Love Me Do

Love Me Do

Infobox Single
Name =Love Me Do

Cover size =
Border =
Caption =Original "Love Me Do" 45
Artist =The Beatles
Album =Please Please Me
B-side ="P.S. I Love You"
Released =5 October 1962
April 27, 1964 (USA)
Format =7" (1962, 1982)
CD, Digipak (1992)
Recorded =Abbey Road Studios:
6 June; 4, 11 September 1962
Genre =Beat
Length =2:22
Label =Parlophone R4949
Tollie 9008
Writer =Lennon/McCartney
Producer =George Martin
Audio sample? =
Certification =
Chronology =The Beatles UK singles
Last single =--
This single = "Love Me Do"
Next single = "Please Please Me"
Misc = Extra chronology 2
Artist =The Beatles US singles
Type =single
Last album ="Do You Want to Know a Secret"
This album ="Love Me Do"
Next album ="Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You)"
Extra tracklisting
Album =Please Please Me
Type =studio
Tracks =;Side one
# "I Saw Her Standing There"
# "Misery"
# "Anna (Go to Him)"
# "Chains"
# "Boys"
# "Ask Me Why"
# "Please Please Me";Side two
# "Love Me Do"
# "P.S. I Love You"
# "Baby It's You"
# "Do You Want to Know a Secret?"
# "A Taste of Honey"
# "There's a Place"
# "Twist and Shout"

"Love Me Do" is an early Lennon/McCartney song, principally written by Paul McCartney in 1958–59 while playing truant from school.cite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |title=The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia |year=1992 |pages=413] John Lennon wrote the middle eight.cite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |authorlink=Bill Harry |title=The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia |year=1992 |pages=413 |publisher=Virgin Books |location=London |isbn=0-86369-681-3] cite book |first=Barry |last=Miles |authorlink=Barry Miles |title=Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now |year=1997 |publisher=Henry Holt & Company |location=New York |isbn=0-8050-5249-6] cite web | url= | title=Please Please Me |work=Beatles Ultimate Experience: Songwriting & Recording Database |accessdate=2006-10-29] The song was The Beatles' first single, backed by "P.S. I Love You" and released on 5 October 1962. When the single was originally released in the UK, it peaked at number seventeen; in 1982 it was re-issued and reached number four. In the U.S. the single was a number one hit in 1964.

"Love Me Do" begins with bluesy harmonica played by John Lennon, then features Lennon and McCartney on joint lead vocals. McCartney sings the solo vocal line on the song's title phrase (and also its middle eight). Lennon had previously sung the title sections, but this change in arrangement was made in the studio under the direction of producer George Martin when the harmonica part was introduced, as Lennon then needed to resume playing it on the same beat as the "do" of "love me do".cite book |first=Ian |last=MacDonald |title=Revolution in the Head |year=1998 |pages=52] This is illustrative of the live characteristics of this particular session - as when a similar situation occurred on another session with “Please Please Me”, the harmonica was superimposed afterwards using tape-to-tape overdubbing.cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |title=The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=23]


"Love Me Do" was recorded by the Beatles on different occasions with three different drummers:
* The Beatles first recorded it on 6 June 1962 with Pete Best on drums, as part of their EMI audition at Abbey Road Studios in London.
* By 4 September, Best had been replaced with Ringo Starr (producer George Martin did not approve of Best's drumming), and on that day the Beatles with Starr recorded a version again at Abbey Road Studios.
* One week later, on 11 September, the Beatles returned to the same studio to discover that Martin was dissatisfied with Starr's drumming, and they made a recording of "Love Me Do" with session drummer Andy White on drums while Starr played tambourine. As the tambourine was not included on the 4 September recording, this is the easiest way to distinguish between the Starr and White recordings.

First issues of the single, however, did feature the Ringo Starr version, which was also included much later on the compilation albums "Rarities" and "Past Masters, Volume One". The Andy White version of the track was included on the Beatles' debut UK album, "Please Please Me", "The Beatles' Hits EP", and all subsequent album releases on which "Love Me Do" was included. For the 1976 single re-issue and the 1982 "20th Anniversary" re-issue, the Andy White version was used. The CD single issued on 5 October 1992 contains both versions. The Pete Best version remained unreleased until 1995, when it was included on the "Anthology 1" album.

"Love Me Do", featuring Starr drumming, was also recorded eight times at the BBC and played on the BBC radio programmes "Here We Go", "Talent Spot", "Saturday Club", "Side By Side", "Pop Go The Beatles" and "Easy Beat" between October 1962 and October 1963. The version of "Love Me Do" recorded on 10 July 1963 at the BBC and broadcast on the 23 July 1963 "Pop Go The Beatles" programme can be heard on the Beatles album "Live at the BBC". The Beatles also performed the song live on the 20 February 1963 "Parade of the Pops" BBC radio broadcast.

In 1969, during the Get Back sessions, the Beatles played the song in a slower, more bluesy form than they had in earlier recordings. This version of "Love Me Do" is one of many recordings made during these sessions and subsequently appeared on some bootlegs. The song featured no harmonica by Lennon, and McCartney sang the majority of the song in the same vocal style he used for "Lady Madonna".

Background information

On 4 September 1962, Brian Epstein paid for the group to fly down from Liverpool to London.cite book |first=Philip |last=Norman |title=Shout! |year=1993 |pages=154] They arrived at Abbey Road Studios in the early afternoon, where they set up their equipment in Studio 3cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |authorlink=Mark Lewisohn |title=The Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=18 |publisher=Harmony Books |location=New York |isbn=0-517-57066-1] and began rehearsing "Please Please Me", "Love Me Do" and a song originally composed for Adam Faith by Mitch Murray called "How Do You Do It?" that George Martin expected would be their first single.cite journal |last=Marsden |first=Gerry |authorlink=Gerry Marsden |title=Beatles Special |journal=Q Magazine |pages=36] To a large extent, George Martin had decided to sign the Beatles on the strength of their individual qualities: "It wasn't a question of what they could do [as] they hadn't written anything great at that time."cite journal |last=Marsden |first=Gerry |title=Beatles Special |journal=Q Magazine |pages=34] "But what impressed me most was their personalities. Sparks flew off them when you talked to them".cite book |first=Keith |last=Badman |title=The Beatles Off The Record |pages=40] The Beatles were keen to record their own material, but Martin felt that unless they could write something as commercial as "How Do You Do It?", then the Tin Pan Alley practice of having the group record songs by professional songwriters (which was the custom at the time) would be employed. During the course of an evening session (7pm to 10pm in Studio 2) they recorded "How Do You Do It" and "Love Me Do". "Please Please Me" was at this stage quite different to its eventual treatment and was dropped by Martin, which was a disappointment for the group, as they had hoped it would be the B-side to "Love Me Do".cite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |title=The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia |pages=528]

It was on the 4 September session that, according to McCartney, Martin suggested using a harmonica, presumably replacing a guitar phrase. However, Martin's own recollection of this is different, saying: "I picked up on 'Love Me Do' because of the harmonica sound", adding: "I loved wailing harmonica - it reminded me of the records I used to issue of Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. I felt it had a definite appeal."cite journal |last=Lewisohn |first=Mark |title=1000 Days Of Beatlemania |journal=Mojo Magazine |issue=Special Limited Edition |pages=28] John Lennon had learned to play a chromatic harmonica that his Uncle George (late husband of Aunt Mimi) had given to him as a child. But the instrument being used at this time was one stolen by Lennon from a music shop in Arnhem, the Netherlands, in 1960, as the Beatles first journeyed to Hamburg by road.cite book |first=Philip |last=Norman |title=Shout! |year=1993 |pages=78 |publisher=Penguin Books |location=London |isbn=0-14-017410-9] cite book |author=The Beatles |authorlink=The Beatles |title=The Beatles Anthology |year=2000|pages=45|publisher=Cassell & Co |location=London |isbn=0-304-35605-0] Lennon would have had this with him at the EMI audition, as Bruce Channel's "Hey Baby", a hit in the UK in March 1962, with its harmonica intro, was one of the 33 songs the Beatles had prepared. Brian Epstein had in fact booked American Bruce Channel to top a NEMS Enterprises promotion at New Brighton's Tower Ballroom on 21 June 1962, just a few weeks after "Hey Baby" had charted, with the Beatles a prestigious second on the bill. Lennon was particularly impressed with Channel's harmonica player, Delbert McClintoncite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |title=The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia |pages=147] and approached him later for advice on how to play the instrument.cite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |title=The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia |year=1992 |pages=414] The harmonica was to become a feature of the Beatles' early records such as "Love Me Do", "Please Please Me" and “From Me To You”. Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones asked Lennon in March of 1963 if Lennon was using a blues harp on "Love Me Do". Lennon replied "A harmonica...y'know, with a button!" and told Jones he used a chromatic.

George Martin came very close to issuing "How Do You Do It?" as the Beatles first single, before choosing "Love Me Do", as a mastered version was made ready for release, and which exists to this day.cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |title=The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages= 18] "I looked very hard at 'How Do You Do It?”, but in the end I went with 'Love Me Do', it was quite a good record” he would later say. McCartney: “We knew that the peer pressure back in Liverpool would not allow us to do 'How Do You Do It?'”.cite book |first=Barry |last=Miles |title=Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now |year=1992 |pages=83 ]

Martin then decided that as "Love Me Do" was going to be the group's debut single, it needed to be re-recorded, as he was unhappy with the original drum soundcite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |title=The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=20] and Abbey Road’s Ken Townsend recalls McCartney being dissatisfied with Starr’s timing.cite book |first=Ian |last=MacDonald |title=Revolution in the Head |year=1998 |pages=52 ] Producers then were used to hearing the bass drum "lock in" with the bass guitar as opposed to the much looser R & B feel that was just beginning to emerge, and so professional show band drummers were often used for recordings. Ron Richards, in charge for the 11 September re-recording session, booked Andy White, whom he had used in the past. Whether this solved the problem is unclear though as session engineer Norman Smith was to comment: “It was a real headache trying to get a [good] drum sound, and when you listen to the record now you can hardly hear the drums at all”.cite book |first=Brian |last=Southall |title= Abbey Road. The story of the world’s most famous recording studios|year=1982 |pages=83|publisher=Patrick Stephens|location=London |isbn=0-85059-810-9] George Martin has since said that he never intended to slight either Best or Starr by employing a session drummer.cite book |first=Keith |last=Badman |title=The Beatles Off The Record |pages=41]

"P.S. I Love You" was recorded first; initially it was a contender for the A-side but was ruled out as there was another song with the same title by Peggy Lee.cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |title=The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=20] On this Starr was asked to play the maracas. "Love Me Do" was then recorded with White playing drums and Starr on tambourine. However, early pressings of the single are the 4 September version—minus tambourine—with Starr playing drums. But later pressings of the single, and the version used for the "Please Please Me" album, are the 11 September re-record with Andy White on drums and Starr on tambourine. This difference has become fundamental in telling the two recordings of "Love Me Do" apart. Regarding the editing sessions that then followed all these various takes, Ron Richards remembers the whole thing being a bit fraught, saying: “Quite honestly, by the time it came out I was pretty sick of it. I didn’t think it would do anything”.cite book |first=Chris |last=Salewicz |title=McCartney-The Biography |year=1986 |pages=135 |publisher=Queen Anne Press |location=London |isbn=0-356-124541-1]

*In his bestselling 2006 biography of the group, "The Beatles: The Biography" (ISBN 0316013315), Bob Spitz rehashed an old story that manager Brian Epstein tried to help make "Love Me Do" a hit in England by buying 10,000 copies of the single for his Liverpool record store. This story had been told previously in several other Beatles-related books, but has never been verified.
*There are only two Lennon & McCartney songs that John Lennon's estate and Paul McCartney wholly own: "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You". This is because until Dick James had set up their own publishing company, Northern Songs, EMI had placed the Beatles' first two (released) recordings with their own in-house publishers "Ardmore and Beechwood".cite book |first=Barry |last=Miles |title=Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now |year=1992 |pages=37 ] Brian Epstein, however, was dissatisfied with the lack of promotion EMI gave the single, and through George Martin (who later declined an offer, on ethical grounds, by Brian Epstein of a percentage of Northern Songs)cite book |first=Bill |last=Harry |title=The Ultimate Beatles Encyclopedia |pages=437] was introduced to ex-singer Dick James, whom Martin had once produced. Later, Lennon and McCartney were able to buy back ownership of these two titles which have always remained separate from Lennon & McCartney's main catalogue of material.

* #1 on US charts (30 May, 1964), Top 100 for 14 weeks.

Ron Richards

There are major discrepancies regarding the Andy White session, and who actually produced it. In his book "Summer of Love" George Martin concedes that his version of events differs from some accounts, saying: "On the 6 June Beatles' session (audition) I decided that Pete Best had to go [and said to Epstein] I don't care what you do with Pete Best; but he's not playing on any more recording sessions. I'm getting a session drummer in."cite book |first=George |last=Martin |authorlink=George Martin |coauthors=Pearson, William |title=Summer of Love |pages=143] When Ringo Starr turned up with the group for their first proper recording session on 4 September, Martin says that he was totally unaware that the Beatles had fired Best. And, not knowing "how good bad or indifferent" Starr was, was not prepared to "waste precious studio time finding out." Martin, therefore, has this as the Andy White session in which Martin was present, and not 11 September. This definitely contradicts Mark Lewisohn's account, as in his book "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions", he has Starr on drums on 4 September and White for the 11 September re-make.cite book |first=Mark |last=Lewisohn |title=The Beatles Recording Sessions |year=1988 |pages=20] Lewisohn also says that Ron Richards was in charge on 11 September, which means, if accurate, that Richards was sole producer of the Andy White version of "Love Me Do". George Martin says: "My diary shows that I did not oversee any Beatles recording sessions on 11 September - only the one on 4 September." But, if Lewisohn's account is correct and "the 4 September session really hadn't proved good enough to satisfy George Martin," it might seem odd that Martin was not then present for the 11 September re-make.

Missing master tape

No original master tapes of the 4 September version of "Love Me Do" are known to exist. Standard procedure at Abbey Road Studios at the time was to erase the original two-track session tape once it had been "mixed down" to the (usually monaural) master tape used to press records. This was the fate of the session tape for "Love Me Do" as well as several other early Beatles songs from 1962–63. However, at some point the mixdown master tape for this song was also lost, and apparently no backup copies had been made—thus, for many years the only extant recorded copies were the red label Parlophone 45 rpm vinyl records pressed in 1962.

By the time the tapes had disappeared, the song's 11 September 1962 remake featuring Andy White had been released. EMI would not have been too concerned about the loss of the 4 September take, therefore, as it was now considered obsolete, and they may not have anticipated ever having any use for it again anyway.

Around 1980, a reasonably clean, original 45 from EMI's archives was used as the "best available source" for the track's inclusion on the Capitol compilation LP "Rarities". A few years later, a new master tape was struck, this time using another, better-sounding 45 supplied by a record collector, and this has served as the official EMI master tape for the original "Love Me Do" ever since.


In 1972, Lennon commented, cquote|Paul wrote the main structure of this when he was sixteen, or even earlier. I think I had something to do with the middle.

In 1982, McCartney remarked, cquote|In Hamburg we clicked... At the Cavern we clicked... but if you want to know when we "knew" we'd arrived, it was getting in the charts with 'Love Me Do'. That was the one. It gave us somewhere to go.

Similarly Starr in 1976 enthused, cquote|The first record, 'Love Me Do', for me that was more important than anything else. That first piece of plastic. You can't believe how great that was. It was so wonderful. We were on a record!


On the single version:
*John Lennon – harmonica, joint lead vocal
*Paul McCartney – bass, joint lead vocal
*George Harrison – electric guitar
*Ringo Starr – drums

On the "Please Please Me" version:
*John Lennon – harmonica, joint lead vocal
*Paul McCartney – bass, joint lead vocal
*George Harrison – electric guitar
*Ringo Starr – tambourine
*Andy White – drums

On the "Anthology 1" version:
*John Lennon – harmonica, joint lead vocal
*Paul McCartney – bass, joint lead vocal
*George Harrison – electric guitar
*Pete Best – drums

Recording and Mixing Details

*6 June 1962: An unknown amount of takes recorded for what was most likely an artist test.
*4 September 1962: 15 takes recorded. Mono mixing of the song from an unknown take number.

Cover versions

"Love Me Do" has been covered by (among others):
*Bobby Vee on his 1964 album, "30 Big Hits from the 60s"
*Dick Hyman on his 1964 album, "Keyboard Kaleidoscope"
*The Chipmunks on their 1964 album, "The Chipmunks sing the Beatles Hits"
*Sandie Shaw on her 1969 album, "Reviewing the Situation"
*Ringo Starr on his 1998 album, "Vertical Man"
*Flaco Jiménez on his 2000 album, "Sleepytown"
*Madooo on his 2002 album, "This Day Is Forever"
*The Persuasions on their 2002 album, "The Persuasions Sing the Beatles"
*Emmerson Nogueira on his 2004 album, "Beatles"
*David Bowie covered "Love Me Do" in some of his Ziggy Stardust tours.
*Ol' Dirty Bastard briefly sings the chorus in the documentary Dirty Minded.



External links

* [ Alan W. Pollack's Notes on "Love Me Do"]
* [ The Beatles Bible: Love Me Do]
*Hey! Baby's influence on the song on []
* [ Listing for "Love Me Do" at "The Complete Guide to The Beatles' Instruments"]
* [ Listing for "Love Me Do" at "Steve's Beatles Page"]
* [ Song-by-Song Listing for "Love Me Do"]
* [ What harmonica did John Lennon use to play the intro to "Love Me Do" and other songs by The Beatles?]

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