Review Summary: A superb debut by the quintessential rock band
Artist: The Beatles
Album: Please Please Me
Date: March 22, 1963
After the single, “Please Please Me” topped the charts, The Beatles and producer George Martin decided to record all their material at that point and release a full length LP. Named after their chart topping single and recorded in a day, Please Please Me, decades later, remains a fresh and engaging pop album that rushes through its songs with great energy and execution.
Unfortunately, Please Please Me is usually forgotten due to the groundbreaking albums released in later years by the band, but nevertheless it’s a superb debut with the band possessing a certain confidence that just couldn’t be touched by others, and it shows in their diverse selection of covers and their superior originals which hint at just how innovative they are. They show a love of pop, rock, soul, R&B, doo-wop, and country that injects their originals with a nostalgic feeling while maintaining originality. It’s quite impressive how mature and talented The Beatles were at such a young age, but after the rigorous touring and shows performed in Europe and especially Hamburg, Germany, where the bands sets would last for hours on end, it’s not entirely surprising considering the demands those Hamburg clubs put on the band (Some shows, supposedly would last in range of 2 to 8 hours). Hamburg helped make them who they were, developing a tighter sound and improving their live show, making them a band that could play through their live sets with ease and precision.
Obvious highlights of the album are the previously mentioned single “Please Please Me” along with other single “Love Me Do”, both of which Possess powerful harmonica played by Lennon and great vocals from him and McCartney. Other standouts are McCartney’s rocking opener “I Saw Her Standing There” and Lennon’s cover of “Twist and Shout” which was the last song of the sessions to be recorded and feature Lennon’s heroic vocal performance in which by the end his hoarse voice is practically shouting just to finish the song. In a single take it represents the passion and energy The Beatles could exert on their art.
Ringo Starr may have been a fairly new member of the band at the time of recording but it doesn’t matter ‘cause he completes what is possibly the quintessential rock band of all time; John Lennon’s rebellious attitude and smart ass sense of humor; Paul McCartney the greatest pop song writer in history; George Harrison the shy, quiet lead guitarist that possesses a certain level of mystery; and of course Ringo with his poor vocal range, constant smiles, and laidback mentality. Its miraculous how they formed at a time so perfect for success; four good looking, well dressed, cocky, young men with their Scouse accents and matching hair, they were what teenagers had been waiting for and they were generally accepted by the media and parents alike. Thanks to this Please Please Me hit the top of the UK Charts and remained there for thirty weeks until being replaced by the bands follow-up, With the Beatles. All of this was definitely thanks in large part to the bands charm but it wouldn’t have mattered at all had the music not been good, but it was so much more than good, it was superb!
I Saw Her Standing There
Please Please Me
Love Me Do
Twist and Shout