Customer Review

97 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless classic which reshaped history, 11 July 2005
This review is from: Please Please Me (Audio CD)
Why would you need to read a review of a Beatles' album? If you've been a fan for many years, you know exactly what you want and exactly what you're getting. If you're coming to them new, do you really want a potted history of this particular recording, locating its place in the band's development?
I don't listen to Beatles music for a cerebral or spiritual experience, nor to be able to impress anyone with the fact that I can pinpoint when and where they recorded that track - George was recovering from an in-growing toenail, Ringo had just bought a new set of drumsticks. I listen to the Beatles for the emotions I've nurtured over forty years of more. So can I convince you that my passion for a particular album or track will parallel yours? Of course not!
For me, the excitement generated by the Beatles is something I grew up with. I was thirteen when they had their first hit. The first records I ever bought were by the Beatles. I joined the Fan Club. I covered my walls in photos. I was threatened with expulsion from school because of the length of my hair. I even managed, as a teenager in a small Scottish town, to obtain copies of 'Merseybeat' - the Liverpool music paper. It says something about the dynamism of the 60's that Liverpool could have its own music paper (this was way before desktop publishing, the Internet, etc.).
"Please Please Me" was released in March, 1963, and was the Beatles first album ("With the Beatles" would follow). Inspired by the title song reaching number one in the charts, the LP was famously based on their current stage act - compare and contrast these studio recordings with the live version available on the unofficial, "Live at the Star Club" offerings.
These were the days when bands played live: they grew up on the circuit, playing pubs, clubs, and dives, hoping to establish enough of a fan base to secure a recording contract ... and a chance to record someone else's song, maybe cover an already successful US hit.
But the Beatles broke out of this restrictive process. "Please Please Me" combines cover versions of standards with numbers written by Lennon and McCartney, and marks their growing confidence as songwriters.
That was the dynamic attraction of the Beatles. Their music was - remains - raw and exciting. There was something liberating about it. Here were ordinary lads from Liverpool who could write their own stuff, not depend on professional songwriters to grind out hits for them. There was an immediacy about their words. This was the decade when the first working class kids were making their way to university. It was an age of sensed meritocracy and upward mobility. The Beatles were flying the banner for the triumph of talent over elitism, for the victory of regional accents over the sterile BBC English we were normally fed. And the Beatles had seized the baton from the USA and were now setting the cultural initiative for the rest of the world to follow.
And I knew all this at school. My mother sent me to an all boys school. I'd noticed girls. There were a couple I passed every morning who I really noticed. But I'd never talked to one! And here were the Beatles. You could imagine dancing with some mini skirted lassie in the sweaty din of the Cavern Club. These were songs of love and lust, of energy and passion, of time and place.
That's the significance of Beatles music. For a generation, it changed their world. For the future of pop, it set new standards and directions. And for the individual, it established patterns of memories and emotions which are still alive to this day.
The music of the Beatles inscribes a unique history for every fan. Songs which you associate with someone or somewhere special, songs you associate with laughter, pain, love, despair, loss or triumph, songs which provide the punctuation marks to your own life's narrative. Few other artists have come close to this.
"Please Please Me" established a yardstick for the quality of recording: here are songs which have a beat, which are well sung and provide dynamic bass lines, but they are also songs with passion and depth, songs which elevate your spirits and make you feel positive. Still melodically simple, but embodying a universal sentiment, the songs on "Please Please Me" lack artifice or pretence that they are by anyone else but the Beatles. This is assertive music, music with personality. And it's timeless.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 14 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Jun 2008 19:24:56 BDT
P. Mcshane says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on 11 Aug 2008 02:25:54 BDT
Bill Peter says:
They were also innocent days. Imagine someone (Gary Glitter?) singing "she was just seventeen, you know what I mean today!! They'd be locked up.

Posted on 7 Sep 2008 18:22:39 BDT
Markz10 says:
"Inspired by the title song reaching number one in the charts..."

Actually, it didn't. Or it did, depending on which charts you wish to refer to. I'm sure most Beatles fans are familiar with the controversy surrounding the chart position of 'Please Please Me' (the single), and because of the "official" chart placing, it has left a huge gap in the '1' album, which also omitted 'Strawberry Fields'. They should have made that release a double-disc set. Or better still, they could have just stuck with the old red and blue albums and left it at that.

Posted on 22 Jan 2010 13:14:34 GMT
Bubba says:
I think this is a great review, entertaining in its own right. Have you thought of doing this for a living?

In reply to an earlier post on 20 Sep 2010 10:59:32 BDT
17 has always been legal?

Posted on 12 Nov 2010 14:21:24 GMT
Tumshie Heid says:
I really enjoyed this review. I'm going to print it off and include it with the dvd which I've just bought as a present for a teenager who likes to analyse his music.

Posted on 1 Feb 2011 23:48:16 GMT
You are getting a fan club of your own here, and well deserved too. What a great review, my hair is on end now as I am writing this. Keep up the good work, squire. 5 Stars. ( and 1 Star Club! )

Posted on 5 Jun 2012 12:03:46 BDT
Ninkynonk says:
Just to echo what some others have commented about the quality of this review - it is informative and affecting and worthy of being included in the sleeve notes of the album (or on the back of the original LP jacket!). I'll be looking for your reviews on other Beatle albums - the only downside is that I don't think I'll have the courage to add reviews myself after reading yours.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jul 2012 04:04:08 BDT
In some countries & states therein!

But dig:

Posted on 6 Mar 2013 07:37:27 GMT
nice review actually
I have a background of collecting albums although due to financial problems and getting pretty stuck up on collecting I now focus on studying theology have sold many of my albums I used to own, nice reference to the early days, aint she sweet was the first beatles song i properly heard in school in sixth grade, and I so much adore the Late Swami Probhu Sharan know earlier as Tony Sheridan, this man had routine and professionalism, although during becoming religous in the sanyasin group of hinduism he in later years decided to focus more on spirituallity, Oh how I looked up to him. when I heard of his passing I also found out there existed one rare later year concert where he performend a legendary song written by him and J.P macca, although it was never recorded I had only read about it in interviews. for me the Polydor recordings are definition of bone fide happy go lucky rock n roll Beatles eagerness and unfettered enthusiasm is balanced by Swamis routine and professionalism, not diffucult to see why Harrison has said All I learned of rock n roll I learned from Sheridan, or why Paul McCartney insists on calling Swami 'Teacher'. Please Please Me is some what a traditional album for me, it is more pop and polished production than Polydor Era material, Kaempferts experienced production and aim to capture them as natural as possible is not there and Sir george Martin is the producer now up until Phil spector took the reigns. Pete Best(the reason I took up drumming) has left and become band leader for Pete Best four at decca, although he did perform on the first session that secured the EMI CONTRACT, the bluesy love me do with for nervous lads, has changed in form into a song refined in a different style with starkley and white keeping beat instead on Martins advice.

For me, I admit I am more of a Sheridan fan than a beatles fan but together they where great, there is just something special that was never really captured when the conctract with Kaempfert was absolved and they became a house band for EMI under Martin, Beatles for Sale however has more moments resembling those days such as Everybody's trying to be my baby and Words of Love, and Please please me has some moments as well for me it primaly songs like a taste of Honey and so on, but as the original compositions go, I take Harrisons Cry for Shadow over anyone of these tunes, that tune really had bliss, and was the first song i learnt playing properly on drums, I guess its about what one can relate to and listening to please please me, I miss part of the bliss, I miss the worry free dynamic of Petes easygoing style and most of all I miss Swami, who once was offered by george to join the band full time but declined due to engagement to star club.

Here is my review of Please Please Me
(if you like this album I want to recommend Beatles Bop Hamburg days once upon a time in Germany and Tony Sheridan 1962 LP My Bonnie or Pete Best Combos collection 1964-1966. Why not try George Harrisons debut album wonderwall 1968? and speaking of this album makes me think of Oasis, which is one of my absolute favourites in Pop)
the rating is 3 out of 5, please report back to me and tell me what you think.

A review of the Beatles first album on their own, released on the Emi labels (then) very little branch named, Parlophone (which would later in the 90´s be the record base for the magnificent Supergrass)

This album is of course and will perhaps always be looked upon as that legendary album that was recorded so fast.
However dear readers, what I would want to bring forth here is that, this does not however make it a magnificent album. I'm not saying that an album cannot be made in one or two days... McCartney later did this for his soviet LP in the 80´s and it was a magnificent rock n roll punch.

This recording however is not a glimpse at the Beatles in a direct swinginly down to the bone rock n roll experiences, and it's not the start of rock n roll history either, either for the Beatles, nor anyone else

However there are some pretty swinging moments, and it keeps a quite good all-round level, although, I could never consider this as the same direct, rock n roll glimpse that was so neatly captured, on the polydor recordings for Keampfert, where he captured them with no hazzle
This is George martin however, cutting a pop and pep record by guys in neat suits, and it quite all right I guess.

Ringo is a newcomer on this album on drums, was never really my style though, he always seems to try to splash and crash more or do something that is not at all as jammy
as Pete's jamming

Other than that it's the regular Beatle line up with George on lead guitar (which he is great at) John on harmonica (which is in fact rather groovy at) & rhythm guitar (which he is, not that good but a bit jammy at) and Paul on bass Guitar (well, well)

It kicks of with I Saw her standing there a rather good tune in fact, that features Paul on lead and is a good opening performance for an album, its straight forward, and no hassle which is good, its just that it perhaps doesn't have the jammin edge that it could have had. (note: was also attempted in a "in the rough take by Finland rockabilly rollers "the Hurriganes" in rather amusing fashion, at a much later date)

We all know that Lennon and McCartney (or McCartney/Lennon as they are credited on this album.) had an obvious flare and a talent to write songs. And of course the majority of their songs here include, all the ingredients, songs usually are due to include, and they are well listenable and all. But not all of them are that exciting, but then again there are no skippers either. (Why wasn't Like dreamers do included on this, or why wasn't some more space given to George, who had previously penned the magnificent "cry for a shadow ")

There are also some jamming covers included, which is nice. Baby its you is a nice swingin ballad( in the same veins of a earlier track of the disc, Anna with both good backing vocals and a nice delivered lead vocal. The actual rhythm of the song is quite groovy too, and it might seem a bit boring at times it's catchy and well done.

I personally think that the albums actual high point may be the Paul McCartney delivered, the waltz and twist driven rather folksy edged rock n roll ballad A Taste of Honey which is features some fine picking and fine backing too, its swings on so too speak in its mellow little mood.
The albums title track please please me is a good one too nice good direct rock n roll swing thing with tight backing, and is far more exciting, and more driven, than the perhaps more commercially famous "love me do"(which exists in three versions with this being a thigh pop take which is well done but boring compared to the EMI 1962 Audition track in a more jammy bluesy rough manner, with Pete Best on drums.. however this song in general, regardless of its three versions with three different drummers is not really that amazing in any case, but its catchy, perhaps that's why it got number 1.)

I think misery form Lennon, originally written for Cilla black, is an underrated little swingin number with interesting melody, that starts of slow.
I consider that john got way much raving about from everyone for his delivering of Twist and Shout which is not really THAT amazing, although a good swinging track his voice is not that fulfilling, I think. (The searchers would record this song for their debut as well, and it's more of my taste).

Harrison gets a solo vocal spot in do you want to know a secret and it's a fine number, a swingin, yet a bit sombre twisting number with some catchy backing, (however its need to be said that Billy J Kramer's reading of this song, despite the lack of sombre feel and catchy backing, he was the one that got it really twisting.)

Well I could keep on mentioning these songs track by track but I don't really see the point since the songs very much keep the same level (more or less.)

Well yeah I would like to put in a vote for ask me why being a fine little tune, although I still consider the BBC cut from June 62 with Pete at the seat, had more direct swing to it.

And in fact Ringos number is quite good on this, although I don't have a great passion for Ringo as a drummer nor as a singer, his deliverance of the rock n roll standard "boys" is a pretty good swingin romp in the veins of (very much) ray Charles "what I'd Say"
It features some amusing backing too.

All in all this is an album rated three, and its not because of the lack of Lennon and McCartney tunes(heh its rather the opposite) it's an okay easy listenable album that perhaps shouldn't be overlooked but not overrated either. And as for this being a significant album for its fast recording in one or two days, all I have to say is that so was the Beatles Polydor recordings, they where not as many, and not issued as a full-length album. But to me they were finer testaments of the Beatles at a rock n roll peak.
This album is rather well done, but more of a well done trendsetter than a well done Rock n Roll record

the title track is pretty neat though
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