Prior to its release, the group had issued two singles: ‘Love Me Do’ (released in 1962) and ‘Please Please Me’. The album contains the A and B sides of the first two singles.
The album was recorded in a 14-hour session – something that is unimaginable today. It is made up of 14 tracks, eight of which were originals. Interestingly, the original tracks were credited to McCartney/Lennon, something that was reversed on all future releases.
Key Songs on Please Please Me
The album starts with ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. Its upbeat rhythm with strong harmony singing set the stage for a revolution in British music (the band would remain unknown in American until the following year).
‘Do You Want to Know a Secret’ was given to Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas who had their first hit with the song. They were managed by Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein.
‘Boys’ is the first song to feature Ringo on lead vocal. It was performed live on many occasions and was released on Live at the Hollywood Bowl in 1977.
One of the album’s most famous tracks is the closing number, ‘Twist and Shout’. Not an original, it had previously been a hit for the Isley Brothers. More so than any other cover version, the Beatles made it their own. It was the last recorded for the album, as it was decided that John’s voice would only be able to handle one or two takes.
It was recorded in just one.
Beginnings of Beatlemania
The harmonies of John, Paul and George build up to a frantic scream. It was unlike anything else in pop music at the time and played a major role in the beginnings of Beatlemania.
The band performed it on the Royal Variety Show towards the end of the year. Before performing the song, John Lennon said to the audience: “We would like to ask those in the cheap seats to clap their hands; the rest of you can rattle your jewellery.”
American Version of Please Please Me
The American version of Please Please Me differed from the UK version. It was renamed The Early Beatles and had a different running order when it was released in early 1964.