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Music / Please Please Me

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A pleasing album that will make you twist and shout!

Please Please Me is the debut studio album by The Beatles, released in 1963. It is best remembered for the hit singles "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me". Fan favourites such as "I Saw Her Standing There", "There's a Place" and the cover "Twist and Shout" are also present on this album.

It may or may not sound like it to modern ears, but no British band in 1963 had ever recorded anything this wild. Lemmy from Motörhead used to go and see the early Beatles, and he always considered them "the gear" and a better live band than The Rolling Stones.


Side One

  1. "I Saw Her Standing There" (2:54)
  2. "Misery" (1:50)
  3. "Anna (Go to Him)" (2:55)
  4. "Chains" (2:23)
  5. "Boys" (2:24)
  6. "Ask Me Why" (2:24)
  7. "Please Please Me" (1:59)

Side Two

  1. "Love Me Do" (2:23)
  2. "P.S. I Love You" (2:04)
  3. "Baby It's You" (2:40)
  4. "Do You Want to Know a Secret?" (1:59)
  5. "A Taste of Honey" (2:03)
  6. "There's a Place" (1:51)
  7. "Twist and Shout" (2:32)

Principal Members:

  • George Harrison - lead and backing vocals, guitar
  • John Lennon - lead and backing vocals, guitar, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney - lead and backing vocals, bass
  • Ringo Starr - lead vocals, drums, percussion, tambourine, maracas
  • Andy White - drums on "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" (uncredited)

I Saw Her Troping There:

  • Alliterative Title: "Please Please Me".
  • Break Up Song: "Misery"
    Send her back to me
    'Cause everyone can see
    Without her I will be in misery
  • Call-Back: Unintentional, since "Ask Me Why" was recorded a few months earlier, but the line "I can't conceive of any more...misery!" makes it feel like an Answer Song to "Misery".
  • The Cameo: Session drummer Andy White is featured in "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You". Ringo plays tambourine on "Love Me Do"†  and maracas on "P.S. I Love You".
  • Careful with That Axe: Lennon's screaming during "Twist & Shout", sang while he had a cold, by the way!
  • Counting to Three: Paul's "one, two, three, FOUR!" kicking off "I Saw Her Standing There".
  • Cover Version:
    • "Anna (Go to Him)" (originally recored by Arthur Alexander), "Chains" (first released version by The Cookiesnote ), "Boys" (a The Shirelles cover), "Baby It's You" (another Shirelles cover), "A Taste of Honey" (written for the Broadway production of the play of the same title, with the first released vocal version by Billy Dee Williams, of all people; he was in that Broadway production. The Beatles' take is based on the Lenny Welch rendition) and "Twist and Shout" (Covering Up a Covered Up song, with The Beatles covering The Isley Brothers, who themselves covered The Top Notes).
    • "Misery" has the distinction of being the first Beatles song to be covered, when British crooner Kenny Lynch did a version in 1963. Lynch was later one of the celebrities who appeared on the cover of Wings' Band on the Run.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: The cover of The Shirelles' "Boys" has a few lyrics changed so that Ringo has a female love interest, but he's still singing about "Boys".
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning: "A Taste of Honey" gets a happy ending here, or at least loses the "He ne'er came back to his love so fair..." verse.
  • Creator Cameo: Producer George Martin plays piano on "Misery" and celesta on "Baby It's You".
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: "I Saw Her Standing There", "Twist & Shout", about the joy of dancing with your loved one.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Note that the original songs on the album are credited to McCartney-Lennon. The credit order would be changed to Lennon-McCartney shortly thereafter, and remained so for the rest of the group's career.
  • Face on the Cover: A group shot of the band, photographed from below.
  • Henpecked Husband: "Chains"
    Chains. My baby has me locked up in chains!
    And they ain't the kind that you can see
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: In "Ask Me Why", the voice of the song is overwhelmed that he's in a relationship. So much that it makes him cry...
    If I cry, it's not because I'm sad
    But you're the only love that I've ever had;
    I can't believe it's happened to me...
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: "Anna (Go to Him)". The lyrics have the singer telling Anna to go to the man she loves more than him, but to please give back the ring first.
  • "I Want" Song: "Do You Want To Know A Secret?" is an inversion.
  • Lampshaded Double Entendre: "I Saw Her Standing There":
    Well she was just 17
    You know what I mean
    And the way she looked
    Was way beyond compare...
  • Live Album: The whole album was recorded live, with few overdubs, and is a pretty good reflection of the band's live sound in its early days. In fact, ten of the 14 songs were recorded in a single ten-hour session on February 11, 1963. The other four songs were the "Please Please Me" and "Love Me Do" singles, also recorded live with minimal overdubbing.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Misery," a Break-Up Song that sounds just like the Silly Love Songs that make up most of the album.
  • Manly Tears: The voice of "Ask Me Why", who cries because he cannot believe he's in a relationship...
    Now you're mine, my happiness still makes me cry
    And in time, you'll understand the reason why...
  • One-Woman Song: "Anna (Go to Him)".
  • One-Word Title: "Misery", "Chains", "Boys".
  • Painful Rhyme: "Anna (Go to Him)" requires the singer to pronounce "more" as "mo'", so that it rhymes with "so".
  • Pun-Based Title: "Please Please Me", a pun on the word "please" and the verb "to please".
  • Questioning Title?: "Do You Want To Know A Secret?"
  • Shout-Out: The bass riff from Chuck Berry's "Talkin' About You" inspired "I Saw Her Standing There".
  • Silly Love Songs: Virtually all the songs here fit this trope.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: George Harrison sings lead vocals on "Chains" and "Do You Want To Know A Secret?". Ringo Starr sings lead vocals on "Boys".
  • Transatlantic Equivalent:
    • Introducing...The Beatles on Vee-Jay Records, which is Please Please Me minus the title song and "Ask Me Why", but otherwise the exact same song sequence, was the first Beatles album released in America. It was originally supposed to be issued in July of 1963, but financial problems at Vee-Jay forced them to scrap the release. EMI, furious at the breach of contract, yanked Vee-Jay's Beatle rights. Then, when news of Capitol's impending Beatles promo campaign broke at the start of 1964, Vee-Jay decided to release the album, knowing they were going to get sued, but figuring they'd still clean up money-wise. It was competing directly with Capitol's With the Beatles retool Meet the Beatles, and "I Saw Her Standing There" was on both albums. A publishing dispute led Vee-Jay to drop "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" and reinstate "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" on reissue. Then Vee-Jay repackaged the album twice, as Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles and The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons, which simply repackaged Introducing...The Beatles and Golden Hits of The Four Seasons together in a cheesy Battle of the Bands framework.
    • After Capitol triumphed legally against Vee-Jay, they issued their own Please Please Me equivalent called The Early Beatles, but they decided not to include "Misery" or "There's a Place", consigning them to catalog 45 RPM singles releases until the Rarities album in 1980.
    • In Canada, there was Twist and Shout, which was actually the second Beatles album released there. On it, "She Loves You" and "From Me to You" replace "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Misery".
  • Working Through the Cold: John and Paul both had colds at the marathon February session, with John needing to suck on throat lozenges and drink milk to get through "Twist and Shout".note