Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Beatles in the Studio -- Song 2 -- Love Me Do/P.S. I Love You

As with most of our "Beatles in the Studio" blog article series, feel free to listen to the song while you read -- a link is provided at the bottom of the page!

The Story

This is the Beatles very first recording session at Abbey Road under the tutelage of producer George Martin.  The recording occurred over two separate days - Tuesday, September 4, 1962 and 7 days later Ringo was replaced by Andy White -- a session drummer inserted because George Martin was not pleased with Ringo's consistency at first.  This recording session was a direct result of their successful audition on June 6, 1962.  The Beatles lineup on that day was John, Paul, George and Pete Best on drums, but on September 4 Pete Best had been already replaced by Ringo Starr on the tracks laid down that day, and on September 11, Ringo was forced to watch while shaking a tambourine as Andy White replaced him for their first single - a crushing blow to Ringo at the time.

"Love Me Do" was not supposed to be the Beatles first single.  George had them scheduled to play and record a song called "How Do You Do It" by Mitch Murray because he was unaware of Lennon and McCartney's formidable songwriting skills early on, and felt that "How Do You Do It" would likely be their first chart-breaking hit.  They did it, but also demanded that they give "Love Me Do" a try.  The Beatles considered this song "schlock" and demanded they perform their own compositions - unheard of at the time.  But the results are evident, and were ground-breaking for the future of rock and roll songwriting.

The breakthrough Beatles single "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You" was released on October 5, 1962 - and by December 1962 "Love Me Do" had peaked at number 17 on the UK charts.

In 1964, after The Beatles fame had hit U.S. shores, the song became a No. 1 hit on the U.S. charts.  In 1982, it was re-promoted and reached No. 4 (amazing).


This song was principally written by Paul McCartney in 1958-1959 while truant from school at age 16.  John Lennon is credited with writing the middle 8.  The practice at the time was to write song lyrics in a school notebook.  The song was based on two simple chords, G7 and C, before moving to D in the middle eight.  It originally featured Lennon and McCartney sharing the vocals, with Lennon singing the original title lines, and Lennon wanted a bluesy "dockside harmonica riff" as part of the song.

Studio Date:  

Tuesday, September 4, 1962 (Ringo on Drums); Tuesday, September 11, 1962 (Andy White on Drums, Ringo on Tambourine)


Abbey Road Studios, London

Songwriting Credit:

John Lennon/Paul McCarney


John Lennon -- Vocals, Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
George Harrison -- Acoustic Rhythm Guitar
Paul McCartney -- Vocals, Bass Guitar
Ringo Starr -- Drums (tambourine on September 11)
Andy White -- Drums (September 11)


The Beatles relied on using their stage gear for this recording:

John Lennon -- 1958 Rickenbacker 325 Capri, Gibson J160E Acoustic/Electric, stolen harmonica from a dutch music store in 1960.
George Harrison -- 1957 Gretsch 6128 Duo Jet, Gibson J160E Acoustic/Electric
Paul McCartney -- Höfner model 500/1 "violin" bass

Recording Legacy/Recording Innovation:

Historical.  First formal recording.  First recording of original Lennon/McCartney music.


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