P.S. I Love You (Beatles song)

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"P.S. I Love You"
Original "Love Me Do" 45
Single by the Beatles
A-side "Love Me Do"
Released 5 October 1962 (UK)
27 April 1964 (US)
Recorded 4 and 11 September 1962
EMI Studios, London
Genre Merseybeat
Length 2:06
Label Parlophone R4949
Tollie 9008 (US)
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) Ron Richards
the Beatles singles chronology




"Can't Buy Me Love"
(US-1964)
"Love Me Do"
(UK-1962)

"Love Me Do"
(US-1964)
"Please Please Me"
(UK-1963)

"A Hard Day's Night"
(US-1964)
Please Please Me track listing

"P.S. I Love You" is a song composed principally by Paul McCartney[1] (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and recorded by English rock group the Beatles, with McCartney on lead vocal. It was released on 5 October 1962 as the B-side of their debut single "Love Me Do" and is also included on their 1963 album Please Please Me. It was later included on the Beatles compilation Love Songs.

Recording[edit]

The version featured on the single and album was recorded in ten takes on 11 September 1962 at EMI's Abbey Road Studios, London. Producer George Martin had booked session drummer Andy White as a replacement for Pete Best, whom he considered not technically good enough for recording purposes (Martin had been unaware that the other Beatles had already replaced Pete Best with Ringo Starr, who attended the session and plays maracas on the song). White was a freelance show band and session drummer, and gave the recording a lightweight cha cha treatment.[2]

Martin was not present at the session, which was run by Ron Richards in his absence. Richards told the group that the song could not be the A-side of their single because of an earlier song of the same title: "I was originally a music publishing man, a plugger, so I knew someone had done a record with that title. I said to Paul 'You can have it as B-side, but not an A-side'"[3] (despite other titles having been used for multiple hit songs without legal difficulties).

With Starr playing drums, the Beatles recorded this song at the BBC on 25 October 1962, 27 November 1962 and 17 June 1963 for subsequent broadcast on the BBC radio programmes Here We Go, Talent Spot and Pop Go the Beatles, respectively.

Inspiration[edit]

Written in spring 1962,[4] while Paul McCartney was in Hamburg, this song is sometimes considered to be a dedication to his then-girlfriend Dot Rhone.[5] However, McCartney denies this; he described "P.S. I Love You" thus:

It's just an idea for a song really, a theme song based on a letter, like the Paperback Writer idea. It was pretty much mine. I don't think John had much of a hand in it. There are certain themes that are easier than others to hang a song on, and a letter is one of them... The letter is a popular theme and it's just my attempt at one of those. It's not based in reality, nor did I write it to my girlfriend from Hamburg, which some people think.[6]

John Lennon said about this song:[7]

That's Paul's song. He was trying to write a "Soldier Boy" like the Shirelles. He wrote that in Germany, or when we were going to and from Hamburg. I might have contributed something. I can't remember anything in particular. It was mainly his song.

("Soldier Boy" was a US No. 1 single for the Shirelles in 1962.)

Melodically it could be considered in retrospect as typical of McCartney's writing style, with Lennon contributing a single note harmony emphasising the beginning of each stanza. There are two notable exceptions to the contemporaneous model. During the opening chorus the chord D♭7 is placed incongruously between G and D (on write), and during the song’s title phrase a sudden shift to B♭ occurs underneath "P.S. I love you" which Ian MacDonald described as "a dark sidestep".[2] Lyrically constructed with their female audience in mind, the Beatles included it as part of their Cavern Club song set, where it was a favourite of the fans.[2] The Beatles admired Buddy Holly and the Crickets (best demonstrated by their cover of "Words of Love" on the Beatles for Sale album). Writer Jonathan Cott suggested that the "P.S." part of the song was a subtle reference to "Peggy Sue", from the lyric "I love you, Peggy Sue".[8]

Missing master tape[edit]

No original master tapes of the 11 September version of "P.S. I Love You" are known to exist. Standard procedure at Abbey Road Studios at the time was to erase the original two-track session tape for singles once they had been "mixed down" to the (usually monaural) master tape used to press records. This was the fate of two Beatles singles (four songs): "Love Me Do", "P.S. I Love You", "She Loves You", and "I'll Get You".

Compilations[edit]

Despite the song's phenomenal success, it is absent from most compilations, most notably the Red Album.

Re-release[edit]

On its 20th anniversary, Parlophone re-issued "P.S. I Love You" as a picture disc, and shortly afterwards as a 12-inch disc.[9][10]

Personnel[edit]

Engineered by Norman Smith

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[2][11]

Charts[edit]

Year Chart Peak
position
1962 UK Singles Chart 17
1964 U.S. Billboard Hot 100 10
1982 UK Singles Chart 4

Cover versions[edit]

"P.S. I Love You" has been covered by:

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Harry 2000, p. 892.
  2. ^ a b c d MacDonald 2007, p. 61.
  3. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 20.
  4. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (2013). The Beatles: All These Years, Volume One – Tune In. New York: Crown Archetype. p. 626. ISBN 978-1-4000-8305-3. 
  5. ^ MacDonald 2007, p. 61, footnote.
  6. ^ Miles 1997, p. 37.
  7. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 168.
  8. ^ Rolling Stone 1976, p. 81.
  9. ^ "Beatles, The - Love Me Do at Discogs". discogs.com. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You by The Beatles". rateyourmusic.com. Retrieved 26 April 2012. 
  11. ^ P.S. I Love You | The Beatles Bible

References[edit]

External links[edit]