‘Please Please Me’ Turns 60: 7 Cool Facts About The Beatles’ First LP
Before The Beatles became global superstars in 1964, the band was rocking Liverpool’s Cavern Club. They eventually found their way to producer George Martin, and the band released two singles that had modest commercial success in 1962.
The Beatles recorded their first LP, Please Please Me, over a single day in 1963. It was released in the U.K. on March 22, 1963, and popular music would never be the same.
Looking back on 60 years since the album’s debut, here are seven little-known facts about the Fab Four’s first full-length record:
1. The Beatles Beat Themselves
Please Please Me spent 30 weeks at No. 1 on the U.K. album charts. It eventually dropped to No. 2 behind the band’s second LP, With The Beatles.
2. It Could’ve Been Called Off the Beatle Track
Paul McCartney suggested the album be titled Off the Beatle Track, and Martin was in favor. However, they eventually settled on Please Please Me. (Perhaps to avoid beating the pun into the ground.) Off the Beatle Track became the title of Martin’s orchestral album of Beatles tunes.
3. Best Got the Boot
Pete Best, the band’s original drummer, got kicked to the curb (on Martin’s strong suggestion) before the album’s recording. That’s when Ringo Starr entered the picture, though the single “Love Me Do” and its B-side “P.S. I Love You” were re-recorded with session drummer Andy White.
4. “Twist and Shout” Shredded Lennon’s Throat
With John Lennon battling through a cold, Martin wisely decided to save recording of the raucous rock cover “Twist and Shout” for the end of the day. Though he said his throat felt like “sandpaper” afterwards, the vocals he produced for that track are forever scratched into music history.
5. The Band Re-created the Cover Shot in 1969
The album’s cover features the fresh-faced Fab Four looking down over the stairwell ay EMI’s London headquarters. In 1969, now with long hair, they would go to the same spot to re-create the photo for what would become the cover of their “Blue Album” greatest hits collection:
6. The Album Didn’t Get an Official U.S. Release Until 1987
Before Beatlemania hit the U.S., few people actually purchased the band’s singles in the States. Please Please Me didn’t even get officially released in the U.S. until 1987. When the British Invasion struck America, Vee-Jay records put out Introducing … The Beatles, which omitted “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why” to reduce the number of tracks to 12. The album came out in January 1964, one week before the release of the U.S. album Meet The Beatles!.
7. It Was Remade 10 Years Ago
In 2013, several artists got together at Abbey Road’s Studio 2 to to record covers of every Please Please Me track and do it all in one night, just as the Fab Four did on February 11, 1963. The result was part of a BBC TV special called The Beatles’ Please Please Me – Remaking a Classic: