Thursday, 13 May 2021

How did George Martin improve Please, Please Me?


The songs the Beatles first gave me were crap.
This was 1962 and they played a dreadful version of 'Please Please Me' as a Roy Orbison-style ballad.  George Martin
PLEASE PLEASE ME was a John Lennon original:
"I remember the day I wrote it, I heard Roy Orbison doing "Only The Lonely", or something. And I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, 'Please lend a little ear to my pleas'. The double use of the word 'please'. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby."

A dirge?

George Martin was not initially impressed. He gave  PLEASE PLEASE ME a resounding thumbs down:
I listened to it and I said: 'Do you know that's too boring for words? It's a dirge. At twice the speed it might sound reasonable.'  I was joking but they took me at my word. They came back and played it to me sped up and put a harmonica on it.
Impressed by the dramatic improvement, George Martin agreed to give the song a second chance. He was not to regret his decision:
We worked for ages on their new version of 'Please Please Me'. When we finally finished, I said: 'Gentlemen, you're going to have your first #1 


Source: Interview with George Martin, The Observer Music Monthly, 2006

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