Please Please Me

Please Please Me
Please Please Me
Studio album by The Beatles
Released 22 March 1963
Recorded 11 September & 26 November 1962, 11 & 20 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock, rock and roll
Length 32:45
Label Parlophone
Producer George Martin
The Beatles chronology
Please Please Me
With The Beatles

Please Please Me is the debut album by the 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" (number one on most lists but only number two on Record Retailer)[1] and "Love Me Do" (number 17).

Of the album's fourteen songs, eight were written by Lennon–McCartney, or McCartney–Lennon, early evidence of what Rolling Stone later called "[their invention of] the idea of the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments".[2]



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 am on Monday, 11 February 1963, 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).[3] In three sessions that day (each lasting approximately three hours) they produced an authentic representation of the band's Cavern Club-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.[4] Martin initially contemplated recording the album live at the Cavern in front of the group's home audience[5][6] and visited the Liverpool club on 9 December 1962 to consider the technicalities.[7][8][9] But when time constraints intervened, he decided to book them at EMI Studios in Abbey Road instead and record them virtually live. Martin said, "It was a straightforward performance of their stage repertoire — a broadcast, more or less."[10]

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."[4]

The song "Hold Me Tight" was recorded during these sessions, but was "surplus to requirements" and not included on the album.[4] "Hold Me Tight" was recorded again on 12 September 1963 for With The Beatles.[11]

The whole day's session cost around £400.[12] George Martin said: "There wasn't a lot of money at Parlophone. I was working to an annual budget of £55,000."[9] 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.[13]

Martin considered calling the album Off the Beatle Track before Please Please Me was released on Parlophone PCS 3042.[14]

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.[15] 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.


Please Please Me was released as an LP album on Parlophone in the UK on 22 March 1963, and has remained on UK catalogue continuously from 1963 to the present.

Release formats:

  • Vinyl (12") record (stereo and mono)
  • Reel-to-reel (3-3/4-ips) (mono) (paperbox)[deleted late 1960s]
  • Reel-to-reel (3-3/4-ips (mono)+(stereo)) (plastic boxes) [deleted mid-1970s]
  • 8-track tape (stereo) [deleted late 1970s]
  • Cassette tape (stereo) [deleted late 1990s]
  • CD (1987 version) (mono) [deleted 2009]
  • CD (remastered in 2009) (stereo and limited edition mono)
  • Digital Download (remastered in 2009) (stereo)

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

In New Zealand, the album first appeared only in mono on the black Parlophone label. The following year (1964) EMI(NZ) changed from black to a blue Parlophone label and the album was again available only in mono. Due to constant demand, it was finally made available in stereo, first through the World Record Club on their Young World label in both mono and stereo, and finally on the blue Parlophone label.

The album was released on CD on 26 February 1987 in mono, as were their three subsequent albums, With The Beatles, A Hard Day's Night and Beatles for Sale. It was not released on vinyl or tape in the US until five months later when it was issued for the first time in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987.[citation needed]

Please Please Me was remastered and re-released on CD in stereo, along with all the other original UK studio albums, on 9 September 2009.[16] The 2009 remasters replaced the 1987 remasters. A remastered mono CD was also available as part of the limited edition The Beatles in Mono box set.[17]

Sleeve notes

As consistent with all early 1960s albums made in the UK, the rear of the album sleeve has sleeve notes. The Beatles press officer Tony Barrow wrote extensive sleeve notes, which included a brief mention of their early 60s rivals The Shadows.

Album cover

Please Please Me by The Beatles (side 1) - Parlophone gold and black label

George Martin, a Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, owners of the London Zoo, 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 Square.[14] 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".[18] 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. Another unused photograph from the 1963 photo shoot was used for The Beatles (No. 1) (also released in 1963).


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[19]
BBC (favourable)[20]
Blender 2/5 stars[21]
Ultimate Guitar (9/10)[22]
Pitchfork Media (9.5/10)[23]
Q 3/5 stars[24]
The Telegraph 4/5 stars[25]
Consequence of Sound 4.5/5 stars[26]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[27]

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.[28]

In 2003, Rolling Stone magazine ranked the album number 39 on its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[29] 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 (The White Album) 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: number 139, "I Saw Her Standing There", and number 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".[30]

Track listing

All songs written by McCartney–Lennon, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "I Saw Her Standing There"   McCartney 2:54
2. "Misery"   Lennon and McCartney 1:49
3. "Anna (Go to Him)" (Arthur Alexander) Lennon 2:57
4. "Chains" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) Harrison 2:26
5. "Boys" (Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell) Starr 2:27
6. "Ask Me Why"   Lennon 2:26
7. "Please Please Me"   Lennon and McCartney 2:03
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Love Me Do"   McCartney and Lennon 2:23
2. "P.S. I Love You"   McCartney 2:04
3. "Baby It's You" (Mack David, Barney Williams, Burt Bacharach) Lennon 2:40
4. "Do You Want to Know a Secret"   Harrison 1:59
5. "A Taste of Honey" (Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow) McCartney 2:03
6. "There's a Place"   Lennon and McCartney 1:51
7. "Twist and Shout" (Phil Medley, Bert Russell) Lennon 2:37

Track listing per Calkin.[31]


According to Mark Lewisohn:[32]

The Beatles
Additional musicians and production

Chart positions

Chart Year Peak
UK Albums Chart[33] 1963 1

Release history

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 22 March 1963 Parlophone mono LP PMC 1202
stereo LP PCS 3042
United States 26 February 1987 Capitol Records Mono, LP C1 7 46435 1
Stereo LP
Worldwide re-release 9 September 2009 Apple Records Remastered stereo CD 0946 3 82416 2 1
Remastered mono CD
16 November 2010 iTunes Store Digital download of remastered stereo


  1. ^ MacDonald 1994, p. 46.
  2. ^ Rolling Stone 2007.
  3. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 24.
  4. ^ a b c Lewisohn 1988, pp. 24–26.
  5. ^ Norman 1993, p. 169.
  6. ^ MacDonald 1994, p. 59.
  7. ^ Harry 1992, p. 265.
  8. ^ Salewicz 1986, p. 129.
  9. ^ a b Q (magazine), pp. 36–38.
  10. ^ Martin & Pearson 1994, p. 77.
  11. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 36.
  12. ^ Harry 1992, p. 528.
  13. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 21.
  14. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988, p. 32.
  15. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 28.
  16. ^ Reuters 2009.
  17. ^ Aughton & Reuters 2007.
  18. ^ Martin & Pearson 1994, p. 121.
  19. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Beatles: Please Please Me > Review". Allmusic. 
  20. ^ Diver, Mike. "The Beatles Please Please Me Review". BBC. 
  21. ^ Du Noyer, Paul. "The Beatles: Please Please Me". Blender. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Ewing, Tom. "The Beatles: Please Please Me". Pitchfork Media. 
  24. ^ "Review: The Beatles Please Please Me". Q. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Pond, Steve. "The Beatles: Please Please Me". Rolling Stone. 
  28. ^ Apple Corps 2009.
  29. ^ Rolling Stone 2003.
  30. ^ Erlewine 2007.
  31. ^ Calkin 2001.
  32. ^ Lewisohn 1988.
  33. ^ "Chart Stats - The Beatles - Please Please Me". Retrieved 2 June 2011. 


External links

Preceded by
Summer Holiday (soundtrack) by Cliff Richard & The Shadows
UK Albums Chart number-one album
11 May – 30 November 1963
Succeeded by
With The Beatles by The Beatles

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