Please Please Me
Release Date: March 22, 1963
After the success of the Beatles' first two singles (both of which are included on this album along with their B-sides), the band was rushed into the studios to make an LP. Their touring schedule allowed them precious little time, and the album was famously completed in something like seventeen hours, which means that all there was time for was basically playing a live set and recording it. Nothing fancy here, no sir. So notoriously awesome were the Beatles as a live band at this point that producer George Martin actually considered going to record them at Liverpool's Cavern club and releasing THAT as the LP-- but complications arose with that plan, and in the end it was easier for them to just come to Abbey Road.
But until the 1994 release of Live at the BBC, Please Please Me was the next best thing for those of us born too late or too far afield to hear the Beatles live. Like a typical live set, the track listing incorporates original Lennon-McCartney songs (eight of them) and rock and roll covers (six), in a wide variety of styles. From the giddy pop of "I Saw Her Standing There" to the husky R&B of "Anna (Go to Him)," from the melodrama of "A Taste of Honey" to the teenybopper awkwardness of "Do You Want to Know a Secret?", from the exuberant weirdness of "Ask Me Why" to the off-the-hook rock of "Twist and Shout"-- the Beatles show off the versatility and their unrestrained love for this stuff. The album knocks you over and leaves you breathless. Best debut ever.
High Points: "I Saw Her Standing There," "Boys," "Please Please Me," "Baby It's You," "Twist and Shout"
My Secret Favorite: "Anna (Go to Him)"
The Song I'm Not Supposed to Love So Much But Totally Do Anyway: "There's a Place"
"Love Me Do"