Writer: John Lennon
Producer: George Martin
Recorded: November 26, 1962, at EMI Studios in London, England
Released: January 1963
|Players:||John Lennon–vocals, guitar, harmonica
Paul McCartney–bass, vocals
George Harrison–guitar, vocals
|Album:||Please Please Me (EMI, 1963)|
The Beatles’ second single, “Please Please Me,” was recorded twice–unsuccessfully on September 11, 1962, and in a speeded-up form on November 26, 1962. The latter was what was chosen for the release.
Producer George Martin almost didn’t allow the group a second attempt at the song because the first had gone so poorly. He bribed them by asking them to record a song by an outside writer (“How Do You Do It”) before taking another stab at “Please Please Me.”
Though John Lennon and Paul McCartney shared songwriting credits, Lennon maintained that “Please Please Me” was “my song completely.”
Lennon said that “Please Please Me” was inspired by two other artists–the unlikely pairing of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby: “I wrote it in the bedroom in my house at Menlove Avenue, which was my auntie’s place…I remember the day and the pink eyelet on the bed, and I heard Roy Orbison doing ‘Only The Lonely’ or something. That’s where that came from. And also I was always intrigued by the words of ‘Please, lend your ears to my pleas’–a Bing Crosby song. I was always intrigued by the double use of the word ‘please.’ So it was a combination of Bing Crosby and Roy Orbison.”
The song was an immediate hit in England, where it spent two weeks at Number One.
It was less successful in America, however. Several U.S. labels–including the Beatles’ future home, Capitol–passed on it, and the smaller Vee-Jay label put it out without much success.
After the Beatles began to hit big in the U.S. in 1964, Vee Jay rereleased “Please Please Me.” This time it reached Number Three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The Please Please Me album was Number One in England in the spring of 1963. After Capitol passed on the album, Vee-Jay released it in a slightly reconfigured form as Introducing The Beatles. It did not place on the charts upon its initial release but hit Number Two in early 1964.