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
…It’s a blueprint of everything the Beatles would ever do, mixing up doo-wop, country, R&B, girl groups, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Tin Pan Alley into their own exuberant sound. John and Paul sang the openhearted originals “Ask Me Why,” “There’s a Place,” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” Ringo shouted, “All right, George!” in his gender-flipped cover of the Shirelles’ ultrafemme “Boys.” All four Beatles sang and played with total emotional urgency, holding nothing back, knowing their first shot at getting out of Liverpool could have been their last. You can hear John completely blow out his voice in the last track, “Twist and Shout.”
#7 – Please Please Me – 2009 Mono remaster
In order for the album to contain fourteen songs (the norm for British 12″ vinyl pop albums at that time was to have seven songs on each side, while American albums usually had only five or six songs per side) ten more tracks were needed to add to the four sides of their first two singles recorded and released previously. Therefore, at 10:00 am on Monday, 11 February 1963, the Beatles and George Martin started recording what was essentially their live act in 1963, and finished 585 minutes later (9 hours and 45 minutes). In three sessions that day (each lasting approximately three hours) they produced an authentic representation of the band’s Cavern Club-era sound, as there were very few overdubs and edits. Optimistically, only two sessions were originally booked by Martin—the evening session was added later.
The day ended with a cover of “Twist and Shout”, which had to be recorded last because John Lennon had a particularly bad cold and Martin feared the throat-shredding vocal would ruin Lennon’s voice for the day. This performance, captured on the first take, prompted Martin to say: “I don’t know how they do it. We’ve been recording all day but the longer we go on the better they get.”
#14 – Twist and Shout – 11.04.1963 during The Royal Variety Show at Prince of Wales Theatre, London.
All songs written by McCartney–Lennon, except where noted.
- “I Saw Her Standing There”
- “Anna (Go to Him)” (Arthur Alexander)
- “Chains” (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)
- “Boys” (Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell)
- “Ask Me Why”
- “Please Please Me”
- “Love Me Do”
- “P.S. I Love You”
- “Baby It’s You” (Mack David, Barney Williams, Burt Bacharach)
- “Do You Want to Know a Secret”
- “A Taste of Honey” (Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow)
- “There’s a Place”
- “Twist and Shout” (Phil Medley, Bert Russell)
According to Mark Lewisohn:
- The Beatles
- John Lennon – lead vocals, background vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica, hand claps
- Paul McCartney – lead vocals, background vocals, bass guitar, hand claps
- George Harrison – background vocals, lead vocals on “Chains” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, hand claps
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, hand claps, lead vocals on “Boys”
- Additional musicians and production
- George Martin – producer, mixer, additional arrangements, piano on “Misery”, celesta on “Baby It’s You”
- Norman Smith – audio engineer, mixer
- Andy White – drums on “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You”
- Please Please Me hit the top of the UK album charts in May 1963 and remained there for thirty weeks before being replaced by With The Beatles. This was surprising because the UK album charts at the time tended to be dominated by film soundtracks and easy listening vocalists.
- In 2012, Please Please Me was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. It was ranked first among the Beatles’ early albums, and sixth of all of the Beatles’ albums, with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver,Rubber Soul, The Beatles (The White Album) and Abbey Road ranked higher.
- Rolling Stone also placed two songs from the album on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: No. 139, “I Saw Her Standing There”, and No. 184, “Please Please Me”.
- According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic, “Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh”, the covers are “impressive” and the originals “astonishing“.
Full album playlist (UK Mono) from youtube:
- Keith William Relf (22 March 1943 – 14 May 1976) was a musician best known as the lead singer and harmonica player of The Yardbirds. After the Yardbirds broke up Relf formed the acoustic duo Together, with fellow Yardbird Jim McCarty, followed byRenaissance, which also featured his sister, singer Jane Relf, then hard rock group Armageddon. Relf also produced tracks for artists such as folk-rock band Hunter Muskett, the acoustic world music group Amber, psychedelic band Saturnalia and blues-rock bandMedicine Head, with whom he played bass guitar.
-Egil & Hallgeir