Monday, November 26, 2012

Please, Lend Your Little Ears

November 26, 1962

The Beatles return to Abbey Road Studios to make a follow-up to their first record, which has yet to peak at number 17 in the British charts.  Paul remembers that they are much better received this time, having the achievement of a real record on their resume'.

They record a couple of originals, "Ask Me Why" and "Please Please Me".  After the latter is "in the can" George Martin tells them, "Congratulations, boys.  You've just made your first number one".  Prescient.

John Lennon later attributes the original idea for "Please Please Me" to, of all people, Bing Crosby.  Der Bingle had recorded a song called "Please" back in 1932, which used the homonyms "please" and "pleas" in the first line of the song.  That is just the sort of clever word play that would capture the imagination of a lover of language like Lennon.  It's just one more example of how Lennon and McCartney are willing and able to incorporate influences from all of the disparate and various sources of music in their experience and meld them into something completely new and captivating.  Genius!

You can certainly make the argument that "Please Please Me" is the first Beatle song that stands out, as so many of their songs would do in coming years, as little miracles of songwriting.  If you are a Beatle fan you will know exactly what I mean.  This song, as much as any, marks the transition from show stopping cover band to fabulously original songwriting and producing partnership.

Tomorrow, they record their first time for BBC radio in London, the belly of the beast, for later broadcast on "The Talent Spot" radio show.  Then on the 30th, George Martin produces the final mix of their next single, "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why".  They can do this - even their suspect drummer, Ringo, shines!

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