The Beatles – The Making Of “Please Please Me”
It was quite normal in those days
to find material for artists by going to Tin Pan Alley
and listening to all the publishers’ wares. That was a regular part of my life.
I’d spend long time looking for songs. And the song I was looking for
the Beatles was really a hit song. It didn’t matter
so long as it suited the group. And ‘Love Me Do’ was the best
one they were able to offer. The kind of song I was looking for I did actually find,
and that was a song by Mitch Murray called ‘How Do You Do lt?’.
I was convinced this was a hit song. Not a great piece of songwriting, it wasn’t
the most marvellous song I’d ever heard in my life, but I thought it had that essential element
which would appeal to a lot of people. And we did record it.
John took the lead… George said, “Well, it’s a number 1 song,
if you want a number 1, this is it”. We said “Yeah, but we can’t go back
to Liverpool singing that”. “We cannot be seen with that song”. So we never issued it
‘How Do You Do It?’, but I did later give it to Gerry and the Pacemakers
and it did become number 1. So George Martin says, “Well if you’ve got
anything you’d like to do”, we said, “We got a song
called ‘Please Please Me'”. This is one John had just written and it was
kind of slow Roy Orbison kind of thing. “Come on, come on, please please me”.
Big note at the end, just like Orbison. And I’d heard Roy Orbison doing ‘Only The Lonely’ or
something and I was trying to… “Please me”, and also I was always intrigued
by the words of… “Please lend your little ears to my pleas”,
a Bing Crosby song. I was always intrigued by the
double use of the word ‘please’. And I said, OK. Let’s try your song,
let’s see if it works. And we did, and at the end of that
session I was able to say to them: “You’ve got your first number 1. Great!” Let’s go back a bit. If you remember,
the very first record we issued was ‘Love Me Do’, the second record we issued
was ‘Please Please Me’, which was only arrived at
after much doubt on my part that they could ever write a hit song. From that moment they blossomed,
they became wonderful songwriters, but before they showed evidence of that,
I still had to have an album out. And so what I did was… I’d been up to the Cavern
and I’d seen what they could do, I knew their repertoire,
I knew what they were able to perform and I said, let’s record
every song you’ve got. Come down to the studios and
we’ll just whistle through them in a day. Here we go. You’re right. Get this bloody little mic out the way. – Don’t be nervous John. Don’t be nervous.
– I’m not. Take it away. We knew those songs, that was the act
we did all over the country. Basically this album was just
what we did live, in the clubs, so I think we just kept running through songs:
“What about this… or this?” We’d play and he’d say,
“What else have you got?” And 10.30 that evening,
John finally sang ‘Twist And Shout’, cause his voice was going all day and he knew he could only give it
one or two goes and it would just rip it. Which it did and you can hear it on the record,
but it was pretty cool performance. I couldn’t sing the damn thing,
I was just screaming!