on 11 July 2005
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.
Judged by the standards they set in the mid-sixties, this is not a great Beatles album, yet it is far superior to anything most of their rivals could ever hope to achieve. As such, it (like all Beatles albums) comfortably deserves five stars.
Like all the early Beatles albums, this one contains several covers – six in this case. The three best are Baby it's you (Shirelles), Twist and shout (Isley brothers) and A taste of honey. Twist and shout became a UK top ten hit for Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, the group that Decca signed in preference to the Beatles.
The album's title track became the first major Beatles hit. The chart that is now generally regarded as the standard UK chart (and published in the Guinness book of British hit singles) registers a peak position of 2, but back in the early sixties there were three other charts and all of those gave a peak position of 1. No chart was regarded then as being more reliable than the others, so most connoisseurs regard Please please me as the first Beatles chart-topper.
Three of the other seven originals stand out. I saw her standing there opens the album and was presumably considered for singles release. Do you want to know a secret was covered by Billy J Kramer and the Dakotas and provided them with their first major pop hit. Love me do was the debut single for the Beatles, making the UK top twenty at the time, though it would make the top five when re-released in the eighties.
This is not the best place to begin a Beatles collection but it is a great album in its own way and is required listening for all true Beatles fans.
on 2 June 2008
I have been into the Beatles since my 11th birthday in 1982. Since then I have amassed a huge collection of records,books, fan club newsletters, etc. Please Please Me was just about the first or second album I initially got to hear. I just liked the fact that it was energetic, full of life. Simple, without any need to go all serious.
However, now I know a few things, the record can only be judged as a success. Given the fact that the Beatles were touring constantly, John had a pretty bad cold, Ringo had only joined the previous August, it's a great record. The other factor that gives this album a higher score is the fact that ten of the fourteen tracks were recorded in one day, on 11th February 1963.
The songs themselves are good. I know it's not generally thought as a good song, but I love 'Love Me Do' - though it's the Andy White version that I find works best. Another song of note is 'Misery', the close harmonies are great and understated. Despite all the hurray in later years about the mania and revolution they created, their music was their only true means of expression. It was what they were best at. 'There's A Place' is another great little song, the lyrics had a little bit more meaning than most of the songs they were writing at this stage (mainly songs were written as if it was to a girl, or love, etc). 'Ask Me Why' is a great arrangement, showing that they knew their stuff well, and its' arrangement is perfect.
There's little point in giving any more views on these songs, if you don't have the album by now, I suggest you get it, and all the rest. Listen to the remarkable progression and industriousness. This album stayed at number 1 for 29 weeks, only to be replaced by the group's second album, 'With The Beatles', which kept the top spot for a further 21 weeks. Just think about that for a minute.
This is the first sight of the shimmering and brilliant story of four magical lads who really did shake the world.
on 14 March 2002
Recorded in a mammoth 24 hour recording session, Please Please Me introduced the world to those 'loveable' moptops. The amazing thing is that 4 years later they were 'grinding' (sgt)pepper which took over 6 months to record. Essentially an album of their live set, please please me took the pop world and turned it on its head. My personal favourite is Twist and Shout which was deliberately recorded last (lennon wanted his voice raw) and stands out as one of the best cover versions of a song..however 'I saw here standing there' by McCartney IS one of the greatest Rock N Roll songs ever released.
Without a doubt one of the greatest rock n roll albums ever made.
on 4 January 2011
Please please me is The Beatles debut album, released on march 22nd 1963. Recorded at the famous EMI studio at Abbey Road and published by parlophone records, the album was some what rushed out in order to cash in on the release of The Beatles first two singles, Love me do (which reached 17 in the uk charts) and Please Please me (no.1 in the uk charts).
With the majority of songs being penned by John Lennon and Paul Mcartney, as well as them playing their own instruments alongside George Harrison and Ringo Star, the band aimed to be self contained.
On a cold February morning in 1963, the fab four pulled up at Abbey Road and so began the recording of their first album. 9 hours and 45 minutes later they walked out finished, 3 three hour sessions took place in which The Beatles ran through their live set Which they had fine tuned from their time at the Cavern Club, (where they were discovered two years earlier) aiming to recreate the atmosphere of the show and put themselves out as a performing band rather than just a singing one.
During the day of the recording it was obvious that John was suffering from a bad cold and so the recording of Twist and Shout was pushed back to last, as the producers feared the harsh vocals would rip up John's voice. Hold me tight was also recorded but was deemed unneeded and so was moved onto The Beatles second album.
The album went straight to the top of the charts and remained there for 30 weeks before being pushed off the top spot by The Beatles second album, With the Beatles. The album was the start of the Beatles attraction we've come to know and the adolescent love songs and live feel really gave the album a special feel.
The opening track is I saw her standing there. Originally a B side to I want to hold your hand which reached no.14 in the uk charts, it was initially titled "seventeen" after it's opening lyrics "she was just seventeen, if you know what I mean". The song was conceived by Paul on the way home from a Beatles concert and was played against the bass riff of Chuck Berrys "talking about you". Interestingly and maybe showing the stage The Beatles were at, the lyrics were written down in an old Liverpool institute school book which Paul had lying around. The song begins with a count in, which worked well with the idea of keeping a live feel to the album.
The up beat guitar rhythm and hand clapping make it a song you can't help but tap your foot too, lyrically it's just the story of a guy at a party and spotting a girl across the room and going on the have a pretty good time. Vocally it does edge more towards talking than singing, but it's clear and there's still a melody. The lyrics stick and are quite catchy so as a opening track it does give a good summary of what The Beatles are about.
Misery was written specifically for singer, Helen Shapiro backstage before one of her gigs. The song revolves around the adolescent feelings that the world is against you in love. The song is stop-start and the lyrics work well, all beit with a sometimes overbearing self pity and selfish feel.The vocals aren't as harmonising as expected, the instruments have a good feel but the piano playing is more suited to a country western saloon and so brings down the qaulity of what is a personal song.
Anna (go to him) is a cover origionally sung by Arthur Alexander.It features some cool guitar work and a strong melancholy feel making it an interesting song to listen to. The proggression of the song is good as it grows and drops back in all the right places to bring passion and emotion into the lyrics. The song is about a man giving up his love for a women so that she can go and be happy with another man, strangely this is a song where Lennons cold is really evident and yet it adds to the feel of the song and the difficulty of letting go. Steady drum work keeps the pace and whilst they are prominent it doesn't take away from the lyrics.
Chains is another cover of husband and wife duo, Gerry Coffin and Carol King. Lennon's harmonica intro doesn't fit well and it's downhill from there as the whole song feels out of place on the album, it's a depressing song but lacks any emotional feel from the vocals. This is one of the more forgettable songs from the album.
Boys was written by Luther Dixon and Wes Farrell. This is a much needed return to the up beat to get the album back on track. Thrown in are lots of "bop bop shoo wops" and it's meant to have that young, 60's America feel. The song was slightly controversial to some as it was The Beatles singing about kissing boys, however this didn't bother Paul who said in an interview that "we never listened, it's just a great song, that's one of the things about youth, we don't give a s***,I love the innocence of those days". Whilst traditionally the drummers solo song at the Cavern club for The Beatles, the guitar featured has a strong American influence and flows well.
Ask me why is the B side to Please Please Me. A repetitive song which seems unsure of it's pace and the backing resembles what many would class as elevator music. Lyrically it isn't anything special and just isn't a stand out track.
Please Please Me is the headline track. Starting off as a blues slow tempo song it went through many developments until George Martin (The Beatles Producer)decided it sounded right, the songs tempo was increased in order to fit the style of the rest of the album and a guitar section was also put in. 18 takes were used and Martin predicted that it would be the Beatles first hit, vocally there's good harmonising and a nice pace.
Love me do was written by Paul in 1958 whilst skipping school and was the Beatles first single. A simple chord rotation and a dry harmonica fill the beginnings of the song, the lyrics stay in your head and it makes you want to move. It's the classic Beatles song of that time, good vocal work between Paul and John stands out and a near missable "hey hey" pushes the live feel.
P.S I love you was release on the 5th October 1962 as a B side to Love me do. On the original recording George Martin brought in a session drummer named Andy White to replace the then Beatles drummer Pete Best who wasn't seen as good enough for recording, however , unknown to Martin. Best had already been kicked out of the band and replaced by new man Ringo Starr who was left playing maracas for the song. Written on a tour of Hamburg and allegedly for Paul's then girlfriend Dot Rhone, the song is based around a love letter. It's a little slow but has some movement, lyrically it has some nice imagery and builds well into the chorus. Personally I'm not a fan of the harmonising on the last sections of the chorus because it feels like there pushing the rest of the band in to what's a relatively solo Mcartney performance.
Baby it's you is a cover of a Burt Bacarach and Barney Williams song. Slow paced and quick talking, the "sha la la's" give it a generic early 60's vibe. Repetitive lyrics and strong vocals from John make it an easy to listen to song. The instruments have a simple rhythm and it's nice to hear George Martin getting involved with a nice solo section on the celesta.
Do you want to know a secret is inspired by "I'm wishing" from snow White, which Johns mother sung to him as a child. It's also the first top ten Beatles song to have George Harrison as the lead vocals, losing his voice only slightly in a "oooh" section it's a solid performance. Whilst starting off slow and a sombre, the guitar soon kicks in to give an injection of pace but an easy chord drop means it's more emphasis towards the vocal side than the instruments In This track.
A taste of honey is a cover of a theme for a show of the same name by Bobby Scott and Ric Martin. It's a strange song which wouldn't seem out of place in The Beatles later albums like Magical Mystery Tour. Theirs some great pieces in it for the guitar and drums as it's originally an instrumental song. it's hard work vocally but not a bad attempt and it's soon forgotten with the final two tracks.
There's a place is the B side to Twist and Shout. Inspired by "Somewhere" from west side story, the place in the song refers to the mind so it's a slight side step from The Beatles usual songs about kissing and teenage life. Lennon said this was the Beatles attempt at a "Motown thing". The harmonica and guitar lend a good feel to the song, vocals are strong and the few harmonise sections work well. The lyrics are meaningful but have some definite pop roots.
The last song of the album is a cover of Twist and Shout by Phil Medley and Bert Buras. With only 15 minutes of recording time left it was the song everyone involved was dreading, Lennon had reportedly been drinking milk and ducking cough drops all day in order to finish and the effects of the cough and cold are audible. Vocally it's an amazing performance by John and showed how strong his voice was, later admitting that "my voice wasn't the same for a long time". Martins was Keen on a second take but after a few seconds he said "his voice was gone". This song is what kicked off Beatlemania. The simple guitar, catchy lyrics, it's a classic Beatles tune and the best song of the album.
Theirs no better place to start your Beatles journey than right here !
on 6 May 2015
Just Listen To That Sound....This Is Exactly How The Beatles Sounded In 1963 , Powerful, Raw And Unbelievable .
When This Album Was Released On The 22nd March 1963 And Entered The Charts On 6th April 1963.
The British Record Buying Public Had Never Heard Anything Like This Before, It Was New,Modern And Aimed At The Younger Generation ,
Four Young Talented And Good Looking Lads From The Streets Of Liverpool Had Just Set Off An Explosion In The Music Industry With This Amazing Debut Album ...Yes That"s Right Their DEBUT Album, This Album Spent 30 Weeks Consecutively At No.1 For Goodness Sake And By October 1963 , Had Broken Through 250,000 SALES FIGURE, And Went On To Sell Half A Million In The U.K. Alone,
All For The Pricey Sum Of £400. That It Cost For The Recording Session.
Although I Am Not Lucky Enough To Own A 1st Press Mono Edition Of The Album, I Do However Proudly Own A 4th Press Mono , Which Was Also Released In 1963, When The Demands For This Album Increased.
Now With This Newly Remastered 180 Gram Mono Vinyl Has Just Brought The Whole Experience Of This Album Back Again,
There Is No Huge Difference To The Original Mono Release Which Is Still As Glorious As Ever But What We Have Here Is,
That The Quality Of The Sound, Which Is Fantastic And Clearer But Also Remains True To The Original Album Because This Album Has Been Produced By Using The Original Analogue Master Tapes Recordings , It Is Not NEW As Such It Is Exactly How We All Remember The Album To Be And That Suits Me Fine, Clearer Sound YES , But Staying Loyal To The Released Original Without Any Horrible Re- Mixing That Just Makes A Complete Shambles Of A Fantastic Album.....Buy This Great Album And Listen To That Most Magical Debut Album Of The GREATEST Ever Band That This World Has Ever Known...You Most Certainly Will Not Regret It.
The Beatles at their very best once again with self written songs and covers both done in the traditional Beatles 60s beat sound. Nice thick vinyl and in MONO the original way the recordings were made before Stereo. The cardboard sleeve feels much thicker then the original 60s one but its almost a complete replica both front and back except the very small print that details copyright etc. The record label however is a bit different as the original "Parlorphone" logo was printed in yellow but this ones in gold. I have the first CD version in Mono too and this LP sounds just as good as the CD though just a bit warmer if that makes sense not quite as bright top end. I'm really glad I bought this but I just wish they would bring the prices down though I know this is not possible at the moment with so few vinyl plants around but hopefully the market will keep expanding for demand and we will see more records get made and cheaper.
on 24 April 2016
fab cd, one big disappointment for me is that this has been recorded in very low volume; my beatles no 1 cd i play on my pioneer player at no 12 but this album you need to turn it up to 17 to achieve the same volume, other then that its the beatles soo superb, beautiful to here the young innocent boys with their mersey sound before with no doubt the help of various drugs the songs became more outlandish still brilliant and breathtaking as the beatles music is all fabulous; but on this album you can hear the raw beatles and its lovely. highly recommended like all the beatles material.
on 4 June 2007
So, it all started here: the best band in the business, the best songwriters and the best series of pop/rock albums ever.
While the record has its share of less memorable songs (I can't stand PS I Love You) it has a freshness, energy and sheer feeling which you can still get from it at the umpteenth hearing.
There are some tough edges from the Hamburg days, in particular, George's guitar playing and John's singing on Twist and Shout, but the album is much more refined that the Hamburg tapes which were (badly) recorded a few months before this LP.
From I Saw Her Standing There - one of the all time best album openers - to John's attack to Twist and Shout, the album is a treat. It shows The Beatles' love for covering great songs (Baby It's You,Chains, Twist and Shout) and their rapidly developing songwriting (Please Please Me, There's a Place).
The sound, as with all the band's early records, is a bit strange in stereo, with the instruments basically out of one channel and the vocals from the other. The CD age didn't do the record many favours, either, with a less 'warm' presence than my old mono LPs and the clarity of the sound drawing on'e attention to the odd fluff. But then, it was recorded in just a few hours.
Not their 'best album', but essential.
on 20 January 2014
What can I add to convince the uninitiated or new generation Beatles listener? I had this album on first release back in 1963. I got it from a friend who appeared to have played it to near destruction. Unfortunately with the coming of cd's I tended to undervalue it and in spite of the condition I sold it to a memorabilia house for £65. Big mistake...
Although I already possessed the cd and a further re-mastered version of the same album I just had to have the vinyl for completest reasons.
It is in my opinion still one of the 3 greatest first album recordings by a group of all time.