Monday, August 31, 2009

LP Love: Please Please Me

As I'm out of the country until September 15, my normal song-a-day listening schedule is being put on hold. Instead, rediscover your love for the LP format by enjoying a complete Beatles album per day. Try to keep your finger away from the "shuffle" or "skip" buttons for the ultimate retro experience! See you in September to wrap up the Beatles' catalog song by song, remastered-style.

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"

Track listing:


"Love Me Do"


  1. I think this album is clearly the worst in terms of writing, and only the performances on the opener and closer make this worth buying for anyone but completist fanboys like me. I've always thought this album was good enough to get people's interest but not so good as to set the bar too high, the way a lot of bands' debut albums have (Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer, Guns 'N' Roses, N.W.A.).

  2. Well, they definitely went up from here, Way Up, in terms of writing lyrics and creating music. No argument from me on that point, Troy. Count me into the club, as I like most all the songs on this album.

  3. Was just reading a piece from an audiophile who must have gotten advance copies of both the mono and stereo remasters. He's got me pretty amped about hearing the early records in mono. He says the improved low end, along with many other improvements, really give the early rockers a menacing tone. Sounds like they almost sound like a different band.

  4. This album is the closest I'm going to ever get to hearing what the Beatles sounded like in Hamburg or back in the Cavern. That, alone, is enough to make me love it. The only 2 songs I don't much care for on it are "Chains" and "Do You Want to Know a Secret." But the rest of it, from Paul's glorious opening song to John's incredible closer makes me wish I was sitting in a sweltering, smoky bar listening to the real thing.

  5. Troy, I waited too late to place an Amazon order for the mono set. They have been sold out for weeks. I am wondering if more will be released or if that's it?

  6. I'm assuming the fact that they never ruled out making more mono sets means they're open to it, and I think they've seen the demand is there, so fingers crossed.