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Please Please Me is the debut 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 singles "Please Please Me" (#1 on most lists but only #2 on Record Retailer) and "Love Me Do." (#17).

Of the album's fourteen songs, eight were written by Lennon/McCartney, early evidence of what Rolling Stone later called "[their invention of] the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments."

Recording

In order for the album to contain fourteen songs (the norm for British 12" vinyl pop albums at that time was to have seven songs on each side, while American albums usually had only five or six songs per side) ten more tracks were needed to add to the four sides of their first two singles recorded and released previously. Therefore, at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, 11 February, 1963 at EMI Studios (whose name was later changed to Abbey Road Studiosmarker), The Beatles and George Martin started recording what was essentially their live act in 1963, and finished 585 minutes later (9 hours and 45 minutes). In three sessions that day (each lasting approximately three hours) they produced an authentic representation of the band's Cavern Clubmarker-era sound, as there were very few overdubs and edits. Optimistically, only two sessions were originally booked by Martin—the evening session was added later. George Martin initially contemplated recording the album live at the Cavern in front of the group's home audience and visited the Liverpoolmarker club on 9 December 1962 to consider the technicalities. But when time constraints intervened, he decided to book them at Abbey Road Studiosmarker instead and record them virtually live. Martin said, "It was a straightforward performance of their stage repertoire — a broadcast, more or less."

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, captured first take, and generally regarded as a classic, 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."

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. George 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 seven pounds and ten shillings (£7.50) session fee for each three hour session.

Martin considered calling the album Off the Beatle Track before Please Please Me was released on Parlophone PCS 3042.

Please Please Me was recorded on a two-track BTR tape recording machine, with most of the instrumentation on one track and the vocals on the other, allowing for a better balance between the two on the final quarter-inch tape mix-down in mono. A stereo mix was made at the same time as the mono mix, 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. This was common practice for playback on stereo consoles, but has a dramatic effect when listening with headphones.

Release

Please Please Me was released as an LP album in the UK on 22 March 1963 on Parlophone.

In the US, most of the songs on Please Please Me were first issued on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing The Beatles in 1964, and then subsequently on Capitol Records' The Early Beatles in 1965. The unexpurgated Please Please Me was not released in the US until the Beatles catalog was standardized for CD.

The album was released on compact disc on 26 February 1987, along with three other early Beatles albums (With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, and Beatles for Sale), all in mono only. It was not released on vinyl or tape in America until five months later, when it was issued for the first time in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987.

A newly remastered version of Please Please Me, along with all the other original UK studio albums, was re-released on CD on 9 September 2009 in both stereo and mono editions. The 2009 remaster replaces the infamously poor quality 1987 remasters.

Reception

Please Please Me hit the top of the UK album charts in May 1963 and remained there for thirty 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 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 39 on its 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 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: #139, "I Saw Her Standing There", and #184, "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".

Album cover and label

George Martin, a fellow of London Zoomarker, 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 Zoological Society of London 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 Squaremarker. 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.

Please Please Me was released when Parlophone were in the process of changing their label design. The very first pressings of the LP are the only The Beatles LPs that have the gold and black Parlophone label (gold writing on a black background). This version is highly sought after by collectors and the stereo version (as stereo was a very niche market at the time) is even more so. The next Please Please Me LP label had a yellow and black Parlophone LP label (black with yellow writing) which Parlophone would use until 1969. Later labels are usually black with silver writing and with either one or two EMI boxed logos. The gold on black stereo label was recreated on CD in 2009 for the remastered release of this album which is also in The Beatles Stereo Box Set.

Track listing

Personnel

According to Mark Lewisohn:

The Beatles


Additional musicians and production


Notes

References



External links




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