Tuesday, 26 March 2019

How did George Martin improve Please, Please Me?

Recording session 1962
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
George Martin was initially unconvinced by the first songs Lennon & McCartney presented to him. 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.' They took me at my word. I was joking and 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', and I said: 'Gentlemen, you're going to have your first #1.
Source: Interview with George Martin, The Observer Music Monthly, 2006

Fun Facts: Hymns, Roy Orbison, Bing Crosby
  • Music historian Johan Cavalli has noted how the ascending melody line "Come on, come on..." resembles sections  of two traditional folk songs: "New's Evens Song" and "Come Fair One."
  • John Lennon had sung in a church choir as a boy. This influence can be detected in his fondness for legato or long notes in his songs.
  •  "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."
The Beatles Digital Teaching Teaching Pack  (£3.99) 


  1. Wow, using Johan Cavalli as a source... I will never refer anyone to this site!


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