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Oh Look Out! Part 1, Please Please Me
by John T. Marck
 


Back in the innocent days of 1963, most of us who grew up with The Beatles could not always afford a record "album," but rather opted for the cheaper singles. Since albums, or LPS as they were known then were out of the financial reach of most of us, and since the oldest Beatle was a mere 22 years old when this album was recorded, the teen audience was the target of EMI records. But, during this time, albums were reserved by the record companies as a shameful cash-in either for a film or one based solely on the strength of a pop single. Only performers like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald were allowed the personal artistic statement of a album, that is, until The Beatles. In the first part of this series, we take a look at the Beatles first UK release, "Please Please Me." Released on March 22, 1963, its US counterpart was "Introducing The Beatles," released on July 22, 1963 and re-released on January 27, 1964. Here you'll find the history of the album, the songs and lyrics and what they mean.



Oh Look Out! Songs and Albums of The Beatles

Part 1

Please Please Me

"And It's My Mind, and There's No Time, When I'm Alone..."

Let's go back to the childlike days of 1963, and remember fondly just how innocent it was and too, how much fun these days were. Remember? This was back in the days when teenagers who possessed a 45 rpm record was like currency was to adults. As a teenager, you carried these singles proudly like gold, and if you were lucky, you just may have had one of the few EP's, those extended play 45's with four and perhaps more tracks. These were the days when singles cost about twenty-five cents, which is all most teenagers could afford. Albums, or LPs as they were commonly referred to in the 50s and 60s, were generally beyond the financial reach of most teenagers. Generally, most LPs cost between three and four dollars, which was only for mono. If the stereo version was available, it cost one dollar more - -much too expensive for most.

This album was The Beatles debut album, released on March 22, 1963 in the United Kingdom. Had it not been for the total faith of George Martin in The Beatles, they never would have had an album released, at least not this soon. The Beatles had two singles released in the United Kingdom prior to this album. They were: Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You on October 5, 1962, followed by Please Please Me/ Ask Me Why on January 11, 1963. With their moderate success, and not having conquered America yet, they actually did not warrant an album. During these times in the early sixties, the only performers who were allowed the artistic freedom to record albums with any songs they liked were Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. All the other performers did albums that were supported by their one hit song, or perhaps a film soundtrack. If you go back and look at all the pop albums from this period, they generally consisted of their one hit combined with merely filler songs. It is also true that many times some of these filler or hackwork songs came to be bigger hits than the original hit for which the album was made.

During this same time period in the United States, The Beatles had released only one single prior to their first album, which was Please Please Me / Ask Me Why released on February 25, 1963. The United States counterpart to The Beatles first UK album was on Vee-Jay records titled, Introducing The Beatles. The albums were different not only in title but also in picture and design, with the US version having only twelve tracks to the UK's fourteen.

What makes this US release even more fascinating is that the two songs that were left off were Please Please Me / Ask Me Why. I guess since Vee-Jay had released these on the single earlier, they felt it was not necessary to include them here. The US album's cover reads exactly, "Introducing The Beatles, England's No.1 Vocal Group." I guess not too many people have this album or have perhaps have seen it. I am fortunate, I feel, to have a copy, as well as have the stereo version. When EMI released the CD version of "Please Please Me" they chose to release it in the mono version, and as of this writing in the year 2001, the stereo version has not been released, other than on the original vinyl.

When EMI released the original debut album "Please Please Me," they wrote on the cover, "The Beatles - -Please Please Me with Love Me Do and 12 other songs." This idea was that which supports the sixties thinking that albums had to contain and support previous single hits.

Of the fourteen tracks on "Please Please Me," only eight were written by The Beatles, that is, Lennon and McCartney. As with all my articles on The Beatles in this column, only those actually written by The Beatles are cited herein with the lyrics. One of the amazing facts about this album, especially by today's recording standards, is that ten of the fourteen tracks were recorded and completed in one day, on February 11, 1963 in a 15-hour session. This was more of a standard operational fact in the record business during this time, as the companies wanted to ensure the LP reached the teenage market as soon as possible, hopefully before the group died out. They didn't know it then, but this was certainly the last thing to worry about with The Beatles. But still, this album was a risk, because at the time of it's release, The Beatles had not yet had a number one hit. We can all credit George Martin for having the insight to believe in The Beatles. It is true however, that George Martin at this moment in time, believed that rock n'roll was a thing of the past, and would not last much longer. This is one of the reasons The Beatles included six songs written and previously recorded by others on this album.

When this album was recorded, it was done so on a two-track recorder at Abbey Road. When George Martin mixed the album, it was done first in mono, then a very rudimentary stereo version. Audiophiles, or more exactly, stereophiles today are still requesting a stereo version CD of this album. But, The Beatles themselves thought that their mono versions captured their true sound, and that these were the best representation of their work at the time, and George Martin agreed. Based on this, I think that if The Beatles had been asked, which they weren't, whether to release this album CD in mono or stereo, they would have chosen the mono version.

So now, Please Please Me....

I Saw Her Standing There

Written by Paul, in the living room of the McCartney home at 20 Forthlin Road in September 1962, the song is about a boy who sees a girl dancing at a local ballroom, and after deciding that her looks were "way beyond compare," is determined to dance with her from that day forward. it was Paul's original song, he started it, had the first verse, which gave him the tune, tempo and key. The oh so ever familiar 1-2-3-4 intro was kept in the song to give it the feeling of a live performance. With Lennon and McCartney trading vocals back and forth, it is a classic Beatles' rock n' roll number. Being seasoned performers by the time this album was recorded, The Beatles had truly arrived. This was recorded on February 11, 1963.

(1-2-3-4)

Well she was just seventeen,

you know what I mean,

and the way she looked,

was way beyond compare

So how could I dance with another,

oh,

when I saw her standing there

Well she looked at me,

and I,

I could see,

that before too long,

I'd fall in love with her,

she wouldn't dance with another,

oh,

when I saw her standing there

Well my heart went boom,

when I crossed that room,

and I held her hand in mine

Oh we danced through the night,

and we held each other tight,

and before too long,

I fell in love with her

Now I'll never dance with another,

oh,

when I saw her standing there

Well my heart went boom,

when I crossed that room,

and I held her hand in mine

Oh we danced through the night,

and we held each other tight,

and before too long,

I fell in love with her

Now I'll never dance with another,

oh,

since I saw her standing there

Oh,

since I saw her standing there, yeah,

well since I saw her standing there

Misery

From the beginning of their careers, The Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, had always encouraged them to write songs, not only for themselves, but also for other performers, figuring that the exposure would be good for them. But, at this time, they had not yet acquired their song writing reputation power, and many other performers turned down their songs. Helen Shapiro, another British performer was offered this song, and was the first such performer to have a song written especially for her by Lennon and McCartney, yet her management made her turn it down. Consequently, The Beatles performed it themselves. The song's intent is about two boys who are brokenhearted over the loss of a love. Although discontent in the story it tells, it is probably the most upbeat dejected song you will hear. Originally, the first line as written was "You've been treating me bad, misery." Lennon and McCartney changed it during the recording to make the song have a more international appeal. John and Paul began working on this song backstage before a concert at Kings Hall, Stoke-on-Trent, January 26, 1963. It was recorded on February 11 and 20, 1963.

The world is treating me bad,

misery,

I'm the kind of guy,

who never used to cry,

the world is treating me bad,

misery

I've lost her now for sure,

I won't see her no more,

it's gonna be a drag,

misery

I'll remember all the little things we've done,

can't she see she'll always be the only one,

only one

Send her back to me,

cause everyone can see,

without her I will be,

in misery

I'll remember all the little things we've done,

she'll remember and she'll miss her only one,

lonely one

Send her back to me,

cause everyone can see,

without her I will be,

in misery

Oh, oh in misery,

woo, my misery,

la, la, la, la, la, la,

misery

Anna (Go To Him)*

 Arthur Alexander

This song was written and originally recorded by Arthur Alexander, an R&B artist. The Beatles recorded it on February 11, 1963.

Chains*

 Gerry Goffin/Carole King

Written by the outstanding song writing team of Goffin and King, this song was originally recorded on November 11, 1962 by The Cookies. They were an R&B trio from New York that had a varying membership. One of its members was Ethel "Earl-Jean" McCrea who later went onto a solo career. The Cookies also did backup work for Neil Sedaka, Carole King and Little Eva. They eventually became the backup trio for Ray Charles known as The Raeletts. The Beatles recorded this song on February 11, 1963.

Boys*

Luther Dixon/Wes Farrell

Because Ringo had a following of his own as well, The Beatles always tried to give him a song to sing, mostly as a token event. This song was originally recorded by the Shirelles in 1960. In The Beatles' early career "Boys" became a standard for Ringo to sing, and became fondly known as "Ringo's Theme." When this was recorded on February 11, 1963 by The Beatles, Ringo did it successfully in one take. It's somewhat strange that no one questioned the theme of the song, in that it was about extolling the delights of boys, rather than girls, as one would expect from The Beatles.

Ask Me Why

Written primarily by Lennon in the spring of 1962, this song had been a part of their live act for some time. A love relationship song - one of Lennon's first. Written in a different manner than McCartney's, this song has a difficult rhythm, and was inspired by his love of Smokey Robinson and his types of songs, from a composition standpoint. George Martin felt that it was not a strong enough song to warrant an A-side of a single, but it was released as the B-side to their second single in the United Kingdom, and the first single in the United States.

I love you,

cause you tell me things I want to know,

and it's true,

that it really only goes to show

That I know,

that I, I, I, I,

should never never never be blue,

now you're mine,

my happiness dear makes me cry

And in time,

you'll understand the reason why,

if I cry,

it's not because I'm sad,

but you're the only love that I've ever had

I can't believe,

it's happened to me,

I can't conceive, of anymore,

misery

Ask me why,

I'll say I love you,

and I'm always thinking of you,

I love you,

cause you tell me things I want to know

And it's true,

that it really only goes to show,

 that I know,

that I, I, I, I,

should never never never be blue

Ask me why,

I'll say I love you,

and I'm always thinking of you

I can't believe,

it's happened to me,

I can't conceive,

of anymore,

misery

Ask me why,

I'll say I love you,

and I'm always thinking of you,

you,

you

Please Please Me

Written by John at his Menlove Avenue home, this song became known as an overt sexual invitation from Lennon. It was originally written much slower, and it was George Martin that suggested lifting the tempo. Lennon fashioned it after Roy Orbison, but the name came from an altogether different source. In 1932, Bing Crosby had a hit with a song titled "Please," written by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger. In the beginning lyrics, the words "please" and "pleas," were used, as "Oh please, lend your little ear to my pleas..." Lennon recalled this song from his mother having sung it to him when he was a child. He always liked the "please -pleas" sound, and developed this song around the same theme.

Last night I said these words to my girl,

 I know you never even try, girl

Come on, (come on), come on, (come on),

come on (come on) come on (come on)

Please, please me,

wo yeah,

like I please you

You don't need me to show the way, love,

why do I always have to say, love

Come on, (come on), come on, (come on),

come on (come on) come on (come on)

Please, please me,

wo yeah, like I please you

I don't want to sound complaining but you know there's always rain in my heart,

(in my heart)

I do all the pleasing with you, it's so hard to reason, with you wo yeah, why do you make me blue?

Last night I said these words to my girl,

I know you never even try, girl

Come on, (come on), come on, (come on),

come on (come on) come on (come on)

Please, please me,

wo yeah, like I please you,

wo yeah, like I please you,

wo yeah, like I please you

Love Me Do

Written by Paul, this song is quite basic, having one message - love. Although the album cover refers to this song, and it is the same song as released on the single, it is not the same recording. The initial recording, released on October 5, 1962 in the United Kingdom, was recorded on September 4, 1962, in a fifteen-take session. It would not be before fifteen takes were performed that George Martin was basically satisfied, but not entirely. Returning to the studio one week later, The Beatles discovered that George Martin had a session drummer there by the name of Andy White who was to replace Ringo. Since Ringo had only recently replaced Pete Best, I feel sure he thought his days were numbered as well. Per Martin's decision, White played the drums on this retake, while Ringo stood by and played the tambourine. The initial recording with Ringo on the drums was the one that appeared on the single. But, for reasons that are not clear, Martin decided to use the Andy White drum version on this album. Whether he preferred White's drumming on this number to Ringo's is not clear, but Martin did say that he used White's version on the album because the master tape of this song had been sent overseas to an EMI subsidiary company. By mistake? Who knows. Additionally, later in 1963, all future single releases of Love Me Do was the retake version with Andy White. So, if you happen to have an original EMI release of October 5, 1962, you have the Ringo version. Any release in the United States as a single was done so on April 27, 1964 on Tollie Records, and as such is the White version, like the album one. Although a McCartney song, it was a true Lennon-McCartney collaboration, what with Lennon's lively harmonica solo. This album version was recorded on September 11, 1962.

Love, love me do,

you know I love you,

I'll always be true,

so please,

love me do, oh,

love me do

Love, love me do,

you know I love you,

I'll always be true,

so please, love me do,

oh, love me do

Someone to love,

somebody new,

someone to love,

someone like you

Love, love me do,

you know I love you,

I'll always be true,

so please,

love me do, oh,

love me do

Love, love me do,

you know I love you,

I'll always be true,

so please,

love me do

Oh, love me do, yeah,

love me do,

oh, love me do

P.S. I Love You

This one was written by Paul in Hamburg in 1961 to his then girlfriend Dot Rhone. In April 1961, the group which consisted of John, Paul, George, Pete Best and Stuart Sutcliffe, had begun a thirteen-week appearance at the Top Ten Club in Hamburg, Germany. At the time, Paul was dating Dot, and John was dating his wife-to- be, Cynthia Powell. Dot and Cynthia had become friends, and decided to visit the boys in Hamburg. While there, Cynthia stayed with Astrid Kirchner, Sutcliffe's girlfriend, and Dot stayed with Paul on a houseboat. When the girls returned to Liverpool, Paul wrote this song for Dot, whereby he declared his love for her, and telling her he'd be home soon. However, when he returned home to Liverpool, Paul visited Dot who was sharing a residence with Cynthia. It would be on this visit that Paul broke up with Dot, telling her he was too young to be in a committed relationship. Dot was quite heartbroken, especially after Paul having written this song only weeks earlier. The Beatles recorded this number on September 11, 1962. As I write this letter, send my love to you, remember that I'll always, be in love with you

Treasure these few words till we're together,

keep all my love forever,

P.S. I love you,

you, you, you

I'll be coming home again to you love,

until the day I do love,

P.S. I love you,

you, you, you

As I write this letter,

send my love to you,

remember that I'll always,

be in love with you

Treasure these few words,

till we're together,

keep all my love forever,

P.S. I love you,

you, you, you

As I write this letter, (oh),

send my love to you (you know I want you to)

Remember that I'll always, (yeah),

be in love with you

I'll be comin' home again to you, love,

until the day I do love,

P.S. I love you,

you, you, you, you,

you, you,

I love you

Baby It's You*

Hal David/Bert Bacharach/Barney Williams

This song was originally written for and recorded by The Shirelles on December 18, 1961. The Beatles recorded it on February 11 and 20, 1963.

Do You Want To Know A Secret?

Throughout their careers, John and Paul would of course sing their own songs. Before George began to write, and in order to give George and Ringo original songs to sing, they began writing for them. This is one of those songs. Upon The Beatles return from their thirteen-week engagement in Hamburg, and about the same time that Paul broke up with Dot, Cynthia discovered that she was pregnant. To do the traditional thing, she and John Lennon were married on August 23, 1962. Written by Lennon, the theme of this song is to Cynthia, whereby John realized that he did truly love Cynthia - this being the secret. But, the musical inspiration for the song came from the Walt Disney 1937 film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In one of the scenes, Snow White is singing to the doves, saying, "Wanna know a secret? Promise not to tell? We are standing by a wishing well." Although written from John to Cynthia, Lennon decided to give it to George to sing because as Lennon said, "it only had three notes and he wasn't the best singer in the world." This song was also offered to and recorded by Billy J. Kramer and his group "the Dakotas." His version went on to become a Number 2 hit in the UK, and was the first time a Beatles' song by another artist had made the Hit Parade.

You never know how much I really love you,

you'll never know how much I really care

Listen, do you want to know a secret,

do you promise not to tell,

woh, oh, oh

Closer,

let me whisper in your ear,

say the words you long to hear,

I'm in love with you,

oo

Listen,

(do da do) do you want to know a secret,

(do da do) do you promise not to tell,

(do da do) woh, oh, oh

Closer,

(do da do), let me whisper in your ear,

(do da do) say the words you long to hear,

I'm in love with you,

oo

I've known a secret for a week or two,

nobody knows, just we two

Listen,

(do da do), do you want to know a secret,

(do dad do), do you promise not to tell,

 (do da do) woh, oh, oh

Closer,

(do da do), let me whisper in your ear,

(do da do) say the words you long to hear,

I'm in love with you,

oo, oo

A Taste Of Honey*

Ric Marlow/ Bobby Scott

Considered a standard song, it has been recorded by many artists including Martin Denny, the Victor Feldman Quartet, Tony Bennett, Herb Alpert, and The Beatles on February 11, 1963. They used this song as a result of being "forced" by popular demand, to sing standard ballads to their live audiences in Hamburg and Liverpool. The Beatles didn't really like the song, and Lennon at times, for fun, changed the chorus to " a waste of money."

There's A Place

Written by John & Paul, this song is about a place one can go, in his mind. Being both an introvert and extrovert, Lennon at times, to avoid the cruelty of life, could retreat into his imagination; that place of inner safety in his thoughts, dreams and memories. Its title inspiration came from "West Side Story," and "There's A Place For Us" (Somewhere). It was recorded on February 11, 1963. There, there's a place, where I can go, when I feel low, when I feel blue

And it's my mind,

and there's no time,

when I'm alone,

I,

think of you,

the things you do,

go round my head,

the things you've said,

like I love only you

In my mind there's no sorrow,

don't you know that it's so,

There,

 there's a place,

where I can go,

when I feel low,

when I feel blue

And it's my mind,

and there's no time,

when I'm alone,

there's a place,

 there's a place,

there's a place,

there's a place

Twist And Shout*

 Bert Russell/Phil Medley

A big hit for The Beatles, this song was originally recorded on June 2, 1962 by the Isley Brothers. During The Beatles marathon recording session on February 11, 1963, this was the last song that they recorded. By day's end, Lennon's voice was shot, and as he said, "I couldn't sing the damn thing, I was just screaming." So in just one take, severed vocal chords and all, Lennon recorded his best rock n' roll song ever, on par with McCartney's "Long Tall Sally."

All lyrics contained herein (*except) are © Copyright 1963 Northern Songs. All Rights Reserved. International Copyright Secured. The lyrics contained herein are for the sole use of educational reference for the readers of this article. All other uses are in violation of international copyright laws. This use for educational reference, falls under the "fair use" sections of U.S. copyright law. The same such reference applies to images/photos of album covers used herein. Copyright © John T. Marck. All Rights Reserved. This article and their accompanying pictures, photographs, and line art, may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission from the author, or the registered copyright holders. Except as otherwise stated above, all information contained in this article, EXCEPT song titles, lyrics, and photographs, © John T. Marck.

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