Please Please Me
|Please Please Me|
|Studio album by the Beatles|
|Released||22 March 1963|
|Recorded||4 September 1962– 11 February 1963|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
|The Beatles chronology|
|Singles from Please Please Me|
Please Please Me is the debut studio album by English rock band the Beatles. Parlophone rush-released the album on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of their singles "Please Please Me" (No. 1 on most lists though only No. 2 on Record Retailer) and "Love Me Do" (No. 17).
Of the album's 14 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."
The norm for British 12" vinyl pop albums in 1963 was to have seven songs on each side (American albums usually had five or six songs per side) leaving producer George Martin needing ten more tracks if he were to include the four sides ("Love Me Do" / "P.S. I Love You" and "Please Please Me" / "Ask Me Why") of the group's first two singles: “I asked them what they had which we could record quickly, and the answer was their stage act” Martin said. He had at first contemplated recording the album live at the Cavern Club in front of the group's home audience and visited the Liverpool club on 9 December 1962 (or 12 December 1962, indicated by more recent scholarship) to consider the technicalities. But when time constraints intervened, he decided to book them at EMI Studios in Abbey Road and record them live there instead. Martin said, "It was a straightforward performance of their stage repertoire—a broadcast, more or less."
Initially only a morning and afternoon session were booked; the evening session was added later. Therefore, at 10:00 am on Monday, 11 February 1963, the Beatles began working their way through their live set song by song, the number of takes varying on each, and finished at 10:45 pm—less than 13 hours later— capturing in essence an authentic representation of the band's Cavern Club-era sound. 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, caught 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." Mark Lewisohn would later write: "There can scarcely have been 585 more productive minutes in the history of recorded music" Paul McCartney double tracked his vocal on "A Taste of Honey" and Lennon added harmonica onto "There's a Place" during these sessions. Martin overdubbed piano on "Misery" and celesta on "Baby It's You" on 20 February, during which the Beatles were not present.
The song "Hold Me Tight" was recorded during these sessions, but was "surplus to requirements" and not included on the album. "Hold Me Tight" was recorded again on 12 September 1963 for With the Beatles.
The whole day's session cost around £400 (equivalent to £7,600 in 2015). Martin said: "There wasn't a lot of money at Parlophone. I was working to an annual budget of £55,000." This budget had to cover all of the artists on Martin's roster. Individually, under a contract with the Musicians' Union, each Beatle collected a £7 10s (£7.50 or £142 in 2015) session fee for each three-hour session.
Before deciding on the title Please Please Me, Martin considered calling the album Off the Beatle Track, a title he would later use for his own orchestral album of Beatles songs. The album was recorded on a two-track BTR tape machine with most of the instruments on one track and the vocals on the other, allowing Martin to better balance the two in the final mono mix. A stereo mix was also made with one track on the left channel and the other on the right, as well as an added layer of reverb to better blend the two tracks together. The two tracks generally divided the instrumental track from the vocals, with the exception of "Boys", in which the close proximity of Ringo's drums to his vocal microphone placed the drums (but not the other instruments) on the vocal channel.
Two tracks, "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You", were only mixed for mono for the single's release and no stereo versions were ever made, so, for the stereo version of the album, during the mixing sessions on 25 February 1963, George Martin created "mock stereo" versions by emphasizing low frequencies on one side and high frequencies on the other. These versions would continue to be made available via compilation albums (such as A Collection of Beatles Oldies and 1962–1966), and on Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs' half-speed mastered vinyl releases (catalog number MFSL-1-101) sourced from EMI's original stereo master tapes, until the Beatles' catalogue was standardized and issued on compact disc in 1987, starting with the first four UK albums being issued in their mono versions. However, when Capitol Records issued the second volume of American Beatles albums on compact disc (The Capitol Albums, Volume 2) in 2006, the same mock stereo versions that appeared on The Early Beatles were included. When the entire catalogue was remastered for release in 2009, the mono mixes were chosen for inclusion on the stereo re-issues, and appear on all releases since, including newer compilations and variations.
Please Please Me was released as a mono LP album on the Parlophone label in the UK on 22 March 1963, and has remained on UK catalogue continuously since 1963. The stereo version was released on 26 April, over a month after the mono version.
- Vinyl (12") record (stereo and mono)
- Reel-to-reel (3-3/4-ips) (mono) (paperbox) [deleted late 1960s]
- Reel-to-reel (3-3/4-ips (mono)+(stereo)) (plastic boxes) [deleted mid-1970s]
- 8-track tape (stereo) [deleted late 1970s]
- Cassette tape (originally released in stereo, re-issued in mono in 1988) [deleted late 1990s]
- CD (1987 version) (mono) [deleted 2009]
- CD (remastered in 2009) (stereo and limited edition mono)
- Digital Download (remastered in 2009) (stereo)
- Vinyl (re-issue of the 1963 vinyl, but used 2009 CD remastered tracks on 180g vinyl) (stereo)
- Vinyl (re-issue of the original mono mix on 180g vinyl) (mono)
In the United States, most of the songs on Please Please Me were first issued on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing... The Beatles in 1964, and subsequently on Capitol Records' The Early Beatles in 1965. Please Please Me was not released in the US until the Beatles' catalogue was standardised for CD.
In Canada, the majority of the album's songs were included upon the Canadian-exclusive release Twist and Shout, which featured "From Me to You" and "She Loves You" in place of "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Misery".
In New Zealand, the album first appeared only in mono on the black Parlophone label. The following year (1964) EMI (NZ) changed from black to a blue Parlophone label and the album was again available only in mono. Due to constant demand, it was finally made available in stereo, first through the World Record Club on their Young World label in both mono and stereo, and finally on the blue Parlophone label.
The album was released on CD on 26 February 1987, in mono, as were their three subsequent albums, With the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night and Beatles for Sale. It was not released on vinyl or tape in the US until five months later when it was issued for the first time in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987.
Please Please Me was remastered and re-released on CD in stereo, along with all the other original UK studio albums, on 9 September 2009. The 2009 remasters replaced the 1987 remasters. A remastered mono CD was also available as part of The Beatles in Mono box set.
Artwork and packaging
George Martin was an honorary fellow of the Zoological Society of London, which owns the London Zoo. Martin thought that it might be good publicity for the zoo to have the Beatles pose outside the insect house for the cover photography of the album. However, the society turned down Martin's offer, and instead, Angus McBean was asked to take the distinctive colour photograph of the group looking down over the stairwell inside EMI's London headquarters in Manchester Square. Martin was to write later: "We rang up the legendary theatre photographer Angus McBean, and bingo, he came round and did it there and then. It was done in an almighty rush, like the music. Thereafter, though, the Beatles' own creativity came bursting to the fore." In 1969, the Beatles asked McBean to recreate this shot. Although the 1969 photograph was originally intended for the then-planned Get Back album, it was not used when that project saw eventual release in 1970 as Let It Be. Instead, the 1969 photograph, along with an unused photograph from the 1963 photo shoot, was used in 1973 for the Beatles' retrospective albums 1962–1966 and 1967–1970. Another unused photograph from the 1963 photo shoot was used for The Beatles (No. 1) (EP released 1 November 1963).
As consistent with all early 1960s albums made in the UK, the rear of the album sleeve has sleeve notes. The Beatles' press officer Tony Barrow wrote extensive sleeve notes, which included a brief mention of their early 1960s rivals The Shadows.
Reception and legacy
|The A.V. Club||A|
|Consequence of Sound||A–|
|The Daily Telegraph|||
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|||
|The Rolling Stone Album Guide|||
Please Please Me hit the top of the UK album charts in May 1963 and remained there for 30 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 a 1987 review upon its CD reissue, Rolling Stone magazine's Steve Pond recommended Please Please Me "for the Beatles' unfettered joy at making music". 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 (also known as "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. 140, "I Saw Her Standing There", and No. 186, "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".
In 2013, the album's 50th anniversary was celebrated by modern artists re-recording the album in just one day, the same time it took the Beatles to record it 50 years earlier. Stereophonics recorded a cover of the album's opening track, "I Saw Her Standing There". It and the other recordings were broadcast on BBC Radio 2, and a documentary about the re-recording of The Beatles' debut album was broadcast on BBC Television.
All tracks written by McCartney–Lennon, except where noted.
|1.||"I Saw Her Standing There"||Paul McCartney||2:55|
|2.||"Misery"||John Lennon with McCartney||1:49|
|3.||"Anna (Go to Him)" (Arthur Alexander)||Lennon||2:55|
|4.||"Chains" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King)||George Harrison||2:23|
|5.||"Boys" (Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell)||Ringo Starr||2:24|
|6.||"Ask Me Why"||Lennon||2:24|
|7.||"Please Please Me"||Lennon with McCartney||2:00|
|1.||"Love Me Do"||McCartney with Lennon||2:23|
|2.||"P.S. I Love You"||McCartney||2:04|
|3.||"Baby It's You" (Mack David, Barney Williams, Burt Bacharach)||Lennon||2:40|
|4.||"Do You Want to Know a Secret"||Harrison||1:56|
|5.||"A Taste of Honey" (Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow)||McCartney||2:03|
|6.||"There's a Place"||Lennon and McCartney||1:51|
|7.||"Twist and Shout" (Phil Medley, Bert Russell)||Lennon||2:32|
Track listing per Calkin.
- 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" and "P.S. I Love You", celesta on "Baby It's You"
- Norman Smith – audio engineer, mixer
- Andy White – drums on "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You"
Charts and certifications
BPI certification awarded only for sales since 1994.
Summer Holiday (soundtrack) by Cliff Richard & The Shadows
|UK Albums Chart number-one album
11 May – 30 November 1963
With The Beatles by The Beatles
|United Kingdom||22 March 1963||Parlophone||Mono LP||PMC1202|
|26 April 1963||Stereo LP||PCS 3042|
|United States||26 February 1987||Capitol Records||Mono LP||C1 46435|
|CD||CDP 7 46435 2|
|Worldwide re-release||9 September 2009||Apple Records||Remastered stereo CD||0946 3 82416 2 1|
|Remastered mono CD|
|13 November 2012||Remastered stereo LP||0946 3 82416 1 4|
|8 September 2014||Remastered mono LP|
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